Queen Elizabeth Had To Fight Hard To Marry The Man She Has Known Since She Was Eight Years Old

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were made for each other. The road to happily ever after for the couple wasn’t easy, however. The royal family wasn’t thrilled about Philip Mountbatten, the young naval officer who had stolen the then princess’s heart.

Elizabeth and Philip first met when she was just 8 years old. Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, married Elizabeth’s uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent. It was a simpler time then. Elizabeth’s Uncle Edward was still first in the line of succession to the throne. Elizabeth’s father had no idea that he’d go on to become King George VI. Elizabeth had no idea she’d be put on the path to the throne, let alone that she would assume it so early in her life.

Elizabeth would have to fight for her marriage time and time again, as biographer Sally Bedell Smith explained to People. As with any marriage, there were ups and downs on their journey. But as their long-lasting union would prove, she never had eyes for anyone else.

 

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Queen Elizabeth is a fascinating figure for so many reasons. She’s the longest-reigning and oldest British monarch in history. She has also enjoyed the longest marriage in the history of the monarchy.

Queen Elizabeth was just 8 years old when she met her future husband, Philip Mountbatten. The two met at the wedding of his cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, to Elizabeth’s uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent.

Elizabeth had no idea that she would become queen one day. She also had no idea that she’d go on to fall in love with Philip a decade later. The two are distant cousins, both descendants of Queen Victoria.

The two wouldn’t meet again until 1939, when Elizabeth visited a naval college where he was a cadet. The 18-year-old Philip began to write to 13-year-old Elizabeth. She was smitten.

By the time she was 18, Elizabeth was sure he was the one for her. “She fell in love at age 18 and she never looked at anyone else,” biographer Sally Bedell Smith told People. When the war ended and Elizabeth was 20, Philip approached King George to ask for her hand in marriage.

The King liked Philip, according to Sally’s research. In Vanity Fair, she explained that the King told his mother that Philip was “intelligent, has a good sense of humour and thinks about things in the right way.” He and his wife still had concerns, however.

Despite being a Greek-born prince, Philip lacked the titles that the aristocracy would want to see a future queen’s suitor to have.

“Some were very concerned,” Sir Edward Ford told People. “The line was slightly tenuous at that point. So, it was only natural that the older generation — friends of the King like Lord Salisbury — were concerned that who the Queen was with was totally and utterly suitable. So they were sniffing around to see what he was like.”

Elizabeth’s parents felt she was still too young, so they asked Philip to hold out on a formal announcement until after Elizabeth turned 21.

The two announced their engagement in July 1947. At the time, a reporter for the Guardian wrote, “It is clearly a marriage of choice, not of arrangement[…]There have been many royal engagements in the past, but it would be hard to find a precise parallel for that of an Heiress Presumptive and still more for her choice as partner of one who is, technically at least, a British commoner.”

 

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On November 20, 1947, people around the world listened to a radio broadcast of their royal wedding. There were 2,000 guests in attendance. Following the wedding, the couple moved into Clarence House, near Buckingham Palace.

While it may seem like no small feat today, it was a big win for Elizabeth. “One of Elizabeth’s greatest achievements is being allowed to marry the love of her life,” noted Suzanne Mackie, an executive producer for The Crown. “Like any marriage, it would undertake endless recalibration and navigation and re-negotiation.”

Elizabeth and Philip enjoyed relative normalcy in the early years of their marriage. They welcomed Prince Charles in November 1948 and Princess Anne in August 1950. They lived in Malta, where Philip was stationed. They would return there for their 60th wedding anniversary in 2007.

 

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In 1953, Elizabeth was officially crowned the Queen of England, at just 26 years old. Neither Elizabeth nor Philip ever expected she’d take the throne so young. It took a while for Philip to settle into his role as consort

 

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When celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in 1972, Queen Elizabeth remarked, “If I am asked what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage, I can answer with equal simplicity and conviction, I am for it.”

On their 50th anniversary, it was Philip who had sweet things to say. “The main lesson that we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage. It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when the going gets difficult,” he remarked. “You can take it from me that the queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”

 

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