“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know”. Queen Elizabeth spoke after the funeral of remembering her husband of 73 years.
Back in April the Queen sat alone wiping away her tears under her mask. Due to the COVID restrictions at the time all funeral guests were ordered to sit away from other households but with the Queen not having any family members in her bubble other than Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth sat alone at ST Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle on Saturday the 17th of April. The Queen also left a hand written note on her late husband’s coffin signed “Lillabet” accordingly this was the queens childhood nickname that Prince Philip called her by.
Prince Philip was the longest serving royal consort in British History, Prince Philip had a simpler funeral which he wanted. Members of the public were told to stay away from the funeral, the streets were full with armed police and marshals. Despite the public being unable to be near the funeral, along the long walk to the castle people left flowers, handwritten notes were left and a knitted soldier. The funeral was also broadcasted on to.
The Duke planned his own funeral, the coffin had white lilies and roses. The men were dressed in mourning suits, as Queen Elizabeth had ruled out uniforms.
The Queen had worn a large diamond broach which was a wedding gift by her grandmother Queen Mary. The pews only had 30 mourners there which included children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, the cents an old driving friend and three members of the German branch of the Dukes family.
The small funeral was also due to the COVID restrictions back in April unlike Queen Mother in 2002 had 2,000 guests.
Queen Elizabeth met her husband Prince Phillip at his cousins wedding back in 1934 when Queen Elizabeth was just 8 years old. They both met at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent. Queen Elizabeth told her nanny at age 13 “he’s the one” when Prince Philip was 18 they met again at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. In which it was apparently here that Queen Elizabeth fell in love with him, they then began to send letters to one another. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philips love story goes on before Elizabeth was unexpectedly became Queen at just 25.
Their engagement was announced on July 9th 1947. Queen Elizabeth was asked to marry Prince Philip and she agreed without seeking permission by her parents, the king agreed on one condition that public announcement of the engagement was put on hold until Elizabeth was 21, accordingly the king and queen feared their daughter was “too young” and were reluctant to approve the marriage.
There were other reasons why the King and Queen didn’t want to approve the marriage Philip who was born in Greece had German relations. Philip then lost his Greek and Danish titles becoming a naturalised British and then also took his maternal grandparents surname. The night before their wedding King George conferred upon the titles including The Duke of Edinburgh, Earl on Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.
The wedding took place on the 20th of November 1947 at Westminster Abbey in London. The Queen described Prince Philip as her “strength and stay” on their golden wedding anniversary in 1997. In some ways you could say it was eventful, Queen Elizabeth’s tiara had broken in half the morning of the wedding and on the 19th of November Philip was stopped by police for speeding through central London the day of the rehearsal dinner. Philip reportedly told the police “I’m sorry officer but I’ve got an appointment with the Archbishop of Canterbury”.
After the couples, marriage a few years before she was crowned Queen both held a royal resistance in Malta from 1949-1951, this was where Prince Philip was in the Royal Navy and were the couple spent several years on the Mediterranean island. This was where Elizabeth lived a relatively normal life.
On the couples 60th anniversary Prince Philip surprised the Queen by taking her back to the island and also to Broadlands country house where they first spent their wedding night as a married couple.
On the 14th of November 1948 Elizabeth gave birth to their first son Prince Charles, in the years to come Princess Anne was born on the 15th of August 1950, Prince Andrew on the 19th of February 1960 and Prince Edward on the 10th of March 1964.
With Elizabeth’s accession to the throne in 1952, the family surname became a discussion. The royal family had held the surname of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until 1917 this was when King George V decreed that the family name wouldn’t sound as German as Windsor. When Elizabeth was announced Queen at 25, 3 years after the birth of Charles the Royal House name remained the same.
It is not known if this caused problems between the couple, however in the biography of Elizabeth by Sally Bredell Smith, he made a complaint saying the following “I am nothing but a bloody amoeba, I am the only man in this country not allowed to give his name to his own children”. However on the 8th of February 1960 a declaration was made to ensure that Mountbatten-Windsor would become the surname of Elizabeth and Philips male line descendants.
Philips biographer Gyles Brandreth asked him how he was perceived, he replied “I don’t know, a refugee husband I suppose”.
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth’s marriage was seen to be a happy marriage. Prince Philip came out and said “I think the main lesson we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient to any happy marriage.”
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip not only had slept in separate beds but also had separate bedrooms.
Queen Elizabeth’s marriage with Prince Philip is the longest of any British sovereign