Elizabeth and Philip share the same great-great grandparents, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. It wasn’t at all frowned upon for cousins of this degree to fall for each other. They actually met several times at family gatherings before their love story truly began.
Philip was invited to attend lunch with the royal family when Elizabeth was only 13 years old. Neither the princess nor the prince — one day the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh — had any idea that day would change everything.
He was 18 at the time, and despite their obvious difference in age, Elizabeth couldn’t stop looking at him. Her governess recalled that the princess barely paid any attention to anyone else, though Philip may not have noticed.
The public has always recognized that the duke appears to have a hard emotional exterior, which Elizabeth would eventually see through on her way toward falling for him. Both his age, upcoming military service, and rough childhood likely all contributed to paying his future wife little attention — at first.
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Elizabeth and Philip corresponded back-and-forth through letters while he was off at sea. His service in the Royal Navy played a major part in their relationship even after their first child was born, but it started when she was still a teenage princess.
George VI and his wife Elizabeth first noticed the potential romantic connection between Elizabeth and Philip when he visited the family on leave. She was 17 then, and both agreed she was still too young for a suitor. The two kept in touch anyway.
Philip had a rough childhood and a poor relationship with his father, Prince Andrew. Hardship forced him to grow up young, which often left him seeming closed-off to those around him. Elizabeth fell for him anyway, seeing past his “shell” to the gentler man underneath it.
When Philip proposed in the summer of 1946, and Elizabeth accepted immediately. After the fact, King George allowed the engagement to continue — as long as the couple held off an official announcement until after Elizabeth turned 21.
The couple managed to keep their PDA to a minimum in an effort to keep their engagement secret for as long as they could. A moments-long gaze between the two almost broke the news early, but they waited to make the official public announcement until July 1947.
All marriages require compromise, but Philip made this choice completely on his own. He recognized that the king’s addiction to cigarettes really bothered Elizabeth. So he just stopped smoking one day without complaint to make her happier.
The couple’s first child and male heir to the throne, Charles on his own was enough of a precious gift. Philip also brought Elizabeth roses, carnations, and a kiss as an added gesture of affection, which she probably appreciated.
They first began to fall in love while apart, but she chose not to spend months away from him when he returned to the Navy. On two separate occasions, Elizabeth accompanied her husband out to sea when their children were still young.
Elizabeth became queen following her father’s death in 1952. She immediately chose to keep her father’s name (Windsor) instead of Philip’s (Mountbatten). This would upset him for years to come, though he still took on his new role as consort — and that of her husband — in show of eternal support for her.
In 1960, Elizabeth and Philip had their third child and second son. She named him Andrew, after Philip’s father, who he had lost over a decade earlier. It was a small gesture, but she made the decision out of love for the man she remains beside today.