Once upon a time…
A very young Princess Elizabeth, age 13, met her someday prince over a game of croquet. On request of her father, King George VI, a young cadet at the college they were visiting was put in charge of entertaining the young princesses for the day. The 18-year-old cadet, who also happened to be a prince in his own right, is said to have captured the young princess’s love that day, and has kept it ever since.
“While everything else in the life of Lilibet was laid out for her, she made the most important decision on her own. ‘She never looked at anyone else…'”(Vanity Fair)
It wasn’t until Christmas of 1943 that the pair would meet again, but since that fateful reunion, the rest, you could say, is history. Princess Elizabeth was (even more) certain that Philip was the one and she promptly displayed a photo of him in her nursery room. He is said to have kept a photo of his “Lilibet” with him in his naval barracks. As the war raged on, in which the Prince fought without protection from any royal patronage (The Daily Beast) they continued their correspondence through letters and occasional visits. Her nanny recalls the princess after the couple had seen the musical Oklahoma! together:
“I also noticed that she began to play her gramophone more than usual, and that her favourite tune was People Will Say We’re In Love, from the musical Oklahoma! — which she’d seen with Philip.
After he started taking her out, Lilibet would often ask the band at the restaurants where they dined to play the number for her.” (Daily Mail)
When Prince Philip proposed to Princess Elizabeth in the late summer of 1946, she is said to have said yes before consenting her parents. He soon after wrote:
“To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one’s personal and even the world’s troubles seem small and petty”. (The Telegraph)
Prince Philip is said to have proposed during a walk with Princess Elizabeth through the Balmoral grounds. It was initially a “secret engagement.” Although it’s reported that many were hesitant of the marriage, especially the King, it was a short engagement. The official announcement of the engagement was on July 7, 1946.
Having suffered the ravages of WWII, the celebration was a welcome, though thought-out event. Winston Churchill described it as “a flash of colour on the hard road we have to travel.” Rations were used in creating Princess Elizabeth’s gown, which included a short train, and decorated with 10,000 seed pearls. (Fashion-Era) The wedding was the morning of November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey. More than 2000 guests were in attendance with more than 200 million people listening worldwide.
And they lived happily ever after…
After 60 plus years together, the first British monarch to celebrate a diamond wedding anniversary, as well as Prince Philip being the longest living consort, their love has to be true to make it thus far. And you have to admit, the way he looks at her, and she him, it’s pretty apparent it’s love.