The love story between Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip is, well, a unique one. The pair
first met as children in 1934, and in 2017, they celebrated 70 years of marriage. How did they last
so long? Let's put a kettle on and discuss the truth about Queen Elizabeth's marriage.
The wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten took place on November 20, 1947,
at Westminster Abbey. In front of 2,000 guests, the ceremony
was recorded by BBC radio and broadcast to 200 million people around the globe.
The wedding had 91 singers and Elizabeth's wedding dress was designed by Sir Norman
Hartnell after he submitted several designs. However, this wasn't just an ordinary dress.
Due to rationing and austerity measures post-WWII,
Elizabeth had to use clothing rationing coupons to pay for her dress. The government allowed her 200
extra ration coupons and she was flooded with hundreds of clothing coupons by brides-to-be
from all parts of the country who wanted to help her pay for the special day.
However, they had to be returned since it was illegal for coupons to be given away.
And the cake? Guests enjoyed a 9 foot tall,
500 pound fruit cake made by donated ingredients flown in from Australia
and South Africa. According to House & Garden, the cake produced a staggering 2000 slices for guests.
Many love songs and poems have been written about what people give up for love, but Prince Philip
could write several of his own. In order to marry Elizabeth, Philip had to become a
naturalized British citizen and give up his Greek and Danish royal titles, as well as his place in
the line of succession to the Greek throne. He was also not allowed to invite his sisters to
the wedding since they were married to men who had been senior officials in the Nazi Party.
In order to fulfill his duties as Prince consort, Philip was required to abandon his Naval career,
and walk behind Elizabeth in public. Once Elizabeth became Queen, Philip's uncle
Dickie Mountbatten said, quote, "The House of Mountbatten now reigns." It did not. Queen
Mary and then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill convinced Elizabeth that she and her descendants
would rule as the House of Windsor. Philip didn't take the news well, telling his friends,
"I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own
children [...] I am nothing but a bloody amoeba."
The relationship between a father and his daughters can be complicated,
but King George VI's love for his two daughters was a well-documented
exception. As a proud father, The King was fond of telling people,
"Lilibet [Elizabeth] is my pride, Margaret my joy."
The remarkably close relationship between King George VI and his eldest daughter was expressed in
a letter he wrote to her days after her marriage to Philip. The King wrote to his daughter,
"When I handed your hand to the Archbishop, I felt I had lost something very precious.
You were so calm and composed during the service and said your
words with such conviction that I knew everything was alright."
King George VI told Elizabeth he watched her grow up all these years with pride,
and that he could count on her to continue his legacy as the eventual ruler of England, writing,
"I can see that you are sublimely happy with Philip, which is right,
but don't forget us, is the wish of your ever-loving and devoted... Papa."
"Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head. But, once you put it on it
stays. I mean, it just remains itself."
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip might have been married for over seven decades,
but the first years of their marriage got off to a rocky start. It was a different time in 1947,
and men weren't used to being married to powerful women, much less a queen. In the documentary Being
the Queen, Prince Philip's cousin, Lady Pamela Hicks, had this to say about her famous relative,
"This extremely active enthusiastic young man who suddenly finds his whole life is
going to be taken away from him and probably thinking he will become a 'yes man' for the
rest of his life [...] This really devastated their lives, actually, as a married couple."
The documentary's producer, Tom Jennings, believed Philip had
a difficult time transitioning into the role. Jennings went on to tell Us Weekly,
"I'm sure it was very strained at first and for someone like Philip to acquiesce to the nation
and basically give up his bride to the world [...] I think he managed to get through it [...]"
We assume every couple has pet names for each other, and when it comes to Queen Elizabeth,
Prince Philip is no different. In the 2006 film The Queen,
there is a moment where a royal nickname became public knowledge. In the scene, while Philip,
played by James Cromwell, is climbing into bed, he tells Elizabeth, played by Helen Mirren,
"Move over, Cabbage."
The screenwriter of the film, Peter Morgan,
apparently did his homework, stating to The Sunday Times:
"I inquired in royal circles and was told on very good authority that that
is what the duke sometimes calls the Queen."
So why the name cabbage? Reader's Digest explains that there's speculation that the Prince's pet
name for his wife may come from the French way of saying "my darling." The publication
goes on to explain that in English, the term literally translates to "my little cabbage."
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip take great pains not to pack on the PDA for the public,
and they definitely keep their arguments away from the ever-present media.
Except one. In 1954, the royal couple had a fight in public during their
eight-week tour of Australia that was captured on camera by sheer accident.
No one knows exactly what started the fight. However, an Australian film crew was rolling
when Prince Philip charged through the front door of the royal couple's chalet
followed by Queen Elizabeth who was hurling abuse at her husband as well as a tennis racket.
She then reportedly dragged him back inside and slammed the door shut. You can almost
picture in your mind the crew's shock when Elizabeth later appeared and said:
"'I'm sorry for that little interlude
but, as you know, it happens in every marriage. Now, what would you like me to do?”
The public spat never saw the light of day because the crew
handed over the footage and it disappeared forever.
While Queen Elizabeth is known for being reserved in public,
Prince Philip is anything but. The man has so many gaffes there was
even a book about them titled Prince Philip: Wise Words and Golden Gaffes. The man simply
just says whatever comes to his mind. But let's be honest, the word "gaffe" is doing a lot of
work here. When Prince Philip speaks in public, you can automatically expect off-color remarks.
In 2011, on his 90th birthday, The Independent compiled 90 of Philip's
most famous, and infamous, gaffes. He asked a wheelchair-bound nursing home resident, quote,
"Do people trip over you?" Prince Phillip also told a teenager who dreamed of becoming
an astronaut that she should lose, quote, "a little bit of weight." Furthermore,
during a visit to the Aboriginal Cultural Park in Australia in 2002,
he asked Aboriginal leader William Brin, quote, "Do you still throw spears at each other?" Yikes!
"For Christ's sake!
Take the photo!"
Allegations of infidelity earlier in his marriage to Queen Elizabeth
have plagued Prince Philip for their entire relationship. According to Town & Country,
there's no concrete proof that Philip cheated, but he's rumored to have been
involved with numerous women over the years. The publication did have a list
of the women Prince Phillp allegedly had an affair with, which included:
"TV personality Katie Boyle, singer Hélène Cordet, actress Merle Oberon, novelist Daphne du Maurier,
Princess Alexandra (the Queen's cousin), and the Duchess of Abercorn."
Most notably, however, was the beautiful stage actor Pat Kirkwood. She vehemently denied the
rumors, but Prince Philip would neither confirm nor deny them. Kirkwood once told a journalist,
"A lady is not normally expected to defend her honor. It is the gentleman who should do that.
I would have had a happier and easier life if Prince Philip, instead of coming uninvited to
my dressing room, had gone home to his pregnant wife on the night in question."
Philip's former private secretary, Mike Parker, told The Telegraph in 2014 that Philip has been
one hundred percent faithful to the Queen. And as The Independent noted,
when he was asked by a journalist about the cheating rumors, Philip responded,
"Good God, woman. Have you ever stopped to think that for years, I have never moved anywhere
without a policeman accompanying me? So how the hell could I get away with anything like that?"
On November 20, 2020, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip celebrated their 73rd
wedding anniversary. That's an incredibly long time for any married couple to be together.
However, while the two shared a roof in Buckingham Palace, they didn't share a bed. According to
Prince Philip's first cousin Lady Pamela, the royal couple sleeps separately out of tradition.
What tradition, you may ask? In Sally Bedell Smith's 2011 biography,
Elizabeth the Queen, Lady Pamela had this to reveal:
"In England, the upper class always has had separate bedrooms. You don't
want to be bothered with snoring or someone flinging a leg around.
Then when you are feeling cozy you share your room sometimes. It is lovely to be able to choose."
In 2017, Prince Philip retired from public life and moved out of the couple's primary residence
due to his dislike for Buckingham Palace. Since Philip's withdrawal from public life, he has been
dividing his time between Windsor Castle and a former farm manager's cottage at Wood Farm,
located in the Royal couple's country retreat Sandringham.
According to The Daily Mail, Philip spends his day on the farm
reading and painting. A courtier also revealed to the publication:
"The Queen feels the Duke has earned a proper retirement.
Being at Wood Farm means he's not too far away, but far enough to be able to relax."
In news that shocked the Royal Family and the world, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince
Harry and Meghan Markle, announced on Instagram in January 2020 that they would take a step back
as senior members of the Royal Family so that they could work to become financially independent.
Dubbed "Megxit" by international media due to the
fact that many believed Markle was the driving force behind the announcement,
the couple's decision to step down as Royals was reportedly motivated by the racism Markle faced,
as well as a hostile British press. Regarding the matter, Queen Elizabeth said in a statement:
"Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I
recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense
scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life."
Privately, however, the Queen is, as Royal expert Phil Dampier claimed to The Telegraph,
absolutely devastated and feels, quote, "betrayed" by Markle's accusation that she was undefended by
the institution of the Royal Family during the media onslaughts. Royal editor Camilla
Tominey also speculated on the Queen's future relationship with her great-grandson, writing,
"Some in royal circles have even started to wonder whether the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will
ever see their one-year-old great-grandson Archie again amid the escalating row."
We assume this situation has taken a toll on Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
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