Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth's royal love story explained - and how they first met

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace announced.

The Duke of Edinburgh was married to the Queen for more than seven decades and was the longest-serving consort in British history.

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A Palace statement said the Queen announced the death of her “beloved” husband with “deep sorrow”.

As part of the Royal Family, Philip supported the Queen in her role by becoming the patron of many organisations and attending events with Her Majesty.

But how did the pair first meet and fall in love?

Here is everything you need to know.

How did Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip meet?

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth’s love story goes all the way back to the thirties, when the duke became a cadet at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

When he was there, in the summer of 1939, he met the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth.

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Philip, who was five years her senior, was delegated to escort both young Elizabeth and Margaret while King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured the college.

Witnesses said he showed off during the meeting, but Elizabeth was said to be impressed by him.

According to Marion Crawford, Elizabeth’s governess, it was Philip’s “viking” good looks - his blonde hair and blue eyes - that attracted her to him.

She said when Philip came aboard the King’s yacht for meals, Elizabeth turned “pink-faced”.

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The pair then exchanged letters for years while Philip served as one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy on board the destroyer HMS Wallace.

Philip was invited to stay with the Royal Family on multiple occasions, and Elizabeth was said to be very fond of him.

After one such visit, in Christmas 1943, she placed a photograph of Philip in his naval uniform on her dressing table.

The relationship between the two continued to develop after the war, and the young princess was said to have fallen very much in love.

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It was in the summer of 1946, years after their first meeting, that Philip and Elizabeth’s relationship progressed to the next level, when he sought permission from King George VI to become engaged.

When did Prince Philip marry Queen Elizabeth?

But before the engagement could be publicly announced, Philip needed a new nationality.

The Duke of Edinburgh was born on 10 June 1921 in Corfu, Greece, to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

However, the family were exiled from the country when Philip was a baby.

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Philip's uncle took the Greek crown as Constantine I, but in 1922 he was forced from the throne by a military uprising and the family left the country on a British boat to France.

The duke renounced his Greek title and became a British citizen while taking his mother’s anglicised name, Mountbatten, prior to marrying Elizabeth.

Then, a day before the marriage ceremony, King George VI gave him the title of His Royal Highness.

Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947, just five months after they were engaged.

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The Queen was 21-years-old when she married, while Philip was 26.

On the morning of the wedding, Philip was made Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.

Winston Churchill described the nuptials as a “flash of colour” in post-war Britain.

Many happy years later, in November 2020, the Queen and Prince Philip marked their 73rd wedding anniversary.

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They released a photo of themselves opening a card made for them by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children.

How many children do Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth have?

After their marriage, Philip went back to his naval career and was posted to Malta.

The couple lived as any other service family would for a while.

Then, in 1948, the pair’s first son, Prince Charles was born at Buckingham Palace.

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Two years later, the Queen gave birth to Princess Anne. Prince Andrew was born in 1960, followed by Prince Edward in 1964.

As the health of King George VI deteriorated, Elizabeth was tasked with taking on more royal duties and needed the duke’s support.

Philip subsequently took leave from the navy in July 1951.

A year later, the royal couple went on a tour of the Commonwealth that was originally supposed to be carried out by the King and Queen.

What happened when Elizabeth became Queen?

While they were on the tour, the couple received word that the King had died after suffering a fatal heart blood clot.

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When Elizabeth ascended the throne and became Queen, Philip had to create a new role for himself within the monarchy.

He didn’t become a king due to a parliamentary law.

Over the course of British history, the husband of a queen born into the line of succession has not become a king.

It was the same case for the husbands of Queen Anne and Queen Victoria.

Instead, the spouse of a ruling king or queen is instead known as a consort.

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So, Prince Philip was only known as the Duke of Edinburgh after the Queen’s coronation.

But in 1957, the Queen made the decision to make Philip a prince of the UK, in addition to his dukedom.

The couple were married for more than seven decades, and, as well as their four children, had nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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