On November 20, 1947, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip said their I do’s at Westminster Abbey, kicking off the longest-standing royal marriage in British royal family history. Today, the couple would have celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary, and we’re in awe of the love story that has spanned nearly three-quarters of a century (not to mention riots, financial crashes, diplomatic disaster, and 11 US presidents). Ascending to the throne just five years after marrying Philip, the Queen’s rule has been bolstered all these years by the support of her husband. Four children, eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren later, we’re looking back at the photographic moments that shaped the love story of our favorite monarch.
It all began when Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was just 13 years old (though already aware that she was in line for the throne, with her father King George VI having taken over in 1936 after his brother Edward abdicated). The monarch, already unusually collected for her age, recalls the moment she first saw him in a letter from that time.
“The first time I remember meeting Philip was at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in July 1934, just before the war. I was 13 years of age and he was 18, and a cadet.”
And the rest, as they say, is history — one we’ve all followed very closely.
At nearly 95 years old, the Queen has served as the longest reigning monarch in British history, making Prince Philip the longest-reigning consort in history, a role we have every reason to believe he fulfilled in exceptional manner before his death in April 2021. Kate Middleton, who will one day be queen consort to King William V, has in fact been praised for taking cues from Philip’s quiet support and gentle presence around the Queen, with many believing he represented the ideal monarch’s companion.
There’s one point the history can never get quite across, though, and that’s how immeasurably sweet these two were together too, sharing flirty glances, laughter, and quiet moments out of the spotlight. Read on for a look back at all the royal couple’s best moments in photos.
A version of this article was originally published in May 2017.