New book gives insight into the Queen's marriage with Prince Philip

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Theirs is a partnership based on mutual respect and love - and a shared sense of humour too. The Queen and Prince Philip may live a life in the royal spotlight, but in many respects they are just like any other long-married couple - with their own in jokes and good natured banter.

A new book gives a fascinating – and humorous – insight into the light-hearted interactions the couple continue to share almost 70 years after their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947.

While the couple are now comfortable in each other's company, it wasn't always that way. Recalling meeting his future wife in 1939, the Duke of Edinburgh said years later: "You were so shy. I couldn't get a word out of you."

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Prince Philip and the Queen have been married almost 70 years

However the Queen's shyness hasn't lasted. According to the Queen's former private secretary Lord Charteris: "It is not unknown for the Queen to tell the Duke to shut up."

Another person privileged enough to get a personal insight into the Queen's relationship with Philip is Tony Blair. The former Prime Minister described a weekend barbeque with them at Balmoral as "a vivid combination of the intriguing, the surreal and the utterly freaky", as Prince Philip did the cooking while the Queen donned rubber gloves and washed the dishes.

Perhaps this was due to the Prince's school of thought that "British women can't cook" – a statement he made at the Scottish Women's Institute in 1961.

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The couple visited Germany together in June

With almost 70 years of wedded bliss behind them, it is no wonder that the couple have often been asked their secrets to a happy marriage. After fifty years Prince Philip joked with typical understatement: "You can take it from me the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance."

Ten years later, he revealed: "The secret of a happy marriage is to have different interests."

Perhaps another secret to the success of their marriage is Philip's unquestionable devotion to his wife.

He said: "My job first, second and last is never to let the Queen down."

Prince Philip: I Know I Am Rude But I Like It by Nigel Cawthorne, Publishing in July by Gibson Square £8.99 (9781783340125) © 2015 Nigel Cawthorne.

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