The Queen and Prince Philip celebrated their 69 years of marriage on Sunday.
The couple, who are now just one year away from reaching their platinum anniversary, originally met at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in 1939 when the Queen was just 13-years-old, and began exchanging letters before eventually becoming formally engaged in 1947, following the Queen's 21st birthday. The royal pair married later in the same year. The monarch was crowned just five years after their wedding following the death of her father King George VI, who died aged only 56, and although the transition changed their lives forever the couple have always approached their royal duties with a sense of humour and affection for each other that, over the decades, is a testament to their enduring love.
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The pair have been married for 69 years
When her Majesty was still a Princess, she revealed an insight into their courtship. In a letter to author Mrs Betty Shew, who was writing a book called Royal Wedding as a souvenir of their marriage, she confirmed that they would dance together at nightclubs Ciro's and Quaglino's in London. On the announcement of their marriage, rationing was still in place following WWII, and in excitement for the upcoming royal nuptials, brides-to-be from around the UK sent the then-Princess coupons to buy the perfect gown.
However, according to biographer A.N. Wilson, her Majesty's courtiers were initially against the relationship. He said: "When she made it quite clear from the age of about 14 that she was in love with Prince Philip, who was a beautiful German Prince with blond hair, all the courtiers said he was entirely the wrong person to choose.
The couple wed in 1947
"They said it for lots of reasons, but the fact is he was wrong. The Queen is very reserved, diligent person. He isn't. He was a naval officer and he was also quite funny."
THE QUEEN AND PRINCE PHILIP CELEBRATE 69TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY: THEIR LOVE STORY IN PICTURES
The Queen has previously spoken about her husband with affection. On their golden wedding anniversary she said: "He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments. But he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years. I and his whole family, in this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know."
The pair shared a photo with Prince Charles and Princess Anne
Prince Philip has also jokily praised his wife, and once said: "You can take it from me that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance." In a letter to his soon-to-be mother-in-law following their engagement, the Prince also spoke of his love for the Queen, writing: "I am sure that I do not deserve all the good things that have happened to me…. to have been spared in the war and seen victory. To have fallen in love completely and unreservedly." In another letter he wrote: "Cherish Lilibet? I wonder if that word is enough to express what is in me."