It was kind of funny – in a morbid way – when the youths found out that Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth were cousins just after Philip’s passing. I watched it unfold on Twitter, as the younger people were like “wait, so they met when she was JUST 13 YEARS OLD?” And they probably met at some kind of family event, because AGAIN they were cousins. The real story of Philip and Liz’s courtship involved Lord Mountbatten grooming Philip for the job of “husband to a future monarch” and then baiting the young Elizabeth with his dashing adoptive son. But no one denies that it was love at first sight for Elizabeth, and everyone knows he was the love of her life. From People Magazine:
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip met when the young princess was 13 — and their love evolved into a 73-year marriage that lasted to his dying day. When Prince Philip died on Friday at the age of 99, the Queen said goodbye to the love of her life.
“She fell in love, and she never looked at anyone else,” biographer Sally Bedell Smith tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. At 13, the future Queen first met a then 18-year-old Prince Philip in 1939, when she joined her parents and sister Princess Margaret on a visit to Dartmouth naval college. While Elizabeth was reserved and shy, she was smitten by Philip’s zest for adventure. The two exchanged countless letters while Philip served in the Royal Navy during World War II.
“Philip enjoys driving and does it fast!” she wrote in a letter to author Betty Shew that was auctioned off in 2016. “He has his own tiny M.G. which he is very proud of. He has taken me about in it, once up to London, which was great fun.”
The couple married after a year-long courtship on Nov. 20, 1947, an occasion that called for national celebration following the devastating war. “There had been grayness and austerity, and then to have this golden coach and crowds made it exciting,” Lady Pamela, the daughter of Philip’s uncle Lord Mountbatten and a longtime lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth who served as a bridesmaid, previously told PEOPLE.
In the wake of Prince Philip’s death, the Queen will continue to carry out her royal duties. Amid reports that the 94-year-old monarch will be accompanied by family members at future engagements, a former senior aide at the palace tells PEOPLE, “Her family will step up and be by her side, but she will carry on. She understands that she has a job to do, and [Philip] would have wanted her to crack on. She did do so when he retired from public life.”
A close royal insider adds, “She will never abdicate because of duty and honor and public service is so deep in her, as it was for him.”
There’s obviously been a lot of renewed conversations about the monarchy and whether Elizabeth should simply abdicate and spend the last years of her life in mourning and with her family. I bet there are even high-level conversations about it in several of the royal courts. But I doubt she will. She really believes that it’s her duty to die at Queen. And I do think she’ll find a way to carry on, and she’ll bring certain people closer to her, like Prince Andrew, and the Wessexes too, probably.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid and WENN.
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