Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's fascinating love story in pictures

In a celebration of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's 73-year marriage, we take a look back at their pivotal moments, both private and public

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in a field with some highland cattle at Balmoral, Scotland, 1972
(Image credit: Future/Getty Images)

In honor of Queen Elizabeth II's life after her passing, we take a look back at her marriage to Prince Philip and how their enduring love story developed over seven decades.

On September 8, 2022, the news broke that Queen Elizabeth II had died aged 96 at Balmoral Castle, her Scottish countryside home where she shared happy memories with her beloved husband, children, and the extended royal family. Her death comes little than a year after her husband, Prince Philip, passed away at Windsor Castle with the Queen by his side.

The couple shared a long and happy marriage that spanned seven decades, their unique union capturing the hearts of the nation. Their love for each other was evident, right until the end. Prince Philip's final year involved daily walks with the Queen around the grounds of Windsor Castle and the couple made a point of dining together each evening, according to reporting from Vanity Fair (opens in new tab). There's no doubt the Queen would have felt a great loss this past year, without her "strength and stay" by her side. 

The Queen and Prince Philip's story began when the pair met in 1939 and the Queen was just a teenager. During a visit to the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Philip was given the responsibility of entertaining 13-year-old 'Lilibet' as she was known, and her nine-year-old sister Margaret. 18-year-old Philip was said to be Her Majesty's first ever crush. According to the New York Times (opens in new tab), the Queen revealed to her father, King George VI, that Prince Philip was "the only man she could ever love".

In tribute to the Queen and Prince Philip's enduring marriage, we take a look back at the couple's most iconic pictures, both public-facing and those more intimate, spontaneous occasions captured on camera. The Queen and Prince Philip's love story lasted a lifetime - these are the moments that shaped it. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's love story in pictures 

1946 - Elizabeth and Prince Philip attend the wedding of Patricia Mountbatten.

From left, King George VI, Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth II, Prince Philip of Greece arrive to attend the wedding of Lady Patricia Mountbatten in London on October 1946


(Image credit: Getty Images)

In one of the rare photographs of the Queen and Prince Philip before their own wedding in 1947, the couple can be seen arriving at Romsey Abbey for the wedding of Patricia Mountbatten and Lord Brabourne alongside the Queen's sister Princess Margaret and their father King George VI. Prince Philip of Greece, as he was known then, is sporting his signature smile for the event, as he and Elizabeth walk in side by side.

1947 - The newlyweds wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace

The Duke of Edinburgh wave to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their marriage


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The Queen and Prince Philip perfect the royal wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace in November 1947, shortly after their wedding at Windsor Castle. Wearing a beautiful silk gown and impressive tiara, the future Queen looked radiant. But acquiring her stunning wedding dress was no mean feat, with Elizabeth saving up clothing coupons to buy the dress due to rationing in World War II, according to reporting from Town and Country (opens in new tab).

1947 - Elizabeth and Philip honeymoon in Hampshire

Princess Elizabeth and The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh enjoying a walk during their honeymoon at Broadlands, Romsey, Hampshire


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Prince Philip and the Queen are pictured enjoying a walk in Hampshire on their first honeymoon shortly after their wedding in 1947. Their second honeymoon was in Malta the following year. Taking walks together was to become a favorite pastime for the couple, who were said to enjoy a ramble in the countryside or walk around the grounds of their various estates. 

1949 - Elizabeth and Philip pose with their first child, Charles

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, playing with their young son Prince Charles in the gardens of the royal residence of Windlesham Moor in Surrey, England, July 1949


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip welcome their first child, Charles, the future King, in 1948. This was said to be a joyful time in the couple's lives, before the responsibilities that came with becoming the Head of State of the British Monarchy. The couple's country estate, Windlesham Moor, was actually a rented property close to Windsor Castle, where the couple lived following their marriage in 1947, until 1949 when the family moved to Clarence House. While the property lacked the grandeur of some of the more famous royal residences over the years, the grounds were spacious and the family-of-three are pictured looking relaxed and content, enjoying life in their new home. 

1951 - The family welcome Princess Anne

The Queen and Prince Philip welcome their 4th child Princess Anne

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After the move to Clarence House, Elizabeth gives birth to her second child, Princess Anne, expanding their family to four. Prince Philip is a playful and devoted father, often pictured pulling silly faces and laughing around his children. Princess Anne said in a tribute after his passing that, "his sense of humor always shone through".

1953 - The Queen and Prince Philip share a moment at the theatre

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh before the curtain rose for the Gala Performance at London's Old Vic Theatre 1953


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Just before the curtain rises at the Old Vic Theatre in London for the Gala Performance in 1953, the couple shares a glance at each other, looking happy and relaxed. Queen Elizabeth is radiant in a diamond tiara and statement earrings as she smiles at her husband.

1953 - The Queen's Coronation

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wave at the crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace after Elizabeth's coronation, 2nd June 1953


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On June 2, 1953, Elizabeth becomes Queen Elizabeth II, with Philip by her side. Dressed in lavish clothes and St Edward's Crown, Elizabeth takes on the huge responsibility of Head of State - a role that she will fulfill for the rest of her life. She and the Duke of Edinburgh were driven to the Abbey in the Gold State Coach with the coronation lasting almost three hours - 8,251 guests were in attendance. One of the Queen’s children was present at the coronation, too. Prince Charles was able to attend the grand event that he would one day experience for himself.

1972 - The Queen and Prince Philip holiday in Balmoral

Queen and Prince Philip holiday in Balmoral in 1972


(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's well known that the Queen and Prince Philip loved Balmoral Castle and spent many happy years there together, making the Queen's choice to be there in her final days all the more poignant. As well as the many family holidays where the Queen would spend time with her children and her beloved horses, she and Prince Philip visited Balmoral during their Silver Wedding Anniversary year in 1972, during which this touching portrait was taken.

1980 - The Queen and Prince Philip visit the Derby

The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wear raincoats as they visit the Derby on June 6, 1980 in Epsom, England


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A quintessentially British moment, captured on camera, of the Queen and Prince Philip intently watching the horseracing Derby at Epsom, wearing raincoats and with brollies in hand to protect from the drizzle. The Queen had a great love of horseracing, which she shared with her husband Philip, and the pair regularly attended race meetings throughout their lives. 

1980 - The Queen Mother's 80th birthday celebrations

Queen and Philip celebrate the Queen Mother's 80th birthday

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The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate the Queen Mother's birthday, surrounded by the extended royal family. Here the Queen is pictured smiling at her mother on the famous Buckingham Palace balcony where so many iconic moments were to take place in the future throughout her service as Queen.

1982 - Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attend a traditional feast in Tuvalu

Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wear flowers in their hair as they attend a traditional feast in Tuvalu during their tour of the South Pacific on October 27, 1982


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The Queen and Prince Philip are pictured during a rare moment of downtime wearing flowers in their hair and vibrant patterned clothing as they attend a traditional feast in Tuvalu during their royal tour of the South Pacific in 1982. 

1991 - Prince Philip and the Queen take a barge tour

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (2nd L) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (2nd R) ride a barge on a tour down the San Antonio River Walk on May 21, 1991

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The Queen looks joyful as she and Philip ride a barge on a tour down the San Antonio River Walk in 1991. Elizabeth was the first British monarch to visit San Antonio and was said to have captured the hearts of those who came to the see Queen in person during her whistle-stop tour of the region. The Queen's personal secretary, Sir Kenneth Scott, said the barge cruise down the San Antonio River, “provided the most spectacular sight the royal party has seen since arriving in the United States a week ago,” according to the San Antonio Express-News (opens in new tab).

1993 - The Queen and Prince Philip embark on a Royal Tour of Hungary

The Queen And Prince Philip During An Official Tour Of Hungary

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Prince Philip is pictured pointing something out to the Queen during their royal tour of Hungary in 1993. In addition to Kecskemét, the couple also visited Bugac and the capital of Hungary, Budapest. Prince Philip, known for his controversial quips, reportedly said to a British tourist in Budapest, “You haven’t been here a long time, you don’t have a beer belly," according to Daily News Hungary (opens in new tab).

2002 - The Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations

The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate her Golden Jubilee

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The Queen and Prince Philip wave at crowds from an open-top car in honor of her Golden Jubilee celebrations. This joyful celebration saw Buckingham Palace gardens used for a concert for the very first time. The CD to mark the occasion 'Party at the Palace' sold over 100,000 copies in the first week of its release, resulting in the Queen being rewarded a gold disc from the recording industry.

2007 - The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary

The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary

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On a very special trip, the Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth returned to Broadlands in Hampshire where they honeymooned back in 1947 for portraits to celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. The couple recreated their original honeymoon photographs during a walk around the grounds at the former home of Prince Philip’s beloved late uncle, Earl Mountbatten. 

2008 - Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit Swansea

Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh admire a ceremonial goat outside the Guildhall on March 7, 2008 in Swansea, Wales

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The Queen is known for her love of animals. From her beloved horses and corgis to launching initiatives to help care for and protect animals in the wild, animals are always high on Her Majesty's agenda, so it's no surprise that she took a moment to admire a ceremonial goat proudly standing outside the Guildhall during her and Prince Philp's tour of Swansea in 2008.

2008 - The Queen and Philip meet the French president and his wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy

State visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to England. Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni Sarkozy are greeted by HRH Queen Elisabeth II and Prince Philip Duke of Windsor in Windsor

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The Queen and Prince Philip meet the glamorous French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni Sarkozy in Windsor, before enjoying a horse-drawn carriage ride through Windsor to the Castle together. Dubbed by some political commentators as "the most exciting state visit in British history," Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla enjoyed a royal tour of London during their two-day trip, hosted by the Queen and Philip.

2015 - Prince Philip holds the Queen's hand during a Service of Commemoration for troops in Afganistan

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh hold hands as they leave St Paul's Cathedral after a Service of Commemoration for troops who were stationed in Afghanistan on March 13, 2015 in London, England

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Philip is pictured holding the Queen's hand to support her, as they leave St Paul's Cathedral after a Service of Commemoration for troops who were stationed in Afghanistan.

2018 - The Queen and Prince Philip attend The Queen's Baton Relay Race

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II and Anna Meares attend the launch of The Queen's Baton Relay for the XXI Commonwealth Games at Buckingham Palace on March 13, 2017 in London, England. The Games will run from April 4, 2018 to April 15, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II, and Anna Meares attend the launch of The Queen's Baton Relay for the XXI Commonwealth Games at Buckingham Palace in a colorful celebration of sport. The Queen was a great lover of sport and regularly attended sporting events, in particular horseracing meetings, alongside Prince Philip. She was also a football fan and famously said of the sport, “football's a difficult business, and aren't they prima donnas. But it's a wonderful game“.

2020 - Prince Philip celebrates his 99th birthday

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In a rare photograph of the Queen and Prince Philip as he reached the end of his life, the couple posed in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Taken in 2020 when the UK was under a national lockdown, the Duke's celebrations were low-key, but it's touching to see he and the Queen were still able to have a walk around the grounds of what was said to be his favorite royal residence. The picture was captioned, "This new photograph of The Duke of Edinburgh and The Queen was taken last week in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle to mark His Royal Highness’s 99th birthday tomorrow."

2022 - Illustrators pay tribute to the Queen and Philip

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The Queen's death on September 8, 2022, signified a dark day in British history and the end of an era, but as the tributes poured in, it was clear to see that her and Philip's enduring love story was a source of comfort. Illustrator Eleanor Tomlinson crafted a beautiful sketch to mark Her Majesty's passing, picturing the Queen and Prince Philip arm in arm with a horse and corgi by their sides to signify Her Majesty's beloved pets. Alongside the sketch, she quoted the Queen's words of comfort during the lockdown of 2020, "We will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again; we will meet again."