The Queen and Prince Philip first met in the sweetest way

The couple were married for over 70 years

In this image, made available November 18, 2007, HM The Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh re-visit Broadlands, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on November 20.
(Image credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

The Queen falling head over heels for a Naval cadet sounds like something straight from a movie, but it’s true! The story of how they met begins at a college and concludes with a marriage of over 70 years.

At 13 years old, the Queen took a trip with her family to visit the Britannia Royal Naval College (her father's alma mater). It was there she first laid eyes on Prince Philip (an 18-year-old cadet at the time) who was tasked with entertaining her and her sister Princess Margaret.

Royal historian Christopher Warwick went into more detail with Vanity Fair, and described their first meeting.

“It was shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War,” he began. “There had been an outbreak of measles or chickenpox at the Royal Naval College, so Philip had been delegated to look after them and play games with Elizabeth and Margaret. And when he got tired of playing train sets with them, it’s famously known that he said, ‘Let’s go and jump the nets on the tennis courts.’ And Princess Elizabeth was just overwhelmed [by Philip], really. Her governess, Marion Crawford, recorded [in her diary] that Elizabeth said, ‘See how he jumps.’”

It wasn't love at first sight, though. “Like most romances, it was one that grew very gradually,” said Christopher. At the time, Elizabeth was still considered a child, and as for Philip, as Christopher went on, “He’d got girlfriends of his own.”

Over the following years, the two would correspond to one another and occasionally run into one another in the royal quarters.

“They were relatives – third cousins through Queen Victoria,” the historian reminds us. “And we have to remember that, during the war, Philip was actually away in the Royal Navy. When he was on leave, he would come and stay with the royal family at Windsor Castle – with his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, and his cousin, Princess Marina, who was Duchess of Kent. So he would see a lot of Princess Elizabeth when he was on leave. But otherwise, we’re told that they had a cousinly correspondence.”

Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II with her husband Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, after their marriage, 1947.

(Image credit: © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

It was rumored that Philip's family were pushing for a marriage between the two, but ultimately, King George VI stepped in and said, "‘She’s much too young. If it’s going to happen, let it happen naturally,’" said Christoper. “But it was through their correspondence, through their meetings, that they did fall in love. They both became devoted to one another, we know that.”

In 1947 Elizabeth and Philip were wed and went on to become one of the longest-married couples in British royal history.

“They love one another very much,” said Christopher. “In a private capacity, he has always been deferred to by the Queen as head of the family. It’s a very symbiotic relationship and a very firm partnership, starting off, of course, with these early meetings, this early correspondence – which became a friendship, which became affection, which became love.”

Rylee Johnston

Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.