How long was the Queen married to Prince Philip and when did they wed?

The Queen and Prince Philip got married in Windsor shortly after World War II in Windsor

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth during their wedding day at Windsor Castle
(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were married for an incredible 73 years, sharing an enduring love story that captured the hearts of the nation.

It's a dark day for England, as the nation processes the news that Britain's longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has passed away aged 96. 

Yesterday, Buckingham Palace shared a statement from King Charles, in which he expressed the ‘greatest sadness’ over his 'cherished' mother's death. It came after the news broke that the Queen was under 'medical supervision' but 'comfortable' at Balmoral Castle yesterday, with her family rushing to be by her side during her final hours.

In a tribute to the Queen and Prince Philip's 73-year marriage, we take a look back at how the couple met, when and where they wed and the secrets to their happy union. 

How long was the Queen married to Prince Philip?

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

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

(Image credit: Getty Images )

The couple were married just shy of 74 years. Prince Philip was described by the Queen as her "strength and stay," due to his calm and composed demeanor. "He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments, but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years," the Queen said in 1997, speaking about husband and their seven-decade marriage on their golden wedding anniversary. "And I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know."

The couple's 73-year marriage had its ups and downs, like most romantic relationships, but it's clear they shared an affectionate union filled with laughter, which endured the test of time. According to the New York Times, the Queen revealed to her father, King George VI, that Prince Philip was "the only man she could ever love".

So what was it that made Prince Philip so special to the Queen? As well as being her "strength and stay", according to Lord Charteris, the monarch’s former private secretary, another one of the reasons for their bond was that Philip could see her as simply Elizabeth, rather than as the Queen of England. 

Wales Online reported that Lord Charteris said, "Prince Philip is the only man in the world who treats the Queen simply as another human being. He’s the only man who can. Strange as it may seem, I believe she values that."

When did Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip get married? 

The beloved couple were wed on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey as England was recovering from the Second World War. Elizabeth wasn't yet Queen at just 21, and Prince Philip was 26 years old. 

Philip gave up his Greek and Danish titles and adopted the anglicized surname of his mother's family, calling himself Lt. Philip Mountbatten. 

The couple lived a quiet life together, with Philip serving in the Royal Navy. The Queen and Prince Philip had their two eldest children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, before events unfolded in 1952 that would change the course of their lives astronomically. 

While touring in Kenya, Elizabeth was alerted that her father, King George VI had passed away and she was to take the throne. Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II at just 25 and Philip gave up his career in the Navy to support her. 

Why was the Queen told to not marry Prince Philip?

Despite their happy marriage, their relationship faced criticizm in the beginning, with Elizabeth warned off marrying Prince Philip.

The Telegraph reported that royal biographer A.N. Wilson previously revealed that Philip was believed to be the wrong choice for the Queen due to his off-beat sense of humor. The Queens courtiers reportedly warned Elizabeth off, saying that Prince Philip was "entirely the wrong person to choose" because he made so many "gaffes". Take a look at Prince Philip's controversial quips as evidence...

"They said it for lots of reasons, but the fact is he was wrong," the biographer continued. "The Queen is a very reserved, diligent person. He isn't. He was a naval officer and he was also quite funny."

But this wasn't enough to deter the Queen. Nor were concerns about Philip's ancestry, or his lack of financial backing. In fact, it was Philip's humor that drew Her Majesty to him in the first place, encouraging her to explore a more playful side of her own character. 

Prince Philip and the Queen beaming for the cameras at Royal Ascot in 2012

Prince Philip and the Queen beaming for the cameras at Royal Ascot in 2012

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Samir Hussein, a royal photographer, told Insider that he'd seen the pair sharing a joke first hand at Royal Ascot in 2012. Hussein said that Prince Philip had a "sense of mischief" and that, "a great example of this was during Royal Ascot years ago when I photographed him arriving with the Queen by carriage.

"As they were arriving in the parade ring in front of a large crowd, the duke leaned in to the Queen and said a few words before bursting into uncontrollable laughter.

"The Queen was also grinning, so it produced a great photo as they passed in front of me. This was typical of the impulsive humor the duke could produce in front of the camera."

Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, where she particularly enjoys covering lifestyle and entertainment news. She was previously the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. When she's not working, you can find her reading a good book and enjoying a cup of coffee. Follow her @dvwrites.