Elizabeth, who was a princess at the time, met Philip, who went by Philip Mountbatten, in 1934 at a wedding. A few years later, in 1939, she was on a tour of the Royal Naval College (she was 13 and he was 18), and they began exchanging letters. They were secretly engaged in 1946. King George VI ordered that the formal engagement be delayed until after Elizabeth’s 21st birthday in April 1947. Their engagement was announced in July that year.
They married on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey. Britain was recovering from World War II, and the wedding was broadcast by BBC radio.
In full cowboy drag, Philip and Elizabeth square-danced while touring Ottawa, Canada.
Philip and Elizabeth, not yet on the throne, hold Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
The two welcomed the Kennedys to Buckingham Palace for an official dinner. The meeting will make a cameo in the upcoming second season of The Crown. (In the historic story there was reportedly a little drama with the guest list. Mrs. Kennedy had requested her sister Princess Lee Radziwill and her husband, Prince Stanislas Radziwill, be invited, but divorcées—which they both were—were not permitted to dine at the palace at the time.)
Introducing Prince Edward, born on March 10, 1964.
Elizabeth supports her husband and son, Prince Charles, at the polo pitch.
Elizabeth and Philip dance at a state ball at the palace in Valletta during a visit to Malta in November 1967. Before she ascended to the throne, she joined her husband on the island, where he was stationed as a naval officer.
A typical marital moment on the family jet.
The two visited a farm on the Balmoral estate in Scotland for their silver wedding anniversary year in September 1972.
Elizabeth photographs a horse at the Badminton Horse Trials.
Again with the horses. Here they are at the Royal Windsor Horse Show held in Windsor Home Park.
The whole gang at the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London.
Visiting the Great Wall of China.
Queen Elizabeth cuts the cake for their golden anniversary (50 years!). Their anniversary came a few months after her former daughter-in-law Diana’s death. In a speech, she said, “This has given us strength, most recently during the sad days after the tragedy of Diana’s death. It is you, if I may now speak to all of you directly, who have seen us through, and helped us to make our duty fun. We are deeply grateful to you, each and every one.”
Fast-forward a decade, and here we are at their 60th wedding anniversary—“diamond” this time.
Queen Elizabeth presents her husband with the top New Zealand title, the Order of New Zealand badge. It had been worn by the Queen Mother until her death.
Riding the train to open up the new Borders-to-Edinburgh railway line. Elizabeth made the appearance the same day that she officially became Britain’s longest-ruling monarch.
Another Trooping the Colour ceremony for Elizabeth and Philip, now with Duchess Kate and Princess Charlotte.
The couple posed for photographs around Buckingham Palace for their 70th wedding anniversary.
Waving adieu to newlyweds Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, after their wedding in St George’s Chapel on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip look at their homemade wedding anniversary card, given to them by their great grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, ahead of their 73rd wedding anniversary, on November 17, 2020.