On November 20, the Royal Family prepares to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary – a feat worthy of the record books. The ninety-one-year-old Queen has been the longest reigning monarch in British history, with her husband – also in his nineties – the oldest-ever male member of the royalty.
At Prince Andrew’s wedding in 1986, the Queen blushed when she received a rare compliment from her husband of 40 years
Spin the time-machine with this video of the famous wedding:
However, old age has its challenges. At 96, Philip finally withdrew from royal duties, prompting a humorous exchange with mathematician Michael Atiyah, 88, over lunch.
‘I’m sorry to hear you’re standing down,’ Michael said.
‘Well, I can’t stand up much longer,’ the Prince retorted with his trademark dry humour.
It’s one of those things that makes us smirk. But even though the Royal Family has been with us for… Well, the entirety of our lives, do we really know them, the real them – or is it all just a public persona that the monarchy requires? Today, we’re taking a candid, private glimpse into the lives of Queen and Prince, courtesy of The Daily Mail. It will be a cozy ride, so make yourselves comfortable as we reveal some of the most endearing dynamics of their relationship.
When in public, for example, the Queen often looks stern and unsmiling. Her royal duties, which she’s always undertaken with the greatest gravity and dedication, prevent her from seeing the other, lighter side of life. At least, that is the impression. In private, however, Elizabeth can be quite different.
Like when she’s spending time at one of her estates with her corgis. On the dog menu? Fillet steak and chicken breasts – yum!
The Queen’s loyalty isn’t just limited to country, but extends to corgis, too:
You couldn’t guess, but Queen Elizabeth has a well-developed sense of humour too – even in her old age.
For example, during her Diamond Jubilee, Philip was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure for a bladder infection. As you can guess, this was rather serious at his old age, but it didn’t stop the Queen from making a light-hearted quip: ‘Don’t die on me. Not now, anyway!’
But the Queen isn’t alone in her humorous ways – it is always parried by Philip’s own wry and ribald sense of humour. Right from the start, the Duke’s always been able to make his wife laugh – some say a crucial component in any successful marriage. Back in the fifties, the young Queen would get anxious and freeze before TV cameras, but he always diffused the tension with an amusing aside and brought a smile to her face.
Need proof of the royal duo’s comedic shenanigans? Just look at this:
The Queen smiles after walking past Prince Philip disguised in full uniform at Buckingham Palace.
And that’s not all:
Philip knows well that being Queen is a crushing burden to bear. Elizabeth needed courage and levity when she’s was meeting hundreds of people every day, world leaders, celebrities and so on, who were always waiting for her. The right quip at the right time could ease that burden of lead and make it light as a feather.
Sitting 64 years on the throne, the Queen of England has dealt with thirteen prime ministers.
Starting with Sir Winston Churchill, and still going with Theresa May. With some, she got on rather well, but with others rather poorly — Tony Blair being a firm example of the latter. But as always, Philip was there to butter things up.
But all is not fun and games in the Queen’s life, and Philip’s cheerfulness can only go so far. When trouble threatens to overwhelm Elizabeth, she is known to switch off and go for a walk with her dogs. This habit is so persistent that it once took Prince Andrew several weeks to find his way past the dogs to inform his mother that his marriage was in trouble.
Philip, on the other hand, likes to grab problems by the scruff of their neck — which often displays itself in the form of impatient barks. The behavior gained him the moniker of “father” – which the staff whisper behind his back.
A lifelong love of birds.
When she was young, Elizabeth used to feed King George V’s (her grandfather) parrot with sugar lumps. This fancy has evolved into a real love of pigeons, and today she has 200 of them.
Unlike Philip, Elizabeth makes her displeasure shown by icy silence. In her own words: ‘I’ve been trained since childhood never to show emotion in public.’
Their wedding day was all the way back in 1947:
During their honeymoon, the newlywed Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip couldn’t take their eyes off of each other:
Seventy years later, the spark of romance is still alive and well with the ninety-year-olds.
And it all started with an engagement:
They live in a surprisingly small world from which there can be no escape. They only have each other for support and comfort, now more than ever in their old age since so many of their friends have passed away.
But it’s more than romance – it is also admiration. The Queen’s eyes light up when her husband enters the room, and back in 1986 during the wedding of Prince Andrew, she blushed like a schoolgirl when he gave her a rare compliment.
Yet, they are so different. Philip is energetic and temperamental and has been known to be obsessed with his masculine image. Bright and opinionated, he would’ve suffered in a marriage with someone else, but Elizabeth understood his enthusiasm and had no trouble letting him feel like the master of his home. He’s also quirky, in a way, with some of his hobbies including UFOs and admiration of art.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, spends her leisure time with tending to her pigeons, her corgis, as well as learning more about breeding horses. In fact, she’s so good at it, that one time one of her thoroughbreds even won the Ascot Gold Cup. It was a very rare occasion when the usually reserved Queen was seen overwhelmed with emotion. Philip, however, has little interest in sports – but he brags that he’s the most experienced professional revealer of plaques in the world.
Ah, his dry humour strikes again.
Philip handles the BBQ, the Queen does the washing
Excluded from the Queen’s official audiences with global dignitaries, rulers, and prime ministers, Prince Philip became a god of domestic life. It was he who designed all the menus and picked the meals of the day, with even the staff taking counsel from him on all matters domestic.
Little by little, as Elizabeth’s love of birds, he developed a love for cooking. One of his recent favorite pastimes? Watching all those passionate cooking TV shows – no doubt, taking advice from Jamie Oliver himself. Now, who wouldn’t want a husband like that?
Ascending the ladders to cooking divinity, Philip began issuing precise instructions about exactly how a dish should be made. Served mostly on those rare occasions when he and the Queen would dine together alone, he called these meals ‘experiment lunches’ – trying to amuse, surprise, and please his beloved wife all at once.
He would even catch his own fish.
Prince Philip, undoubtedly gathering ingredients for an ‘experimental lunch’ at Lake Balmoral, 1990.
When the Queen has a horse in the race:
Philip and Elizabeth attending the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Sigh. It’s all we can do when looking at these two lovebirds. In a golden cage, no less. All we can say is congratulations, and may we see you on your next anniversary!
PS – For those who want to find out more about Queen and Prince, we wholeheartedly recommend My Husband and I: The Inside Story Of 70 Years Of Royal Marriage, by Ingrid Seward, published by Simon & Schuster.