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13 Things You Didn’t Know About Queen Elizabeth II’s Marriage

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh are one of the planet's most enduring "old married couples."

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Queen Victoria portraitPhoto: Historia/Shutterstock

They’re third cousins via Queen Victoria

Both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh are great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria:

  • Queen Victoria’s eldest son was King Edward VI, whose eldest son was King George V, whose second son was Elizabeth’s father, King George VI.
  • Queen Victoria’s second daughter and third child was Princess Alice, whose daughter, Princess Victoria of Hesse, was the mother of Princess Alice of Battenberg, Philip’s mother.

Don’t miss these fascinating facts about Queen Victoria!

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King ChristianPhoto: Shutterstock

They’re second cousins once removed, via King Christian IX

Queen Elizabeth II is the great-great-granddaughter of King Christian IX of Denmark, while Prince Philip is the great-grandson of the same king.

  • The Queen: As noted, Queen Elizabeth II is the great-granddaughter of King Edward VII, whose wife was Alexandra—a daughter of King Christian IX.
  • Prince Philip: As noted, Prince Philip was the son of Alice of Battenberg, whose husband (Philip’s father) was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark—a son of King George I of Greece, a son of King Christian IX.

Find out how much each member of the royal family is actually worth.

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PRINCESS AS BRIDESMAID 1934, LONDON, BritainPhoto: AP/Shutterstock

They met at a family wedding

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip first met when they attended the 1934 wedding of Princess Marina of Greece to Prince George, Duke of Kent. She was only eight years old at the time and he was 13.

  • Princess Marina and Prince Philip were first cousins: Philip’s father, Andrew, was the brother of Marina’s father, Nicholas, and both Marina and Philip shared King George I as their grandfather and King Christian IX as their great-grandfather.
  • Prince George, Duke of Kent was Elizabeth’s father’s younger brother (he was actually born George, whereas Elizabeth’s father took the name George as his regnal name).

For more history, check out these facts about past royal weddings.

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Young Queen Elizabeth and Prince PhilipPhoto: Associated Newspapers/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

Their engagement was kept hidden for a time

In 1946, Philip asked for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage, but as a condition to giving his blessing, King George VI asked for the announcement to be delayed until 1947. That’s because Elizabeth was only 20 at the time, and the King feared she was too young. Another reason: The King and his wife perceived the public needed time to accept Philip as a member of the royal household, because of his difficult childhood, the instability of the reign of his ancestors, and his multi-national lineage. Their engagement was ultimately announced in June 1947.

Prince Philip’s pet name for Queen Elizabeth II will melt your heart.

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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their wedding dayPhoto: Historia/Shutterstock

Theirs is a marriage based on love

Royals have traditionally married their royal relatives for two reasons. First, they’re not commoners. Second, weddings between royals tend to forge and strengthen political alliances between ruling families. But like her parents before her, Elizabeth and Philip married solely for love (King George VI had to ask several times for his wife’s hand before she finally agreed to marry him and his royal lifestyle). “I ask nothing more than that Philip and I should be as happy as my father and mother have been,” Elizabeth stated at her wedding breakfast. “Our daughter is marrying the man she loves,” noted the King.

Can you identify the royals by their childhood pictures?

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Historical Collection 172 Queen Elizabeth Ii and Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh Pictured Together in the Grand Entrance in Buckingham Palace in 1954 the Queen is Wearing A Yellow Tulle Evening Gown Decorated with Sprays of Mimosa and Gold Pailette Embroidery and is Wearing the Blue Ribbon and Star of the Garter Her Necklace Was A Wedding Present From the Nizam of Hyderabad; the Tiara Also A Wedding Present From Queen Mary the Bow Brooch and Drop Earrings Are Set with Diamonds the Duke is Wearing the Uniform of the Admiral of the Fleet 1954Photo: Historia/Shutterstock

The couple got through their disagreement over whether she’d take his name

To marry Princess Elizabeth in 1947, Philip had to give up the citizenship and royal titles of his birth. But in return, along with the marriage to the woman he loved, he was made Duke of Edinburgh and given several other titles and stylings by King George VI on the eve of the wedding. But things hit a bit of a snag when Elizabeth ascended the throne and had to choose a ruling family name. She went with the existing name, Windsor, although Philip wanted her to use his surname, Mountbatten.

Here’s why Queen Elizabeth II will never give up the throne.

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Young Queen Elizabeth and Prince PhilipPhoto: Anonymous/AP/Shutterstock

It didn’t take that long before the Queen made Philip a prince

In 1957, four years after her coronation, the Queen rewarded her husband for his support, loyalty and the sacrifices he had made to be by her side when she issued Letters Patent granting Philip “the style and titular dignity of a Prince of the United Kingdom” and decreed it her “will and pleasure” that henceforth be known as His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Any speculation as to whether the Queen did so to quell marital tension is precisely that: speculation.

These myths about the royal family are absolutely false.

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Young Prince Philip with young Queen ElizabethPhoto: Historia/Shutterstock

The early years of their marriage were relatively ordinary

When they were first married, before Elizabeth took on the official duties of Queen, she and Philip lived a rather ordinary life of naval officer and wife on the island of Malta, where Philip was stationed as an officer in the Royal Navy. Elizabeth immersed herself in a life of shopping, sightseeing, gossiping, and dancing the samba, according to her closest female companion of the time, Lady Pamela Hicks, reports the Daily Mail. She even “handled cash for the first time.”

Discover the etiquette rules everyone in the royal family must follow.

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Queen Elizabeth with baby Prince CharlesPhoto: Historia/Shutterstock

Their childbearing broke long-held streaks

Prince Charles (born 1948) was the first male to be born to the eldest child of a monarch during his or her reign since 1762, when King George III’s firstborn child, George IV, was born. Prince Andrew (born 1960) was the first child born during a monarch’s reign since 1757 when Queen Victoria gave birth to her ninth child.

Learn about the surprisingly sad childhood of Prince Charles.

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Prince Philip with Queen ElizabethPhoto: Tim Graham/Shutterstock

Their endurance is legendary

In 2007, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh became the first couple in the royal family to celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary (60 years), according to the royal family’s official website. In 2017, they went even further, becoming the first couple in the royal family to celebrate their Platinum anniversary (70 years). Prince Philip has said the secret to their marital happiness is his ability to make his wife laugh.

Here are 12 “facts” about Queen Elizabeth that are not true.

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Prince PhilipPhoto: Shutterstock

A record-breaking consort

In 2009, Prince Philip became the longest-serving British consort (companion to a monarch). Before that, the record was held by Queen Charlotte, the consort of King George III.

Discover the frugal habits of the royal family.

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit to Pangbourne College, Berkshire, UK - 09 May 2017Photo: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

They’re against PDA

Royal biographer Gyles Brandreth, who has enjoyed “privileged access” to the Queen and Prince for research purposes, has stated that the couple believes in the “stoic values” of their generation, and therefore are rarely seen holding hands or otherwise “publicly displaying affection”—despite their closeness.

While we hope he still has many birthdays ahead, the question arises: What will happen on the sad occasion of Prince Philip’s passing?

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Buckingham Palace Garden Party, London, UK - 23 May 2017Photo: Shutterstock

They’ve always had separate bedrooms

Separate bedrooms is, at least in England, simply a common way of setting up a household where space allows such luxury. “You don’t want to be bothered with snoring or someone flinging a leg around,” explained Lady Hicks to the Express UK. “It is lovely to be able to choose.”

Here’s the real reason that the Queen wears bright colours.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest