Prince Philip is retiring from his role as public consort to Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace announced today.
Philip, 95, will attend previously scheduled engagements until August, but won't accept invitations thereafter, a decision fully supported by his right-hand gal, the queen, a palace spokesperson said. On the other hand, Elizbeth, at the ripe age of 91, will continue fulfilling her role as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and her other realms and territories, as well as Head of Commonwealth and the Defender of the Faith.
In honor of Prince Philip's retirement announcement, we’re taking a trip down memory lane and looking back at the forces that brought the couple of 70 years together in the first place.
Once upon a time, the regal prince was just a dapper young naval officer (and a member of the Greek and Danish royal families) named Philip Mountbatten. The couple first met at the 1934 wedding of Prince Philip's cousin and Queen Elizabeth II's uncle, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark and Prince George, Duke of Kent, respectively. HRH was just a wee eight-year-old girl and certainly wasn’t thinking about marriage, but when the pair reunited five years later, it was a completely different story. In a 2012 interview with Vanity Fair, Marion “Crawfie” Crawford, Princess Elizabeth’s governess, recalled that Elizabeth “never took her eyes off him,” over afternoon tea. They began to write letters, fell in love and the rest is history.
Philip proposed to Elizabeth in the summer of 1946 (without consulting her parents, tisk tisk), and the two kept the engagement a secret until the following summer. The pair married on November 20, 1947, and have spent the last 70 years together.
Though Philip was a royal by birth, Elizabeth II's mother would have preferred that she marry an English Duke. Philip did not own land and was not wealthy by any means. Regardless, he was intelligent, Adonis-like with his strapping good looks and, best of all, truly loved Elizabeth. Right before the couple's wedding, the King gave Prince Philip the titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich and announced that he should be addressed as "His Royal Highness." We’ve seen issues of family acceptance with far less favorable results than this. Just sayin’, Philip, err HRH.
Long Live the Queen and cheers to Prince Philip's much-deserved retirement!