Just like her great-grandmother Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth married for love. In fact, when she met the Greek Prince Philip, it was love at first sight. Elizabeth unlocked the key to Philip’s heart.
Queen Elizabeth was merely 13 years of age when she met her third cousin, Philip, who was 18 at the time. According to Vanity Fair, her nanny, Marion Crawford, claimed that the then-princess “never took her eyes off of him” during that first meeting.
Her Norfolk neighbor, Lady Anne Glenconner, recalls that there were “a whole battalion of lively young men,” but even at that tender age, Elizabeth knew her heart and “realized her destiny and luckily set her heart on Prince Philip at an early age. He was ideal—good-looking and a foreign prince.”
It didn’t appear immediately evident that the Greek-born Prince Philip had the same urgent feeling of destiny. Crawfie, “as Elizabeth’s nanny was better known, observed that he “didn’t pay her any special attention.”
Nonetheless, soon the couple was corresponding. He was in the Navy, and “Lilibet” was proud of his service to their country. The couple was secretly engaged in 1946, yet her family was not impressed with their attachment.
Although both were grandchildren of Queen Victoria, Philip had pedigree on both sides of his family. Yet, his family was annexed from Greece. He lived in Paris with well-off relatives who took them in. Phillip went to England to boarding school, and soon after, his mother had a mental breakdown. He was considered a loner, and because of his difficult childhood, he understandably had a hard outer shell.
This was in sharp contrast to Elizabeth’s warm and loving family. Her youth was full of light and laughter, in comparison to Philip, who spent his life dealing with challenges and tragedy.
Today marks the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s remarkable and unlikely engagement to Prince Philip. https://t.co/vaqQuuFsMp
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) July 10, 2017
Thus, Philip was considered unsuitable by her family and advisors. No one thought that the penniless Philip was a good fit for the future leader of England. As this was right after WWII, the fact he was more German than Greek and had relations with ties to the Nazi party didn’t help his case either.
In 1947, her family took Elizabeth and her little sister, Margaret, on a four-month trip to South Africa. According to Nanny Crawfie, Elizabeth kept his photo on her dressing table and wrote to him throughout her trip.
70 years ago today, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip announced their engagement. pic.twitter.com/RLvbzzY5zp
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 10, 2017
Finally, her parents relented and their engagement was formally announced on July 10, 1947.
Could there ever have been anyone else? Her cousin Margaret Rhodes insists Elizabeth has only had eyes for her one love.
“She never looked at anyone else.”
— ET Canada (@ETCanada) July 10, 2017
Their cousin Patricia Mountbatten witnessed the magic that love brought to the couple.
“Philip had a capacity for love which was waiting to be unlocked, and Elizabeth unlocked it.”
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth will celebrate 70 years of marriage in November.
What is your favorite part of the love story between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip?
[Featured Image by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]