Seventy Years | SENATUS



Seventy Years
By Alexandrina Kentska | 10 July 2017

Today marks seventy years since Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.

Elizabeth and Philip had first met at the wedding of Philip's cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent, paternal uncle of Elizabeth in 1934. But it wasn’t until the visit to Dartmouth in 1939 that they really became acquainted. King George VI had paid a visit to the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and he took his daughters along with him. Philip, a young cadet, was assigned with entertaining Elizabeth and Margaret. Elizabeth was 13 and Philip 18.

The two of them began writing letters to each other over the following years and tried to keep their relationship hidden in public.

Philip wrote to Elizabeth: "To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one’s personal and even the world’s troubles seem small and petty”.

The King agreed to the couple's engagement in 1946, but on one condition: Elizabeth must wait until she turns 21. Philip proposed to Elizabeth during a walk around the Balmoral gardens. He gave her a platinum ring with a large round diamond at the centre and smaller diamonds on either side.

Philip, who was born Prince of Greece and Denmark, elected to become a naturalized British subject and relinquished his right of succession to the Greek throne. He converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism and adopted the style 'Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten', taking the surname of his mother's family. The Mountbatten name is an Anglicisation of the German Battenberg name, which was changed due to anti-German sentiment at that time.

Just before his wedding, he was made Duke of Edinburgh, and he was made a Prince in 1957.

Philip & Elizabeth's wedding took place on November the 20th that same year.

This year is their platinum wedding anniversary! One of my favourite quotes the Queen has said about Philip: "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years."

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