‘He was the only man to treat the Queen simply as another human being’
welcomed a baby girl, Princess Anne. During this time, Prince Philip served as an officer in the Royal Navy and was stationed in Malta. He and Elizabeth lived intermittently at Villa Guardamangia – the rented Maltese home of Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten – and the children would stay at home in the care of their nannies and grandparents.
But this honeymoon period would come to an abrupt end in 1951. With the King’s health rapidly declining, the couple returned to the UK and Philip was given indefinite leave from the navy – although he would never return to his position.
Knowing the time would soon come for Elizabeth to ascend to the throne, she had taken on many of her father’s duties. It was while she was visiting Kenya as part of the
Commonwealth tour that King George VI passed away. Having spent the day watching and photographing elephants, Elizabeth went to bed unaware of how greatly her life had changed. It was Philip who broke the news to his wife on 6th February 1952. She is said to have taken the news stoically, showing almost no distress. Elizabeth quickly returned home, with her husband at her side.
Queen Elizabeth was crowned on 2nd June 1953 and Philip supported her in all of her duties as reigning monarch.
Lord Charteris, private secretary to the Queen, once said, “Prince Philip is the only man in the world who treats the Queen simply as another human being. He’s the only man who can. Strange as it may seem, I believe she values that.”
In private, the Duke of Edinburgh is said to have referred to Her Majesty with nicknames, including “mon petit chou”, “cabbage”, “darling”, and “sausage”.
The couple went on to have two more children – Prince Andrew in 1960, and Prince Edward in 1964.
Over the years it was clear how much they doted and relied on each other.
They are the first royal couple to have celebrated a 70th wedding anniversary, and the Queen made sure to mark the occasion with a moving gift for Philip.
Sharing the news on Twitter, the Royal Household announced that “Her Majesty has appointed His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to be a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order”. That Christmas, in her annual speech, the Queen talked of her husband’s “support” and “unique sense of humour” saying, “Reflecting on these events makes me grateful for the blessings of home and family, and in particular for 70 years of marriage.”
In 2017, Prince Philip retired from his public role and enjoyed his retirement at Wood Farm in Windsor, while the Queen carried on her duties. The couple were believed to have spoken every day on the phone when apart.
And in the words of their granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, “Together, they are invincible.”
❛ IN PRIVATE HE REFERRED TO HER MAJESTY WITH NICKNAMES LIKE ‘DARLING’ ‘CABBAGE’ AND ‘SAUSAGE’ ❜