Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary in November. That’s an impressive milestone for any marriage, but especially one that comes with all the pressure of being top members of the British royal family! Now, a new documentary is giving us a rare glimpse at the earliest days of their young romance, starting almost a decade before they said “I do.”
Apparently, it was love at first sight — or rather, “puppy love” at first sight considering Elizabeth was only 13 at the time. The future queen was accompanying her parents, King George VI and and Elizabeth I, the Queen Mother, on a visit to the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in 1939. Prince Philip, who was 18, just happened to be one of the senior cadets training at the facility.
According to Philip’s cousin, Lady Pamela Hicks, he was quite the hunk (or “Greek god,” as she puts it), which obviously caught Elizabeth’s eye. “I think the princess fell headlong in love with him at that moment,” Hicks claims in the new doc, Being the Queen.
That said, the relationship understandably grew gradually due to Elizabeth’s age and her role as heir to the throne. And like most parents, King George and the Queen Mother wanted to make sure their daughter wasn’t just giving her heart away to the first guy she developed a crush on — and that he would be a good fit for the monarchy. According to the BBC, the couple spent years courting and exchanging letters before George agreed to their engagement on the condition that they wait until she was 21 to tie the knot.
Take a look at the clip below for more fascinating tidbits from Elizabeth and Philip’s early days, including rare images of their meeting in 1939:
We aren’t surprised to learn that many were skeptical about the couple at first, but there’s no denying they’ve proved those doubts wrong more than 80 years after that meeting in Dartmouth!
We’ll certainly be toasting their upcoming anniversary and sending wishes for even more years of love.