20 rare and wonderful pictures of The Queen and Prince Philip

With Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh both now having passed away, we take a look back at some wonderful images of their time together — a time which began several years before Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II.

We’ve collected these wonderful photographs – including something from every decade – of the royal couple, from their engagement right through to their final years together.

The young princess finds her future husband – September 1946

This is the first public photograph of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip together as a couple, taken at the wedding of one of the Princess’s ladies-in-waiting, and sparking a huge wave of speculation that the pair were engaged. Those rumours were so strong that a day later the Palace even issued a denial:

The coverage of the ‘engagement’ of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in September 1946.

The story turned out not to be too far off the mark, however: the following July, the engagement was confirmed — and the prince and princess were pictured dancing together for the first time, at a ball at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh on July 15, 1947.

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) dances with her fiance, Philip Mountbatten, in public for the first time at a ball at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 15th July 1947. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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The papers were delighted — and The Star’s front page even made it clear that their story the previous autumn had been spot on after all.

The Star’s report on the real engagement announcement. Picture: John Frost Newspapers / Alamy Stock Photo

The happy couple held an official photocall at Buckingham Palace on July 10, with the royal wedding set just four months later.

The engagement of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten is announced and the happy couple are pictured together at Buckingham Palace.

The wedding day – November 1947

November 20, 1947: Newlyweds Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The royal couple received over 2,500 wedding gifts from around the world, yet rationing required that the Princess save up her ration coupons to buy the material for her wedding dress. (Credit Image: © Keystone Press Agency/ZUMA Press Wire via Alamy)

The official portrait of the happy couple above… and below a picture of The Queen in her wedding dress:

Princess Elizabeth in her wedding dress in 1947. Photo: Classic Image / Alamy

The honeymoon – November 1947

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on their honeymoon. Photo: Keystone/Alamy

The royal couple were pictured here at Broadlands, Hampshire, on 23 November.

A royal outing as Queen and Consort — April 1952

The Queen attends the Olympic Horse Trials held at Badminton in April 1952. Photo: World History Archive / Alamy

The selection event for the British equestrian team for the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki was held at Badminton in April 1952, and The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh attended. It was just a couple of months after Princess Elizabeth had become Queen Elizabeth.

All smiles on Coronation Day – June 1953

June 2, 1953, Westminster Abbey, London: The coronation day of Queen Elizabeth II, with the Duke of Edinburgh at her side. Photo: ARCHIVIO GBB / Alam

A candid picture of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh as they smile and wave at crowds during her coronation in 1953.  

Later in the day they posed for the official portrait above, which was featured as the frontispiece in Country Life.

A first state visit as Queen and Consort – November 1953

Less than six months after her coronation The Queen embarked upon a six-month tour of Commonwealth nations — starting in Bermuda, then heading on to countries including Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria and Canada.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh leave the House of Assembly in Hamilton, Bermuda, during a six-month tour of the Commonwealth nations, November 1953. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The couple would quickly become used to such globe trotting: below they are seen less than a decade later in New Zealand, with the difference in the Queen’s comfort and confidence in her role clear to see.

18th February 1963: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on the steps of Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand before opening the island’s Parliament. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Fancy meeting you here! – July 1966

Queen Elizabeth II of England presents the Cowdray Park Gold Cup to her husband Prince Philip on 17 July, 1966. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Queen was on hand to present the Gold Cup to the winning captain of Britain’s top polo award at Cowdray Park in 1966. It just so happened that she was rather familiar with the winner.

Family Christmas — December 1968

Though this picture was taken in December 1968, it didn’t see the light of day for six months.

June 1969: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip look at their decorated Christmas tree during filming. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The reason? It was taken as a still for the groundbreaking documentary The Royal Family, a joint ITV-BBC television programme about life in the British royal family. A generation earlier such a thing would have felt unthinkable.

The Silver Anniversary – November 1972

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, walking on their Balmoral Estate in Scotland, on their Silver Wedding anniversary year. Picture take on 27th September 1972. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A Silver Jubilee break in the magnificent Balmoral Estate.

Tropical dress code – October 1982

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visit the Solomon Islands during a tour of the South Pacific in October, 1982. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Striking a pose in the tropics? The Queen and Prince Philip in the 30-degree heat of early summer in the Solomon Islands.

The Great Wall of China — October 1986

Over 30 years on from becoming monarch, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited China for the first time. If you’re wondering why the ancient wall looks in such superb condition, it’s because the host nation had this section repaved specially for the visit.

The Queen And Prince Philip Visiting The Great Wall Of China At Badaling Near Peking (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The Golden Anniversary – November 1997

Guests of the Lord Mayor toast the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh during a lunch the Guildhall today (Wednesday) to mark their Golden Wedding Anniversary. (Photo by Tim Graham / Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Down the hatch: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh drink a toast in 1997 on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary.

The infectious chuckle – April 2003

Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip laughing in 2003. Photo: Chris Young / PA via Alamy

Who’s under that hat? 56 years into their marriage The Duke of Edinburgh surprises his wife by donning his old Grenadier Guards uniform — at least, that is the story you’ll find across most of the internet of one of the most delightful images of the couple.

In truth, the pair were chuckling at something else: a swarm of bees causing chaos the soldiers to lose their famous composure during a parade; the other pictures taken by Chris Young show a little more clearly that they’re looking across at the commotion. A beekeeper was called to remove the swarm, incidentally, which had gathered on one of the dignitaries chairs prior to the ceremony.

Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip enjoy the spectacle, as a swarm of bees cause concern prior to The Queens Company Review at Windsor Castle. Photo: Chris Young / PA via Alamy

Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip point across to the incident at The Queens Company Review at Windsor Castle. Photo: Chris Young / PA via Alamy

67 years and still smiling – April 2014

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle in April 2014 (Rex/Shutterstock)


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle in April 2014.

70 years on – September 2017


With Prince Philip having retired from public life in the summer, the royal couple are seen together less often than they once were – but they still turned up together for the opening of the new Queensferry Crossing.

An earlier version of this article was published in 2017.

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