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 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.
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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 happy couple held an official photocall at Buckingham Palace on July 10, with the royal wedding set just four months later.
The wedding day – November 1947
The official portrait of the happy couple above… and below a picture of The Queen in her wedding dress:
The honeymoon – November 1947
The royal couple were pictured here at Broadlands, Hampshire, on 23 November.
A royal outing as Queen and Consort — April 1952
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
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.
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.
Fancy meeting you here! – July 1966
Family Christmas — December 1968
Though this picture was taken in December 1968, it didn’t see the light of day for six months.
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
A Silver Jubilee break in the magnificent Balmoral Estate.
Tropical dress code – October 1982
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 Golden Anniversary – November 1997
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
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.
67 years and still smiling – April 2014
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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