For young Princess Elizabeth, it was love at first sight.
“The first time I remember meeting Philip was at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in July 1934, just before the war. I was 13 years of age and he was 18 and a cadet,” she would later recall in a letter.
By the time he was invited to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle, Elizabeth was 17—and it was clear he shared her feelings. Their engagement was kept secret until the future monarch turned 21. And when they married in 1947, it was the first royal wedding to be broadcast on radio, heard and cheered by millions more around the globe.
Now, as they celebrate their 70th anniversary, PEOPLE is looking back at the couple’s remarkable love story in a special edition: Elizabeth and Philip: A Royal Romance. Fans of The Crown, which returns to Netflix on Dec. 8, have been drawn into the saga. But the truth behind the drama is even richer. This photo-filled issue begins before their courtship—he was a prince and a sailor from a broken family, while she was girl who, had fate not put her in line for the throne, said she would have liked to be “a lady living in the country with lots of horses and dogs.”
And watch Elizabeth and Philip: A Royal Romance now on the new PeopleTV network. Go to PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device.
The 96-page issue includes intimate family pictures from every decade of their life together, up to today with their joy at being great-grandparents to six kids, including future king, Prince George.
Also inside: A revealing family tree and a look at how historically accurate The Crown is. Plus, a sneak-peek of Season 2: Is there any truth to the rumors of infidelity? And what accounts for their enduring union? One theory: “Because she is the Queen, no one in the world treats Elizabeth II entirely normally, except for Prince Philip,” noted biographer Gyles Brandreth. “Conversely, the Queen is the only person in the world who can say to the Duke of Edinburgh, ‘Oh, Philip, do shut up.’ And she does.”