Why Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Were 'One of the Most Remarkable Couples the World Has Ever Seen'

The Queen's children and grandchildren shared their candid insights, fond memories and immense admiration in Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were dubbed the "most adorable couple" by Prince Harry in previews for the BBC One documentary Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers, and when the full program aired on September 22, royal watchers got even more insights on the support and sacrifice the Queen and her consort offered each other over the course of their 73-year marriage.

The documentary delved into the Duke of Edinburgh's tumultuous upbringing and his early success in the Royal Navy before he met then-Princess Elizabeth in 1934 when she was a child. Five years later, they met for a third time when Elizabeth was 13 years old, and she has since said that she knew then she was in love with 18-year-old Philip — though it would be another eight years before the couple pursued a relationship and officially announced their engagement on July 9, 1947.

The couple wed four months later on November 20.

Wedding of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
Prince Philip and the Queen on their wedding day. Hulton Archive/Getty

"Looking at the wedding photo, I mean, it's amazing to see their partnership and just what a good-looking couple," marveled Princess Eugenie, who revealed in the special that Philip, who died on April 9 at the age of 99, made her own wedding in 2018 extra special when he gave a picture of a bunch of flowers he'd painted himself.

Zara Tindall said archival footage of her grandparents "just makes the hair stand on end, doesn't it? When all the old footage comes up, it's so nice to see how they were with each other before family and before everyone else came along."

With Elizabeth's father still reigning as King George VI, they enjoyed a little more than four years of marriage before the unexpected passing of Elizabeth's father, which elevated her to Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after her Coronation ceremony
Fox Photos/Getty

"I think the real daunting part came when the King died and he then had to give everything up," noted grandson Peter Phillips.

Just 25 years old, Elizabeth was already mother to 3-year-old Prince Charles and 1-year-old Princess Anne. (Prince Andrew and Prince Edward would arrive years later, completing their family of six by mid-1964.) Philip left behind his naval career to navigate the relatively uncharted waters of his new role as consort of the British monarch.

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth
Fox Photos/Getty

Prince William added, "One of the things I do really admire him for is the fact that he gave up a very, very successful military career to be the Queen's consort and support her and go into service and duty in a different way. It was very much a man's world back then. So for a man to give up his career to support a woman, albeit the Queen, was still quite a big step."

According to Anne's husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, who is also a retired Royal Navy officer, Philip "wondered what the template was for the husband of a Queen. And of course there wasn't one. He had to plow his own furrow and make his own way."

From Zara's perspective, "I think the amazing thing that he's been able to do is be an incredible support to my grandmother, but to stay true to himself all the way through. And that's what our grandmother needed. You know, that's why they worked so well together. And why they fell in love with each other, I think."

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, a future consort herself, noted, "I saw the way he supported the Queen, and not in a flashy sort of way but just by doing it quietly and then following along behind. It's something that I've learnt by watching him."

Camilla's husband and future King Charles agreed that the Queen "did find him a great support, and I think she valued his judgment on some things."

**strictly under embargo until 2200hrs GMT on Thursday 19th November 2020**
Queen Elizabeth wearing her honeymoon brooch on her wedding anniversary in Nov. 2020. Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Shutterstock

Taking stock, Anne admitted, "It'd be quite difficult to define: What do you think is his greatest achievement? Some of us would say that was supporting Her Majesty, because whatever else he could or couldn't do, I think he understood that better than anybody."

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Eugenie added, "Looking at this and now realizing how much they've created ... they're one of the most remarkable couples I think the world has ever seen and will ever see. And Granny has been able to be the person she is with the support and love from Grandpa."

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