Queen sparked ‘great anxiety’ in Royal Family after unexpected Prince Philip decision
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The Queen saw her resolve come under intense scrutiny from the Royal Family after demanding her father, King George VI, give permission for her to wed Prince Philip. The pair had met when the then-princess was 12 and the Greek prince was 17 and undergoing naval training at the Dartmouth Naval College. According to historian Robert Lacey, Elizabeth’s relationship with Philip had sparked “great anxiety” in both her parents and royal courtiers who wanted to make sure the couple could sustain the pressure of their royal duties.
Mr Lacey told National Geographic’s documentary ‘Being the Queen’: “It caused her parents great anxiety.
“What parent wouldn’t be anxious about a daughter who wants marry the very first man she’s fallen in love with?
“It was a matter of her personal happiness, it was a matter of the stability of the Crown.”
The historian suggested the young royal had wanted to marry Philip as soon as possible but had to wait until her 21st birthday to ensure the prince could “shoulder the burden” he would have to carry as consort to the Queen.
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He continued: “Her parents, in fact, while accepting Philip and having Philip, who was effectively a member of the family, to stay wouldn’t let her get engaged until she was over 21, several years after she wanted.
“Because she wasn’t just taking on the man she thought she loves, she was taking on the man who had to shoulder almost half the burden of the monarchy.”
Prince Philip originally asked the king for permission to marry Elizabeth in 1946 but was told he would have to wait a year for the princess to pass the age of majority the following year.
The couple confirmed their engagement in early 1947 and tied the knot at Westminster Cathedral in November the same year.
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Philip, who was by birth a Prince of Denmark and Greece, renounced his foreign title and received the title of Duke of Edinburgh he still holds today.
The couple welcomed their first son, Prince Charles, nearly a year to the day after their marriage and then their only daughter Princess Anne in 1950.
The early years of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh’s marriage were spent between the UK and Malta, where Philip had been deployed as a lieutenant commander of HMS Magpie.
Following the death of King George VI in February 1952, Prince Philip renounced his military career and began his royal career at the side of the new Queen.
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After representing Her Majesty for 65 years, the Duke of Edinburgh retired from public duties in 2017 and has since lived a mostly private life in Sandringham.
In March 2020, the prince moved from the Norfolk residence to Windsor Castle to shield alongside the Queen during the coronavirus pandemic.
During the lockdown he put a temporary end to his retirement to attend a ceremony in his honour as he passed on his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to his daughter-in-law Camilla, the Duchess of Cambridge.
In August the 99-year-old travelled to Balmoral with the Queen for their annual summer holiday at the Scottish residence, where they were reunited with some members of the Royal Family they had not been able to meet with since the start of the lockdown.
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