This past November, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary. The couple married in 1947, when Elizabeth was 21 and Philip was 26. They met when Elizabeth was just 13, and when they reconnected as young adults, they fell quickly in love.
Their marriage has, of course, been in the public eye since its first moments, and that often comes with scrutiny. Elizabeth and Philip have had their lives documented at every turn, and that’s just a small example of the pressures they must face – not just as royalty, but also just as a married couple.
Over the years, they’ve certainly had their ups and downs, and as any public figures would, they’ve also received plenty of criticism. They’re known to argue loudly, even decades into their marriage, and have had some publicized problems with their 4 children. Because of their positions, they also have to spend time apart to keep up with their responsibilities.
How, after 69 years of the highest profile marriage in Britain, is the couple still happily married?
It would seem that their secret is quality time spent together, and keeping their public and private lives as separate as possible. All through Queen Elizabeth’s reign, they’ve traveled together, enjoyed a busy social life, and sleep in the same bed (despite the English tradition of upper class couples having separate bedrooms). After nearly 70 years of marriage, they are said to still take afternoon tea together every day.
Through numerous interviews and observations, it’s clear that the couple shares a great sense of humor as well, and makes a point to laugh with each other as often as possible. Philip has also said that having separate interests, and being able to pursue them, helps strengthen their relationship.
From the Queen’s perspective, Philip is a tremendous source of strength, and she says that he does much more for their family – and their country – than many people realize.
Their marriage is built on mutual respect and a longstanding love that began when they were nearly teenagers! They recognize that they each have a public role to play, and make a point to be supportive of one another’s responsibilities, but at the end of the day, they are also a playful couple that enjoys small pleasures and commits to spending time together every day.
This is a great lesson on what it takes to keep a marriage intact: respect, support, humor, and quality time spent together. These things keep couples together for decade after decade – royalty or not!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com