Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip’s historic 70-year marriage covers People Mag

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I’ve read a lot of books about the Windsors, so my reaction to some royal stories is often “isn’t this old news?” Like, it was well known that Prince Philip had a wandering eye, and that he fooled around on the Queen in his youth and probably through middle age as well. The Queen and Philip had difficult times in their marriage and he was far from perfect. Actually, many people believe he’s a total racist and really f–king sexist. But because we live in a golden age of “reimagining royalty,” all of that is being sort of massaged away in favor of a “nicer” version of Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage. QEII and Philip will celebrate their 70th anniversary in a few weeks, and so People Magazine made this more sanctified version of their marriage their cover story:

Guests at a small reception held near Windsor Castle earlier this year were treated to a first-hand look at a remarkable partnership: the 70-years-strong marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Effortlessly greeting the assembled group, straight-talking Philip, 96, was “as switched on as ever,” one attendee tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. And as his more reserved wife, 91, chatted to others, it was clear how much she relies on her other half.

“Part of the reason she keeps going so steadily is that she has him there beside her,” says the attendee. “They’re a great team, and that’s still the case.”

The couple’s 70th anniversary on Nov. 20 — which they plan to celebrate privately with family at Windsor Castle — is yet another major milestone for the Queen, who in 2015 surpassed Queen Victoria as the longest-reigning British monarch in history. By her side since their wedding on Nov. 20, 1947 has been Philip, whose confidence and unscripted humor have long balanced Elizabeth’s shy nature.

“He’s someone who can be frank and someone she can have a laugh with,” says royal biographer Robert Hardman, author of Our Queen at Ninety. Elizabeth was just 13 when she first fell for the charming Philip, then an 18-year-old dashing Royal Navy cadet with “piercing blue eyes,” as Elizabeth’s governess later described him.

As in any marriage, there have been tensions and conflicts through the years. Rumors of a wandering eye long dogged Philip, with the couple often spending time apart. “There was his polo and carriage driving for decades, when he would quite regularly be away for the weekend,” says historian Robert Lacey, a consultant for the Netflix hit The Crown. (The series focuses on these tensions in season two, which starts streaming Dec. 8.) Still, notes Lacey, “He was always staying in the home of mutual friends. The Queen’s friends are solid, moral people, and I don’t think there was any suggestion that friends were turning a blind eye to things that the Queen wouldn’t approve.”

And while Philip at times chafed at his second-fiddle public role of the Queen’s consort, at home he was always king of the castle.

“Within the marriage, [Philip] was in charge of virtually everything,” says Lacey.

[From People]

“He was always staying in the home of mutual friends. The Queen’s friends are solid, moral people, and I don’t think there was any suggestion that friends were turning a blind eye to things that the Queen wouldn’t approve.” O RLY? Or is that the posh British way of saying that the Queen didn’t care if Philip cheated, that he had her implicit blessing as long as he was discreet? The thing is, I always thought Elizabeth married the love of her life. She married for love. But did Philip? Or did Philip do his duty, and do what his surrogate father Lord Mountbatten told him to do? I don’t know. What kills me is that Elizabeth and Philip do have an inspiring story if only people would tell the truth of their marriage.

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Cover courtesy of People, additional photos courtesy of Getty.

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131 Responses to “Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip’s historic 70-year marriage covers People Mag”

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  1. manda says:

    Considering his age and his family, no doubt he’s a racist and a sexist. I thought he came across as a real spoiled jerk in the first season of the Crown. He had an incredibly hard time dealing with the fact his wife was queen. Still, for the time, he also did remarkably well in dealing with it. She loved/loves him, for sure. I’m with you–not sure that the love was actually reciprocated, at least at the same level

  2. runcmc says:

    I did NOT know Philip cheated on her in their youth! I’m not as much of a royal-follower (I love stories of the younger generation but didn’t grow up with the older ones)- so, wow, this is all brand new information. And his reported racism and sexism? What’s the deal with that?

  3. Clare says:

    I’m always a little confused by the exultation and breathless coverage of these people – especially in American media.

    Philip is a racist, homophobic, misogynist (as expressed by HIM, HIS words, HIS actions), POS. These aren’t rumors, these are actual documented facts. There are accounts and recordings of him doing and saying all sorts of obnoxious racist shit. He has a history of demeaning and othering people as he went about his ‘hard work’ of shaking hands and making small talk.

    He is not someone to look up to and celebrate. Sorry.

    • Sixer says:

      He’s a colonialist and imperialist, with all the concomitant attitudes. Perhaps those attitudes have dissipated over time, as Britain gradually divested the empire during his lifetime, but um… I doubt it.

      (And as to fidelity – I think he just went swinging with the swinging set but without her because she was doing queening.)

      • Clare says:

        Frankly, the swinging doesn’t bother me – what goes on in his bedroom is his business….its the demeaning and racist comments while being lauded as the hardest worker that ever did work…ick!

      • Sixer says:

        Me either. Aristos roll how aristos roll!

        But it’s pretty hard to make any kind of case for “Oh, he’s not THAT racist, really.” Um… yes. He is.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I think he’s a lot like some … um, older Germans who grew up during or even before the Third Reich. SO many still think “it wasn’t all bad” etc. But they’ve learned over the decades to use more coded language or just keep it to themselves. “Oh but you can’t say that out loud these days.” Recently the father of a colleague passed away and she told me he was really just an old Nazi who still kinda celebrated Hitler’s birthday. I wasn’t even surprised.

        I think if those are the times you grew up in and your family wasn’t socialist/social democrats or very progressive, and you didn’t make a 180 during adulthood, these things tend to stick to some degree.

      • Sixer says:

        Mr Sixer was stationed in north Germany for a long time when he was in the army. Loved it there (and in Denmark, where they spent a lot of free time) and loved the people. Then he went down into the rural south on a grape-picking holiday when he had a leave. Towards the end, they were sat with old guys drinking some dreadful spirit or other that you get from the wine pressings. And the old guys, once drunk and loose-lipped, started saying all sorts of um… stuff and even got out old Nazi memorabilia to show Mr Sixer and his friends. They crapped their pants! Stared at their feet, tried to look neutral, went to bed ASAP (can’t bring disrepute on the army by arguing with host country citizens but can’t really nod and smile at pro-Nazi speech either).

        Philip is the same. Colonialist through and through. I agree that these attitudes stick. Similar thing stateside with the antebellum people, ain’t it?

      • Lorelai says:

        @LittleMissNaughty, ITA. The man is 96; G’s age needs to be taken into account here. In no way am I excluding some of the BS he’s said, but times were very different back then and it was completely acceptable to say some of these things (some, not all!). I don’t think we should give him a complete pass, but context matters.

        ETA: @Sixer, yes! The comparison to certain people in the American south is a good one. There are absolutely people there who wish they could go back to the days before the Civil War and romanticize that era. It’s gross.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Oh no, poor Mr. Sixer. I can picture this 100%. There’s also a weird disconnect sometimes between those attitudes and everyday life. My German grandfather, for example, never really examined whether it was even wrong what they did. They were fighting for their country. Done. My mom used to have screaming matches with him about that. “What the hell did you even want in Africa???” – “Defend my country!” Even after everything had come out and there was no way to still justify any of it, those attitudes wouldn’t die. He hated Willy Brandt because the man emigrated to Norway during Nazi rule. Traitor! I mean … how do you even react to that? He didn’t like my dad either (the foreigner, oy).

        But he loved my sister and me like crazy. Like that didn’t count when it came to us. I wonder how much of what he believed would offend me deeply today. And how much he simply learned to keep to himself.

      • Sixer says:

        Littlemiss – it’s obviously not a funny story but Mr Sixer does tell it in a funny way. You can imagine the bind they were in as serving soldiers. And these old guys LOVED the British but HATED the Americans – but both were enemies in the war so explain that one! We love to think of ourselves as the defeaters of fascism here in Britain, but we also conveniently forget that about 25% of the population was all for Hitler right up until war was declared (including a large proportion of our great and good).

      • Erinn says:

        “My German grandfather, for example, never really examined whether it was even wrong what they did. They were fighting for their country. Done. ”

        Honestly, I think that’s how a lot of these men survived. My grandfather was RCAF – I’d assume in his early 20s when he signed up. He was always pretty dead-set on war being your duty, as his father was a WW1 vet as well. Those who didn’t serve better have had a good reason because he and his friends – many who were lost in battle were out with their asses on the line. I really doubt that thinking too deeply into whether what you’re doing was ‘right’ was the kind of mindset that would have gotten you far. You had to be so detached with certain things, and it’s a shame. All wars have people on both sides being told that this was the ‘right’ thing to do – this was their duty and they needed to protect THEIR people. They’re being told that the enemy is threatening their way of life, and being told to rationalize all of the terrible things because it’s all for the greater good.

        I know there was a time when he was overseas that he had been ordered to fire at a German boat, and he ended up faking jammed guns. He told us that it was a fishing boat – and growing up in a community that relied heavily on fishing he couldn’t do it – couldn’t have it on his conscience to kill some young kid or old man trying to feed his family and community. But I can only imagine how many other times he had to do things that he couldn’t take a moment to think about or it’d have made him incredibly sick. Despite how hardened war forces someone to be – the man adored his grandkids, and his dogs, and was a somewhat warm person despite it all. And despite having a clear disgust for the atrocities that happened – still spoke highly of the German people as a whole. It’s amazing how much he could separate given how little things were discussed by his generation. There wasn’t all the mental health resources that are available now and yet so many of these people managed to live something resembling ‘normal’ lives post war.

      • Liberty says:

        According to the sister of my former boss, Philip had a sort of second family who lived in a luxury destination in Europe; the woman had three children, daughters. His, hers, no idea. A long-time acquaintance though. The sister of my boss (now a no-nonsense professor in her 70s) knew this as someone in State assigned to manage one of his co-sponsored visits to the Caribbean years ago. She flew in a helicopter with him, managed him at events, tabbed with his security detail which was for some reason in part American, made sure he got back to his guest house alone after each evening’s dinner party, got particular calls and messages through for him, all this concurrent with the early Diana years. She was a Royalist who is not a Philip fan any longer, though she saw him as what she calls a deeply wounded dinosaur trying to make jokes to hide a “pit deep” sadness.. She said in spite of it all, she is certain he was deeply in love w Queen Elizabeth beyond all others, absolutely, from the things he said to his hosts when off duty, and how he said them ( no specifics). Also, he was at that point, at least, a fan of Diana as well with whom he somehow felt a kinship

        And that is everything tucked in my Philip box 😉

    • MM says:

      Clare I agree with you. If you dig deeper you discover also that Windsor is a fabricated name because they are germans.

      • LAK says:

        The origins aren’t hidden.

        It’s taught in history lessons at school.

      • Sixer says:

        It’s why WWI was a war of three cousins! Not secret or concealed in the least!

      • Sixer says:

        Horrible Histories is THE BEST! Sixlet Major spent almost his entire primary school years deep into HH, bless him.

      • NOLA says:

        Wow, @Sixer! As an American (with a history minor from college), I have to say that WWI was never presented to me as a war of three cousins. Never. Interesting how that’s glossed over in American textbooks (or in my textbooks anyway…)

        And yes you’re correct about antebellum people. I live in the South. I grew up hearing the N word. Good schools were measured by the number of black kids in your grade. It is sickening.

      • LAK says:

        I love HH. I’m not the target audience, but i will stop to watch an episode. It’s a great way to teach history.

      • Lorelai says:

        @LAK: Not in the US it’s not (taught in schools, that is). As a royal watcher I am aware of the history behind the name, and it’s not a secret for those who research it, but by no means is it common knowledge in most other places besides the UK.

      • Mia says:

        @NOLA I am surprised even as a history minor that professors didn’t make the connection. I am from Canada and we were taught this in high school.

        You should read some books on the subject of royals and WWI by the American historian Robert K. Massie.

        The only cousin I truly have a deep caring for (if you could call it that having never met him lol) is Nicholas II. He was not a good ruler but man was he man who truly loved his wife and children.

      • Erica says:

        @lorelai, When i was in school my history teacher taught us about Queen Elizabeth and her family along with other royal families.I remember she told us all about the name change.Mrs.Kramer was my favorite teacher she use to take us to exhibits and on historical field trips.I live in the south in the U.S. and it depends on the teacher on what is taught.

      • LAK says:

        Mia: Nicholas II has become romanticised over time due to the manner of his death and his family life, but as a ruler he was a disaster and some might say his family life helped him to be the disastrous ruler he turned out to be.

      • Sixer says:

        And don’t forget that all monarch of the House of Hanover were basically German.

      • Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

        They changed the name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor to distance themselves from the very strong anti-german feeling with the British people during WW1. Kaiser Wilhem II was George V’s cousin and after what happened to the Russian Tsar and his family, the King went into survival mode and took steps to distance the British crown from the disastrous rule of both cousins. The name change was one such step, another was denying a safe haven for the Tsar and his family just before the were captured by the Bolsheviks. George V agreed to give them asylum and then changed his mind, we know the rest.

        I watched an interesting documentary about the cousins some time ago – from what i recall much of the tension between the 3 Monarch’s was driven by Wilhem and his need to show off that he was just as powerful a monarch as his 2 cousins. Plus he was said to desperately crave approval from his grandmother, Queen Victoria. Its a very interesting story.

      • M.A.F. says:

        @LAK- I think I just found my new intro to WW1 for next semester.

      • Mia says:

        @Lak I know that history romanticizes Nicholas and a lot of royals. I just personally think that the way Massie wrote of Nicholas and Alexandra makes the reader really begin to understand their worldview. And although they made a lot of stupid and disastrous decisions you can see how they could convince themselves they were doing the right thing. I sympathize with the strain that Alexei’s illness had on so many critical refusals to change Russia for the better.

        Not all of the Romanovs were so shortsighted. His mother, sister in law and a lot of his uncle’s etc. tried to make Nicholas see reason or modernize the monarchy but he and Alexandra were just inept and really caught up in their own importance.

        I also like reading about other royals besides the British Royal family. I think they are a bit overrated by a lot of historians and pop culture in general. My new favourites to read about right now have been Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and William of Orange before the Glorious revolution era. I also like looking up stuff about Empress Sissi too.

      • LAK says:

        Mia: I’m a big fan of Catherine the Great. I tend to dismiss Sissi – i dislike her being lauded when all she was doing is parading her eating disorder.

        Not a fan of Peter the Great, BUT i have respect for what he did given the circumstances, and i think William of Orange was an opportunist, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing in a monarch.

        As for Nicholas and Alexandra, right from the beginning, everything they did was wrong. Alexandra never tried to understand or help Nicholas understand the Russians. Nicholas took not wanting to be Tsar to extremes. He should have abdicated pronto. Lots of Romanov heirs who could have taken over.

        Their story is so frustrating to me because there were so many flash points where they could have turned it around and chose not to because of hubris and belief in autocratic rule. It’s surprising given the era they lived for them to be so blinkered and so blind to events unfolding at home and abroad and to have such poor responses, if they responded at all.

        His father thought he would be a bad Tsar and he was proven right.

      • LAK says:

        Digital Unicorn aka (Betti):it makes one wonder if Kaiser Wilhelm might have turned out better if his cousins, and his mother, had been nicer to him. His entire life was one long gigantic tantrum for attention from his family, and if he couldn’t get the attention, he would show them who was best ruler in the world, so there!!!

      • Mia says:

        @Lak yep Catherine was awesome. I am really annoyed at her son’s excessive hatred of her. It makes me sad because she seemed so badass hahaha.

        I also wanted to say I really enjoy reading your posts (as well as NOTA’s) Your mind is like a treasure trove of endless information. I learn so much from reading them and it is actually an honour that you would engage in a historical conversation with me. Haha I know that this sounds a bit like brown nosing but honest to God I actually do mean it.

      • LAK says:

        Mia: i enjoy a discussion about history. It’s an endlessly fascinating tapestry. And i learn so much from this site too. People bring up interesting points that require more research, which i enjoy because it leads down rabbit holes of information i didn’t remember or never considered or just had the wrong perspective that needed to be corrected.

        I know on this site we principally discuss the British royals, but so many histories round the world are equally fascinating.

      • bluhare says:

        Royal celebitchy at its best. Thank you everyone!

      • magnoliarose says:

        I love these threads! History is my hobby, and I can lose myself in it given a few hours and a good book. My grandmother taught me about porcelain, and there is such a connection to history. She is one of my history fellow obsessors. I like it all even military history.

    • Milla says:

      Thank you. We are literally celebrating people who are human garbage because of their heritage. Twisted.

    • MoochieLady says:

      I’m sorry but for POC we can’t look at context because it was a different time then.
      Maybe you can, but a lot can’t. He said racist things. There’s no need for anyone to say anything more. Rather you phrase it as “not being a pass” or not, it will be viewed as such.
      There are no excuses.

      • D Train says:

        I agree 100% and what I struggle with is that my own grandfather said incredibly racist and inappropriate stuff (even when we all yelled at him) but I still loved and adored him. It is so hard and I can only hope we are better in generations to come.

      • bluhare says:

        Same with my dad, D Train. I adored him; hated some of his views.

      • Maren says:

        Thank you. I said this upthread as some seemed to be trying to twist things said and the times to excuse his out and out racism.
        My dad would have been 89 next month, and he never, ever “broke the ice,” with racist and sexist comments. Some of them not in the above linked articles, like his “slitty eyes” comment, are worse than the things at the links.

      • Ange says:

        Also he’s an international diplomatic figure yet never over the years thought to maybe try and change? It’s his only job! Such a colonialist attitude: I’ll do what I want rot the rest.

      • lsb says:

        That’s just not possible. It was a different time for everyone, including the POC.

        Today we consider ourselves liberated women who are not easy to put down … but recent events tell us that women continue to be treated as second class citizens, earn 70-85c to the dollar a man earns; women of colour earning even less etc. Well, would you concede to your great-grand-daughter 80 years hence that you were a minnow; accepted these conditions; continued to work for people knowing that you are considered 70-85% of a man and possibly less; tolerated or did not report humiliatingly offensive behaviours …
        Because that generation will be looking horrified at us for our present day existence and will ask us why we put up with it by being part of the system. They will look at our husbands and sons and ask why, if they were as liberated as we will tell them they were, they continued to report into the same system knowing that the other half of the population was treated what in 80-90 years time will be a horribly dystopian system.

        What will we tell them? That we were weak, meek and easily manipulated? Or that this was our time and that we worked to change the system as best we could by proving to the decision-makes that we were perfectly equal (which is impossible to prove) and that evolution occurs by analysing changes and opting for the one that works to the best advantage of the most etc. …

        All I mean to say is that it is not correct to judge people of any age by the standards of a different age.

  4. Scout says:

    While this is most definitely a fascinating topic and milestone, did we really to need to only give a blurb about 26 people being slaughter in a church? I know these covers are planned… but holy shit.

  5. anna says:

    Fidelity is overrated. It obviously works for them, so congrats!

  6. Kitty says:

    Sad he cheated on The Queen, but she forgave him and still loves him to this day.

  7. Maria says:

    Phillip was even rumoured to be involved with Penny Romsey of the Mountbatten family and more or less Charles’ age. All very incestuous.
    Whatever moral means…

    • ella09 says:

      No evidence has ever been produced that Philip has been unfaithful. In her biography of Queen Elizabeth, Sarah Bradford, an enormously respected historian, stated unequivocally that he had been , having been told by an unnamed source whom she believed. In 2011 she recanted, saying she believed Philip likes pretty women and flirting but she had found nothing that would prove infidelity,

      After his death we’ll see if there are any solid facts to back up the allegation but meantime rumours aren’t anything BUT rumours.

    • Princessk says:

      I believe he had affairs. There was DEFINITELY something going on with Penny Romsey. I have seen them with very guilty looks on their faces when they were caught off guard. The rumours were so strong that once when they were both guests at a country house, the Queen was not present, and the host jokingly told someone that Penny and the Prince had separate rooms. No smoke without fire I say.

  8. Merritt says:

    Didn’t the Queen have her own affair with Porchey? An emotional affair if not a physical one.

  9. Bobafelty says:

    I think he’s racist and sexist due to his pro colonization views. I’m very surprised by the nazi references above though. His mother risked her life by hiding Jews in her home during WWII, and he seems to have admired her. I was hoping he was more like her.

    • LAK says:

      What Nazi references? He joined the British Navy and fought for Britain against the Nazis!!

      • BobaFelty says:

        There are comments above in this very thread about how his sisters married nazis and his family were nazi sympathizers. I’ve never heard anything like that, just the opposite in fact. Seemed like strange comments. I’ve heard more about how hard the family tried to disassociate with all things German after WWI. So I was surprised to read that above.

      • LAK says:

        People talk about his sisters marrying Nazis without explaining the full story and as a result he gets tarred with the same brush.

        Firstly, he was born almost a decade after his nearest-in-age sister. As a family, they lived intermitently together until life fell apart completely when he was 7yrs old. By then, his father had abandoned the family for good, his mother was sent to an asylum for several years, his sisters went to live in Germany and he was sent to Britain to live with his British relatives.

        He never saw his father again. He didn’t see his mother again until his late teens/ early young adulthood. He never lived with his sisters again, and he has seen them only a handful of times throught his life.

        Meanwhile, those sisters married high ranking Nazi officers, but there is no suggestion that they had a close familial relationship or that he visited them beyond attending his sister Cecelia’s funeral in his late teens.

        At any rate, he joined the British Navy and fought the Nazis during the war. He remained in the Navy until his marriage.

        His sisters weren’t invited to the wedding nor were any of his German relations. He is quoted saying he feels more Danish than German.

        Later he invited his mother to live out the rest of her life at BP with his own family.

        Apart from his mother, he appears to have kept in with his British relatives and and those European relations that have settled in London / Britain only.

        There is no evidence of a close relationship with his sisters or their families though perhaps given their affinity he might not publicise any ongoing relationship due to the trouble it would bring to the royals.

      • D Train says:

        @LAK, thank you for this education on PP history and family. This is really helpful!

  10. Citresse says:

    I think after HM and Philip die, there will be people willing to give information about their marriage. No marriage is perfect, but I do believe HM’s and Philip’s marriage is a success. However we can’t really compare them to the “normal” couples of the world who also made it to 70 years while raising children, paying off a mortgage etc… I have infinitely more respect for those couples who worked much harder.

    • perplexed says:

      In their own way, I think they’ve worked hard, in the sense of having to live up to some nebulous idea of duty, tradition, and continuity and in the eye of the public. The public aspect of their jobs and the fact that they have to rule as the head of the Church of England makes me look at their lives as a bit on the difficult side.

      Other celebrities have fame but more “freedom” yet hardly any of them can make it to 10 years. So I do think the Queen and Philip have a different set of circumstances to contend with even if they are wealthy.

    • Princessk says:

      Yeah but normal couples do not have the pressure of monarchy. It is infinitely easier to be non royal that royal.

  11. DiligentDiva says:

    I’ve never seen real proof Philip cheated other than media speculation, I’ve seen the letters and diary accounts of the people he’s been accused to have cheated with and they wrote at the time how awful the rumors were.
    So IDK why people just assume this rumor to be true. There has never been any real proof of his affairs. I’ve read touching accounts about The Queen and Prince Philip, and yes their marriage hasn’t been easy but really who’s is? Life isn’t a fairy tale.

    • Citresse says:

      Didn’t the problems start around the mid 50′s? Andrew is known as the reconciliation baby isn’t he? I don’t know if anyone spoke out about it but when Philip left for his world tour, I don’t think things were very good between them.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Philip has alluded to that in interviews, and that there’s no way to fight the rumors even if they’re wrong. We’ll never know what did or did not happen unless one of them tells the story.

      It was a difficult time to be a man walking two steps behind his wife on the global stage. Of his fellow male consorts? He definitely shines above Henrik of Denmark, who has never accepted being behind his wife. Philip also out-performed Claus of the Netherlands, but much of his life was impacted by serious depression and the feeling that some in the country never completely trusted him. I get the feeling Claus wasn’t able to accomplish the things he could/should have in his role because of that.

      • DiligentDiva says:

        I agree it was extremely difficult for Philip to go through. Also, keep in mind that Philip probably didn’t expect when marrying Elizabeth that her father would die so young. George VI was an incredibly young man when he died, his older brother lived till the 1970s. How different would Philip and Elizabeth’s lives have been if they came to the throne in the 1970s and not the 1950s?
        Elizabeth and Philip had to cope with the pressures of the monarchy while creating their new family.
        I don’t see any reason to believe that he cheated, other than the media speculation due to him not being a saint before they married. They’ve been married for 70 years and Philip has done a lot of the monarchy and Elizabeth, that’s a hell of a time for it to be all for show. I think there must be some level of affection on both sides.

  12. Kitty says:

    I personally think that The Queen is upset that once she is gone the monarchy will probably be at its worst. She worked so hard for the monarchy and gave her life and service onto others and the monarchy. I bet she fears that the monarchy could potentially die when she is gone. It doesn’t look good anyways.

    • notasugarhere says:

      She would have herself to blame, for the fact that she never acts only *reacts*. Charles and Diana would have ended sooner and much more happily if she’d let them divorce when they wanted to.

      Her heir’s reputation would be much better now if they had. There wouldn’t be so much useless anger directed at Camilla, if C&D divorced after a 5 year marriage and both moved on happily. If she hadn’t over-indulged Andrew (and Sarah) constantly, Beatrice and Eugenie wouldn’t be as despised. Duke and Duchess of Kent have remained miserable, married-but-apart for 30 years now because HM forbade their divorce too.

      Whatever advice Philip gave behind the scenes as head of household that might have tempered things, like leniency and allowing marriages to end regardless of politics? Philip’s anger towards Fergie damaging The Brand? Traces back to his wife-the-monarch’s failure to solve the public/political problem of Fergie spiraling out of control because Andrew is her favorite. She as monarch mixed up family and business too often, without realizing how damaging her failure-to-act was to both family and the family business.

      • Maria says:

        I agree with you Nota, but the Queen doesn’t have a forceful personality, she only knows how to react. Now if Anne had been queen…

      • notasugarhere says:

        HM is stubborn as they come, and with that comes a type of being forceful merely through truculence. Plenty of stories about fights between her and Philip behind the scenes where she showed gumption and force. She has a temper, it just doesn’t get shown in public.

        I don’t see great traits in Anne. Had a 4 year affair with a royal employee before her divorce, then married the man with whom she had the extra-marital affair. Rumors of affairs before then and about who Zara’s father was for awhile.

        If we take Sixer’s route and keep bed-hopping out of the discussion? She does her 500 engagements often with a visibly annoyed look on her face, goes home to her estate fixed up with taxpayer money, makes money off the estate, and lets her adult kids live with her rent-free in a property secured by the taxpayers.

        Anne’s scratchy relationship with the press and the public has been pushed into the shadows with younger and more exciting scandals, but I think Charles will be a much better monarch than she would be.

      • Merritt says:

        Seems like the Kents could have divorced a long time ago if they had wanted to do so. Especially after higher profile divorces in the 1990s.

      • Tina says:

        I think the combination of the Queen’s disapproval and Katharine’s strict Catholicism were both factors preventing a divorce.

      • perplexed says:

        I didn’t get the impression that Charles and Diana really wanted to divorce. I think they wanted to embarrass each other and get back at each other and win the affection of the public just to irritate the other one, but it was never really clear to me whether they actually wanted the marriage to end. Or maybe they wanted to divorce, but they wanted the other person to pull the trigger so that they wouldn’t look bad in the eye of the public. When neither would pull the trigger, the Queen had to do it. And then when the Queen did pull the trigger, Diana seemed shocked that someone would force her hand.

        I think the Queen has a difficult job, and I’m not sure if anyone could have done as well for this long in the age of media (and Rupert Murdoch). Had she ruled in a different age, we probably wouldn’t have known about the extent of her family’s problems except through the town crier.

        I do think all of her children and the people they married (with the exception of Edward and Sophie) seem a little indecisive. In real life, a mother wouldn’t be expected to step in like the Queen has had to. Yet as Queen she had to order Charles and Diana to divorce, because it was not really clear what either of them wanted. To be fair, I don’t think either of them would have behaved as badly if the media wasn’t there as an intrusive factor. The media seemed to exacerbate their worst tendencies.

        Everyone makes fun of the Queen’s stiff upper lip, but for her kind of job I think you need one. The stiff upper lip seems like the best way to rule. I suppose she is a bit reactive as opposed to active, but I’m not sure I’d know how to react to her children and the people they married either. Fergie? I wouldn’t know how to deal with her.

      • LAK says:

        Perplexed: the age of media as we understand it really began with the Georgians in the 18th century. And those media writers were not respectful at all. They made up rumours, drew rude, crude, pron cartoons of the royals and anyone in public life, and nought could be done about it because parliament had accidentally forgotten to make a law curbing the press.

        It’s funny to think that due to a missed agenda item on a parliamentary debate, the press was never curbed.

        It’s taken 300yrs to get back to some modicum of respect and restraint without corresponding govt intimidation of the press, but the Georgians would call the current royals / public figures snowflakes in comparison to the kind of press they received.

        That said, court gossip was the best kind of gossip in any land and people were always desperate to hear more, on top of govts (foreign and domestic) using it to set policy. Very few royals lived a private life as a result. I’d wager that the current lot are living a much more private life than their predecessors.

      • LAK says:

        Regarding Charles and Diana, irrespective of their personal wish, they couldn’t divorce. At least not at the beginning. Henry 8 aside, there was no instrument of divorce for the prince of wales. As there is none for the monarch. George 4 famously tried to divorce his wife when he was POW and again as King, but was denied every single time.

        This is why marriage is a serious business for them. You can’t untangle that knot as easily as regular person and right upto the 80s and 90s it was thought completely impossible. It might still be impossible and Charles’s divorce was treated as a one off rather than a precedent.

        This was one of the reasons Diana married Charles because in her own words, he was the only man in Britain who couldn’t divorce her and she never wanted to be divorced for long standing family background issues.

        Unfortunately for both of them, the marriage was effectively over after 5yrs, but unlike regular people, they were stuck with each other. At first they lived discreetly separate lives, but then their mutual emnity became public. So constitutional experts were consulted. Ditto parliament. And an official separation was thought to do the trick. The PM emphasised that there would be no divorce. Then the war of the Wales happened which proved so damaging that the Queen ordered a divorce, constitutional repercussions be damned.

        I think the emnity reached destructive heights BECAUSE they thought they were stuck with each other with no way out. So they scratched, and b!tched and tried to damage each other in mutually assured distraction because as far as anyone knew, they would never divorce.

  13. perplexed says:

    Maybe they have the same kind of marriage Bill and Hillary do. Probably doesn’t work for most people but works for them.

    I think they do love each other in their own way and understand their way of life better than an outsider could since they’ve been together so long.

  14. Nikki says:

    Marriage and the love between 2 people can be WAY more complex than it seems to outsiders. My parents were married 50 years, and I thought they had a terrible marriage, but you’ve never seen a more devoted caregiver than my dad the last 2 years of her life. Phillip was a very strong, macho, opinionated man who still chose to be second fiddle to a queen, and she by every account (including her cousin’s) has loved him from the first. They worked out solutions that worked for them, and I think their devotion over 70 years is pretty amazing. ( It wouldn’t surprise me if they are the type of couple who pass away within months of each other.)

  15. HoustonGrl says:

    My parents have a pretty terrible marriage that has, so far, lasted nearly 40 years. I think they basically lead separate lives even though they like being together for events involving holidays and grandchildren. My boyfriend’s parents are the same way. I don’t think it’s unusual, particularly in a situation like QEII where divorce was not an option for her. They stuck it out, I guess that’s what matters.

    • minx says:

      Same here. They are deceased now, but my parents were married 51 years and very few of those were good years. They weren’t going to split up, though, mostly for financial reasons. And there was no third party.

      • Nikki says:

        I met an older woman who’d been married 60 years. I asked her what her advice was for a happy marriage. She said, “I don’t know; we’ve had seven blissful years of marriage, and we were married in 1962!”

      • HoustonGrl says:

        @minx I hear you. My mom often lamented that she couldn’t leave because it would be too expensive. I hope that with the way people talk more openly now and many taboos have dissipated (like open marriages, talking through problems, marriage therapy) that marriage is improving. My parents came from a generation where you didn’t share your feelings and you didn’t do anything outside the box.

    • lyla says:

      my aunt and uncle have been married for at least 44 years (not sure how long, but my cousin in 44 and they were married before they had her), but only on paper. they’ve been living separate lives for almost ten years now. separate houses. they don’t even do family celebrations together – so my cousins celebrate things twice. I don’t know why they won’t get a divorce though, it’s not financial reasons.

  16. Mimchen says:

    I’m sure the Queen adored Philip once and perhaps she still does. But they’ve led pretty much separate lives, they have very few common interests and pursuits. He’s a racist, sexist and arrogant, and a very difficult man to live with/work for, by all accounts. I find his jokes funny at times, but really he’s just mocking people with his rude comments, and he gets away with it because of who he is. I never understood people’s reverence for this couple. Yes they’re old and still “work” (only the socialist in me would never call work cutting ribbons and unveiling plaques while everyone around is scraping and bowing and tugging their forelock). And I don’t buy into this “working while old” thing because my four great-grandmothers were farmers and worked all their lives. Hard work, all day long, summer and winter. They lived into their 70s and 80s and actually worked untill the end. One of them died while feeding the animals. She was 81 and was very ill, but she woke up every day and worked as hard as possible because ahe had to live. So this outrageously priviledged royal couple gets no pass from me because they’ve reached their 90s in good health thanks to the best doctors and healthcare money can buy. The Queen is obviously not a people person like Diana was and it’s clear she does everything out of a sense of duty. Her interactions with ordinary people on tours/visits/walkabouts/meetings are scripted and meaningless. It’s obvious she has very little empathy even with those closest to her. I remember a sory about a lady-in-waiting who had a tragedy in her family – I think she lost her child or her husband. She wrote of her pain to the Queen and never received an answer. Years later, the Queen did write to her about the loss of a dog. I adore dogs, but come on! Of course QEII and her husband are revered and their marriage is sugarcoated for the public. As for Philip, I think like many other people who lacked love and stability in childhood, he’s incapable of true romantic love. I’m sure he feels some affection for his wife, possibly they have developed a friendship that has sustained them both, but I bet he’s never been in love, with her or anyone else. He knew she was his meal ticket and he took his chance. Please spare me the story of the glorious navy career he gave up for her. He was an exiled princeling and they were a dime a dozen at the time. Without Elizabeth, he would have been just another exiled former royal trying to reconcile the past glory of his family with the harsher reality of exile. Most ex royals are out-of-touch, slightly ridiculous people, and Philip without Elizabeth would have been nothing more than that.