6 Facts About Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip's 71-Year Marriage That Might Surprise You

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To look at Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip together now, after an incredible 71 years of marriage, you would never guess what a dramatic and tumultuous relationship they've had over the years. Unless, of course you watched The Crown and were totally shook. But for those who aren't familiar with all of the ups and downs of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s relationship, the couple first met when Elizabeth was just eight years old at a family wedding. The two reunited again five years later in 1939 when they were both teenagers, and that was when the romance began.

Elizabeth fell in love quickly and the two began exchanging letters. In 1946, Philip officially asked Elizabeth's father, King George VI, for his daughter's hand in marriage and the King granted it — with reservations, that they wait until she turned 21 and that he relinquish his Greek and Danish royal titles and become a British citizen. Philip agreed, and the two were married the following year.

But things got complicated after they were married, especially when, at the age of 25, Elizabeth became Queen of England — news that Philip delivered himself while the two were away in Kenya . This meant that Philip had to take a back seat to his wife, something he reportedly found very difficult. There was friction, fights, and alleged affairs, but incredibly, these two were determined to make their marriage work, and seven decades (and counting) later, they have succeeded.

But even knowing all that barely scrapes the surface. There are still all kinds of fascinating facts about these two that shed some surprising light on this couple, and their entire family.

They were related even before they were married.

Yep, it’s true. Prior to tying the knot, Elizabeth and Philip were second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark. If that’s not complicated enough, they were also third cousins through their great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.

2. After they were married, they lived in Malta — without the kids.

Before Elizabeth was crowned Queen, the two of them did have the opportunity to live a bit of a normal life together. For the years between 1949 and 1951, they lived together in Malta while Philip was serving as a Royal Navy Officer. While they already had two children together — Charles and Anne — they left them back in Britain during this time.

They have always had adjoining bedrooms.

Elizabeth and Philip have never had to worry about the other snoring, because beginning in 1949, when the couple moved to Clarence House, they had connected but separate bedrooms. They have continued to do so ever since, out of convenience and practicality. TBH it’s not the worst idea.

Philip was unhappy that the children had the name of Windsor.

The rumor is that, when Elizabeth declared in 1952 that the children would continue using the royal name of Windsor rather than taking Philip's last name of Mountbatten, Philip was not happy. He reportedly complained that he felt as though he were “nothing but a bloody amoeba," and "the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children." In the end, Philip won out when, in 1960, Elizabeth issued an Order of Council that she and Philip would adopt the name Mountbatten-Windsor for the male line.

Philip is rumored to have had several affairs.

While none have ever been officially confirmed, the goss is that Philip had a habit of engaging in extramarital affairs and, over the years, was linked to dancer Pat Kirkwood (she denied the affair), novelist Daphne du Maurier, and the Duchess of Abercorn, with whom Philip exchanged letters that he has instructed be kept private until after his death.

They rarely ever hold hands in public.

Don’t expect to see any PDA from this couple, as the their official policy is to not hold hands in public. The reason being that, when they are at public functions, they consider themselves to be on the clock and it would be unprofessional for them to be engaging in PDA while in their roles as "working representatives of the British Monarchy." There are the occasional exceptions though, like at the couple's 70th wedding anniversary. I mean, understandable.

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