A Norfolk love story: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 70-year marriage
PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:00 07 November 2017
On November 20 1947, more than 200 million people across the world tuned into the wireless to hear Princess Elizabeth marry Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey in London. It was the start of an incredible union, and this month the royal couple will celebrate 70 years of marriage, love and devotion
Prince Philip proposed to the Queen in 1946 during a visit to Balmoral and the following year they were wed in front of some 2000 guests. The wedding dress was a duchesse satin bridal gown with motifs of star lilies and orange blossoms, designed by Norman Hartnell, and after the ceremony the couple appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace where, much to the delight of the thousands gathered, they shared their joy with the crowd.
As they mark their platinum wedding anniversary, we look back on their Norfolk romance and how their love for each other is reflected in their love for the county where they have spent so many happy times together through the decades.
The start of married life
During the 1950s, the young Queen spent a lot of time fulfilling royal duties in Norfolk with her new husband at her side. The Duke of Edinburgh was president of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) and in 1957, the couple visited the Royal Norfolk Show, spending several hours touring the event and presenting 27 RASE long service medals to farm workers, most of whom were from Norfolk.
Now with four children, Christmas at Sandringham was a time for the family to come together and enjoy the Norfolk countryside. The royal couple could often be seen around the county during their long winter breaks on their estate. Here they are on the platform at King’s Lynn station, with son Andrew leading the way and the Queen holding on tightly to the hand of her nephew Viscount Linley.
As a couple, their royal engagements have taken them all over the world to some wonderful places, meeting extraordinary people and bringing joy to millions. And that is very much the case in Norfolk where they have always enjoyed a warm welcome. Visits to the county were never dull for Queen and Prince Philip – during the 1970s, there were nature trails, boats, historic buildings, schools, muddy fields and military displays, all enjoyed together.
As the Queen celebrated 30 years as monarch, she and Prince Philip remained side by side, posing for official portraits outside the main house at Sandringham to mark the anniversary of her accession to the throne. They were often in the county, both for formal events and to spend time with their growing family on the Royal estate.
Royal visits might be meticulously planned, but no one can account for the weather, or in the case of the couple’s visit to Great Yarmouth in 1993, the sea conditions. They arrived in the town on the Royal Yacht Britannia and the barge taking them from the ship to the quay struggled to remain steady in the choppy water, requiring them both to disembark somewhat awkwardly on to dry land. Both came suitably dressed for the damp occasion though and could be seen exchanging a smile or two, probably of relief!
2000 – 2009
The Queen celebrated her 80th birthday by planting an oak tree at the Sandringham estate, where the royal couple spent a lot of time together during the noughties. As always, their visits together to church on Sunday mornings were greeted with crowds of well-wishers keen to catch a glimpse of the couple.
2010 to today
There were plenty of smiles as The Queen and Prince Philip enjoyed relaxing at Sandringham. While the Duke might have eased back on his official duties in the past few years, the couple’s Norfolk retreat is still very much a place they can call home.