Am I a romantic, or was the Queen and Prince Philip's marriage inspiring?

The queen in radiant red and Prince Philip at the Royal Norfolk Show travelling in a horse and cart

Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Philip at the Royal Norfolk Show 1986 - Credit: RNAA

It sounds like a thing of dreams.  

Girl meets boy. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. And live happily ever after. Well, almost. There would have more than likely been a few knocks and bumps along the way.

However, as Gabrielle told us in her 1993 hit song, Dreams – they can indeed come true. And no love story could be more enduring and heartfelt than that of the Queen and Prince Philip.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Show. Date: 1957

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were married for 73 years. Here they're pictured at the Royal Norfolk Show in 1957 - Credit: EDP Library

Some may say I’m a bit of a romantic fool but I can’t be the only one whose heart is filled to the brim when I read about the royal couple’s seven-decade long marriage. I also doubt that I'm the only one whose heart is breaking for the Queen right now.

Even if they were just plain old Lizzie and Phil from down the road, I would still find the story of their relationship heart-warming. In fact, one of the happiest articles I have ever had the privilege of writing was about a couple from Sheringham who celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary on a sunny Valentine's Day in 2012. 

I guess I’m just a sucker for a good old-fashioned love story. 

The Royal couple on their wedding day. Picture: PA Wire

The Royal couple on their wedding day. Picture: PA Wire - Credit: PA

At the Queen’s coronation in 1953, the Duke of Edinburgh swore to be her "liege man of life and limb”. He was a devoted consort and companion to the Sovereign until his death earlier this month. But their story goes back a lot further than that and quite honestly could be worthy of its own Disney film. 

The then Princess Elizabeth first laid eyes on the Prince of Greece during the summer of 1939. She was just 13 years old while he was five years her senior and about to embark on a career with the Royal Navy. 

A romance didn’t blossom until a few years later though, and it was after the war in 1947, and eight years after their initial meeting, when they became engaged - officially. What no one knew at the time was that the couple had already been engaged for two months.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving Westminster Abbey in London after their wedding

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving Westminster Abbey in London after their wedding ceremony, 20 November 1947. Picture: PA Images/Archant Library - Credit: PA

Philip had proposed at Balmoral and was immediately accepted by Elizabeth, who - quite rightly, in my opinion – didn’t consult her parents first. This was a trend the couple would continue throughout their marriage.

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Their love has been conducted behind the doors of the royal palaces, with few glimpses of it in public view. At least one such occasion does exist though, and that was captured in the recently re-emerged photograph taken by Chris Young. Prince Philip smiled at his Queen, while she giggled at a swarm of bees derailing an event they were attending. But I digress. 

It was normal, and natural, for the royal couple to appear reserved, forbidding public displays of affection - much like my other half to be honest (who nodded in earnest as he read this part before its publication). So, I was surprised when I recently caught some footage of Prince Philip paying a loving tribute to his wife. It was a speech I had never heard before and to me, reinforced what a strong marriage they had. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, will be celebrating their platinum wedd

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. Photo: Tim Graham/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Addressing his wife at a gala lunch in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, he said: “The main lesson that we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage.  

"It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when the going gets difficult. You can take it from that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”  

Now I’m not for a minute saying everyone needs to be married or partnered-off to be happy, but what I took away from that speech, and what I still take away when reflecting on their marriage, is a rare respect and support which comes from a deep-rooted relationship. 

READ MORE: How to cope following the death of a long-time partner.

And while it is terribly sad that a nation is in mourning, what pains me more is the thought of someone being without their life-long companion – whether that’s the Queen or plain old Lizzie down the road. 

My thoughts go out to all of those who have lost a loved one recently, and also those who continue to love in some of the most testing of times. Call me a romantic fool if you like.

- To view all our obituaries and tributes join the Facebook group Norfolk's Loved & Lost.

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