A princess determined to marry for love, rather than "the cause".

A handsome Lothario, a war hero, 1.8m tall, deep, blue eyes and chiselled features.

A nation still coming to terms with a post-war world looking for a new era of hope.

While Queen Victoria's relationship with Prince Albert is by far the greatest royal love story of them all, the story of a young Queen-in-waiting and her schoolgirl crush is up there with legend.

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Elizabeth and Philip study their wedding photographs while on honeymoon in Romsey, Hampshire, November 1947. Photo / Getty Images
Elizabeth and Philip study their wedding photographs while on honeymoon in Romsey, Hampshire, November 1947. Photo / Getty Images

While audiences have gotten to know the young Queen's troubles with Philip on Netflix's The Crown, little do they know the struggles the couple faced to even marry before she became the Queen of England in 1952.

The wedding of Princess Elizabeth, as she then was, to the dashing naval officer Philip Mountbatten was seen as raising the nation's spirits amid an austere background of rationing and shortages that followed the war.

It was November 20, 1947.

Five years later, Elizabeth succeeded her father George VI on the throne and has ruled for the following 65 years, more than any other monarch in British history, with Philip by her side throughout.

But first, Elizabeth had to convince her family, her government, and her country, that Philip was suitable to stand by the Crown. And it wasn't easy.

Elizabeth fell in love with Philip, a distant second cousin, when she was 13, in 1939.

Her father, King George VI, had succeeded his brother, Edward VIII on the throne, three years earlier, after he abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee.

The Royal Family were touring the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, and the young Elizabeth was escorted by a dashing young officer, 18-year-old blonde naval cadet Philip, from Greece. They were both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria, so they had commonalities. Lilibet, as Elizabeth was known, "couldn't keep her eyes off him".

Photo of the Queen and Prince Philip on the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva in 1953. Photo / Anabright Hay
Photo of the Queen and Prince Philip on the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva in 1953. Photo / Anabright Hay

So ensconced by this dashing European, Elizabeth began writing him letters. He wrote back. It wasn't long before she had a framed photo of him next to her bed.

But, there was a problem.

Philip had come from a controversial background; his family had fled Greece after his uncle, King Constantine I, abdicated the throne after World War I. Philip spent just a year in Greece before his family were expelled. He grew up in boarding schools while his father left to live with a mistress in France. His mother suffered a mental illness and eventually, moved to Athens and established a Greek Orthodox nunnery. His family became too fractured to piece back together. A laughing stock, to some.

He served in World War II and was commended for his work in the Mediterranean and the Pacific

Elizabeth continued to write. Philip continued to respond. Sometimes they were able to meet, when Philip was in London. He courted the Princess, slowly but surely.

According to Elizabeth's governess Marion Crawford, the Princess would play the showtune, People Will Say We're in Love, from the musical, Oklahoma.

The book of register, showing the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo / Getty Images
The book of register, showing the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo / Getty Images

According to Philip's valet, "there was always a photograph of Princess Elizabeth in a battered leather frame" in his weekend bag.

At the end of the war, he brought home POWs (prisoners of war) - arriving back in Portsmouth in 1946.

On May 26, 1946, the pair were photographed at the wedding of Elizabeth's lady-in-waiting. Philip was described as "a figure largely unknown to the British public".

They took deliberate steps to maintain privacy. They didn't dance publicly. They did not flirt. But Philip was a regular visitor to Buckingham Palace, blazing through the side entrance in a black MG.

Later that year, Elizabeth invited Philip to Balmoral for three weeks - it was here that he would secretly propose. She said "yes", without informing family.

"To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to readjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one's personal and even the world's troubles seem small and petty," he wrote.

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten at Buckingham Palace, after their engagement was announced, July 10, 1947. Photo / Getty Images
Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten at Buckingham Palace, after their engagement was announced, July 10, 1947. Photo / Getty Images

Their engagement was announced on July 9, 1947, and the couple was introduced at a garden party at Buckingham Palace the next day

Philip took his uncle's name, Mountbatten, and became a British citizen. He was named Duke of Edinburgh before the wedding.

Yet the public was as wary as the Kingdom. In one newspaper, 40 per cent of readers were against the match.

Queen Elizabeth and Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, were the first reigning monarchs to visit Masterton when they came in 1954 as part of a long tour of New Zealand. Photo / NZ Herald
Queen Elizabeth and Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, were the first reigning monarchs to visit Masterton when they came in 1954 as part of a long tour of New Zealand. Photo / NZ Herald

But Elizabeth persisted. And so too, Philip.

The wedding date was set. November 20, 1947. The venue: Westminster Abbey. The first televised royal wedding. Six kings and seven queens in attendance. Her dress was designed by Norman Hartnell, encrusted with pearl and crystal and ivory silk satin. A diamond tiara which snapped in the carriage.

"I only hope that I can bring up my children in the happy atmosphere of love and fairness which Margaret and I have grown up in," Elizabeth wrote to her parents.

"Philip is an angel - he is so kind and thoughtful."

Currently, as formal recognition of the devotion the Duke has shown through seven decades of marriage, supporting her publicly and privately, The Queen has appointed the Duke of Edinburgh Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO), honouring him for "services to the sovereign" on their 70th wedding anniversary, the Telegraph UK reports.

The Queen presented Philip with the honour at Windsor Castle, where they are marking their anniversary privately.

They are celebrating with close family and friends at a special dinner at the Berkshire residence on Monday evening.

The Duke was photographed enjoying a carriage ride in Windsor ahead of the dinner, accompanied by his nephews Prince Ludwig of Baden and Maximilian, Margrave of Baden, the sons of his late sister Theodora.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in celebration of their platinum wedding anniversary on November 20, 2017 in Windsor, England. Photo / Matt Holyoak / Camera Press / Australscope
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in celebration of their platinum wedding anniversary on November 20, 2017 in Windsor, England. Photo / Matt Holyoak / Camera Press / Australscope

In 2007 on their 60th anniversary, the Queen bestowed the Royal Victorian Chain upon the Duke as a sign of her affection.

On the day of their 70th anniversary, they preferred to celebrate privately.

Prime Minister Theresa May sent her congratulations to couple on their "special" anniversary, while other messages came from the Women's Institute, of which the Queen has been a member longer than she has been married to the Duke, joining the Sandringham branch in 1943.

Bells at Westminster Abbey in central London have rung out in tribute, with a full celebratory peal lasting around three hours and 20 minutes.

At the weekend, a series of portraits of the Queen and Philip taken by British photographer Matt Holyoak was released to mark the platinum anniversary.

The portraits show the monarch wearing a yellow gold, ruby and diamond scarab brooch, given as a personal gift from Philip to the Queen in 1966.

NZ Post to design special coin in mark on anniversary

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip will have the milestone of their 70th wedding anniversary celebrated in the traditional royal manner - stamps and coins.

NZ Post announced on Monday that a special silver coin will be created, designed around Her Majesty The Queen's platinum engagement ring.

NZ Post's head of stamps and coins, Simon Allison, says it was a way to extend the organisation's congratulations.

"The koru patterns on either side of the coin represent four generations of the royal family, and in the centre is a black and white photo of the Queen and Prince Philip on their wedding day with Westminster Abbey in the background," he says.

The stamps, meanwhile, feature family moments the Queen has been through over the years.

No other members of the royal family have ever celebrated a platinum wedding anniversary.

The stamps are available at PostShops and the coin can be ordered at nzpost.co.nz/platinum.

- additional reporting The Telegraph UK