As the British crown struggles with a ‘new’ crisis related to the fallout from Prince Andrew’s unfavorable television interview this week, about his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth was supposed to be celebrating her 72nd wedding anniversary.
But ‘lost’ in worries over her second son’s disgrace, if you are going to believe the British papers, and occupied with her official duties in London, she didn’t celebrate the event with her 98-year-old husband, Prince Philip, who she reportedly has seen only twice in the last couple of months.
The couple speak every day on the phone “but it is understood that they have not had an extended spell under the same roof since Philip left Balmoral in early September,” according to the Express.
Media articles speculate that the absence by her side of her husband – who retired from active duty in 2017 and lives a quiet life at Wood Farm on their Sandringham estate in Norfolk – is among the reasons Queen Elizabeth didn’t stop Andrew’s interview with the BBC, which has led to royalists, charitable partners and educational institutions scrambling to distance themselves from the whole mess.
While the queen is head of state in charge of the monarchy as an institution, Prince Philip has always been head of the family. “Friends say the monarch, who remains devoted to duty often at the expense of her own family, has missed Philip’s steady hand at the tiller alongside her,” writes the Express.
The interview was an effort to end rumors about the disgraced prince’s relationship with the criminal financier, who committed suicide while in prison on sex-trafficking charges last summer as well as allegations that the eighth in line to the throne, who denies it, slept three times with a then-17-year-old girl who was a victim of sex trafficking by Epstein.
“Andrew’s failure to show empathy for the young women exploited by Epstein earned him widespread derision — and made corporate backers and universities think twice about their ties to this senior member of the House of Windsor,” reports Time.
Unfortunately, the backlash to the interview has shouldered what should be the happy celebration of a truly remarkable marriage into the background.
According to legend, Princess Elizabeth fell in love with the Greek-born Royal Navy officer, Philip, prince of Greece and Denmark, when she was a teenager and he was 18. They met at the 1934 wedding of his cousin, Princess Marina, to Prince George, Duke of Kent.
They met again at Dartmouth Royal Naval College in 1939, where Philip was able to impress her by ‘jumping over tennis court nets’.
Their relationship flourished by letters and where, in writing, he declared his love.
“To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one’s personal and even the world’s troubles seem small and petty,” the prince wrote, according to Philip Eade, author of Young Prince Philip: His Turbulent Early Life.
The couple got married at a grand ceremony – a foreshadowing of the lavish celebrations the British royal house is now so well known for – at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947, when the country was rebuilding after the devastation of the war and millions of Britons were living in precarious circumstances and coping with food rations.
“Thousands lined the streets of London along the processional route between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey; crowds thronged down the Mall, pressing against the Palace gates. Millions listened to the radio broadcast that was made. Post-war Britain took an enormous interest in the royal wedding and many thousands watched the film of the event which was later shown nationwide at cinemas; in point of fact, King George VI permitted the procession to be filmed and only still photographs to be made during the actual wedding ceremony,” remembers Royal Central.
Since then the couple have lived a lifetime of milestones including the Jubilees to mark the anniversary of her Coronation. Queen Elizabeth has spent two-thirds of a century on the throne since she started her reign following the death of her father in 1952. Due to their longevity, they have seen other records broken. She is the world’s longest reigning monarch, overtaking Queen Victoria who was on the throne for 23,226 days and the oldest Monarch in British history.
Naturally they also hold the record for the longest royal marriage and the only British royal couple to have celebrated their diamond and platinum wedding anniversaries.
To mark the 72nd anniversary the Royal Family Instagram account and its Twitter account, @KensingtonRoyal, posted celebratory photos of the couple. Various other members of the family like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Prince William and Kate Middleton also turned to social media to congratulate the couple’s 72 years of marriage.
Here is a list of official facts published by the British royal house to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s and Prince Philip’s platinum weeding anniversary.