Were the Queen and Prince Philip related and how did they meet?

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Mountbatten
(Image credit: Getty)

How did the Her Majesty the Queen and husband Prince Philip meet - and is it true that they were related?

Married for 74 years until the Duke of Edinburgh's death, the Queen and Prince Philip were pictured celebrating their wedding anniversary together at Windsor Castle last year when a sweet snap was uploaded to the Royal Family Instagram.

But rewind 86 years, long before the internet, dating sites, and mobile phones, this is is when the couple first met as children in 1934 when they both attended the wedding of Prince Philip's cousin, Princess Marina, who was tying the knot with Prince George, Duke of Kent.

At the time, Corfu-born Philip, aged 13, was the Prince of Greece and Denmark and Princess Elizabeth was just eight years old.

Then known as Philip Mountbatten, he and Elizabeth were indeed related as they were third cousins and both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.

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As distant relatives, the Queen and Prince Philip both have connections to Queen Victoria. Elizabeth's father King George VI makes her the great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Meanwhile, through his mother's lineage - Prince Philip’s mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, and her mother was Princess Victoria who was the daughter of Princess Alice, who was Queen Victoria’s second daughter, making Prince Philip also a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria.

The Queen and Prince Philip are third cousins, and back then it was common for members of European royal families to marry each other.

October 1937: George, Duke of Kent (1902 - 1942) with Marina, Duchess of Kent (1906 - 1968) travelling in a carriage with Princess Margaret Rose (1930 - 2002) (centre), Princess Elizabeth (left) and Queen Elizabeth, Queen Consort to King George VI (left).

(Image credit: Getty)

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had nine children, all of whom married into different European royal houses. As a result, the Queen and Prince Philip are also related through King Christian IX of Denmark. The Queen’s father George VI was the son of King George V, who was the son of Alexandra of Denmark. Alexandra of Denmark was the daughter of Christian IX, and she was married to Queen Victoria’s son Edward VII.

Christian IX was also Prince Philip’s paternal great-grandfather. Philip’s father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, who was the son of Prince George I of Greece. Prince George I of Greece was the son of Christian IX. The Queen’s father George VI was a second cousin of Philip’s mother Princess Alice. This would therefore make Elizabeth and Philip second cousins, once removed, through this connection.

Was it love at first sight for the Queen and Prince Philip?

It's understood that the young Queen was drawn to Philip's "viking" good looks. Her governess Marion Crawford wrote in her memoir, The Little Princess, that simply seeing Philip made a teenage Elizabeth turn 'pink-faced'.

But before they could strike up a friendship, it was a whole five years later that the couple met once more at Dartmouth Royal Naval College in 1939.

And Marion wasn't the only one to notice the instant attraction, Philip's uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, described their first meeting "a great success" in his diary.

Their friendship and in turn relationship developed through a series of letters as Elizabeth and Philip began communicating via letter while he served in the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets during the Second World War.

Prince Philip and Elizabeth II

(Image credit: Getty)

When did the Queen and Prince Philip get engaged?

But when Philip returned from his duty, he wasted no time in asking Elizabeth's father, King George VI, for his permission to propose to her.

Elizabeth accepted his proposal, in which Philip presented her with a ring made by jewellers Philip Antrobus who used diamonds from a tiara belonging to Philip's mother Princess Alice of Battenberg, and the couple announced their engagement on 9th July 1947.

Before the wedding, Prince Philip was appointed the Duke of Edinburgh as well as receiving the titles of Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London.

The wedding ceremony took place just four months later at Westminster Abbey on 20th November, in front of 2,000 guests.

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Despite being related, their marriage wasn't arranged by their families.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)