Prince Philip is the longest-serving consort in British history.
Elizabeth fell for her third cousin through Queen Victoria and
second cousin through King Christian IX of Denmark when he gave her
and Margaret a tour of the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in
1939, where Philip was a cadet. Elizabeth was just 13, Philip five
years older, but the pair began a correspondence that would
culminate in his asking George VI for his daughter's hand in
The Corfu-born son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice, Philip had renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles and his allegiance to the Greek Crown, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and become a naturalised British subject by the time of their wedding at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. Having taken up residence at Clarence House, they had two children in swift succession - Charles in 1948 and Anne in 1950. The Duke continued with his naval career, and the young family spent a couple of happy years on Malta.
After her accession to the throne, Elizabeth announced that Philip was to have "place, pre-eminence and precedence" next to her "on all occasions and in all meetings, except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament", in doing so giving him precedence over Prince Charles except in the British Parliament. THe was made a Prince of the United Kingdom in the late 1950s.
As well as assisting her in her duties, Prince Philip has also been patron of about 850 different organisations, ranging from regiments to charities, with the emphasis on the environment, industry, sport, and education. Most famously, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, founded in 1956 to give young people "a sense of responsibility to themselves and their communities", has had a worldwide impact.
In a speech at London's Guildhall on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997, the Queen said: "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know."