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A timeline of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's 73-year love story

From the start of their long marriage, the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip was a match for the ages. Look back on their decades-long love affair.
/ Source: TODAY

It was a love story that played out in front of the world across seven decades. And with it, the world saw a couple who couldn't take their eyes off each other.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were married for nearly 74yearsbefore Philip's death in 2021, and their romance was certainly one for the ages. Here's a look back at their iconic relationship.

1939: Philip and Elizabeth first meet

Navy Chapel
Princess Elizabeth (third from left) met Prince Philip (standing, second from right) when she was just 13 years old. A. J. O'Brien / Getty Images

Elizabeth was just 13 in 1939 when, on a family trip, she spotted Philip, an 18-year-old Greek and Danish prince.

"She fell desperately, desperately head-over-heels in love with him at first sight," British historian Andrew Roberts told TODAY.

Royal Fiances
Elizabeth and Philip at Buckingham Palace in 1947, shortly before their wedding.Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Philip was about to enlist in the Royal Navy, and World War II ended up stalling their in-person courtship. But their romance flourished all the same. Throughout Philip's service, the couple courted each other through letters. "It was a correspondence love affair, really. They wrote letters to one another," Roberts said.

And when the prince returned, he asked King George VI for his daughter's hand in marriage.

1947: Philip and Elizabeth wed at Westminster Abbey

Future Queen Marries
The happy couple on their wedding day. Hulton Deutsch / Corbis via Getty Images

Elizabeth, then 21, married Philip on Nov. 20, 1947. Their wedding, which took place at Westminster Abbey, was broadcast on the radio around the world. As the newest member of the British royal family, Philip also took on a new title: the Duke of Edinburgh.

The newlyweds spent the first years of their marriage in Malta, where Philip was stationed as a naval officer, and Elizabeth lived the life of a naval officer's wife.

1949: Philip and Elizabeth welcome their first child, Charles

Queen Elizabeth II of England and Prince Philip of Edinburgh
Elizabeth and Philip posing with their baby son Prince Charles.INTERCONTINENTALE / AFP via Getty Images

A year into their marriage, the couple welcomed their first child, a son named Charles, on Nov. 14, 1948. Charles, the Prince of Wales, grew up to wed Princess Diana in 1981 and got divorced in 1996. He would later marry Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005.

1950: Philip and Elizabeth welcome a daughter, Anne

Queen Elizabeth II Prince Philip
Charles and Elizabeth with Anne and Charles — a happy family of four!AP

On Aug. 15, 1950, Elizabeth and Philip welcomed their second child, a daughter named Anne. The Princess Royal married Mark Phillips in 1973 and got divorced in 1992. She remarried in 1992 when she wed Timothy Laurence.

1953: Elizabeth becomes queen with Philip by her side

Coronation Day Portrait
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip on Elizabeth's day of coronation.Hulton Deutsch / Corbis via Getty Images

Elizabeth and Philip returned to England when King George VI died suddenly on Feb. 6, 1952. The princess became the new monarch the following year during her coronation on June 2, 1953.

Philip gave up his career to support his wife and kneeled before her after she was crowed queen of England.

"This was something that was revolutionary, frankly," Roberts told TODAY. "He was a man who was a highly competitive person and for the whole of the rest of (his) life, he's got to stand two or three paces behind the most famous woman in the world."

1960: Philip and Elizabeth welcome another son, Andrew

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip
Baby makes five!Central Press via Getty Images

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was born Feb. 19, 1960, and became Elizabeth and Philip's third child. In 1986, he married Sarah, Duchess of York — formerly Sarah Ferguson, who was famously known as "Fergie." The couple divorced in 1996.

1964: Philip and Elizabeth have their final child, Edward

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
Elizabeth and Philip with Andrew and Edward, June 1964.AFP via Getty Images

On March 10, 1964, Elizabeth and Philip's fourth child, Prince Edward, arrived. The Earl of Wessex wed his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, in 1999, and the couple is still together today.

1972: Philip and Elizabeth mark 25 years married

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A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to commemorate their 25th silver wedding anniversary.Fox photos via Getty Images

In 1972, Philip and Elizabeth marked a special occasion: their 25th wedding anniversary. Over the decades, they danced together, met heads of state, hosted countless garden parties and enjoyed their shared love for sports.

1977: Philip and Elizabeth become grandparents

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne with her first grandchild
Elizabeth looked thrilled to meet her first grandchild.Anwar Hussein / Getty Images

Princess Anne was the first of Elizabeth and Philip's children to make them grandparents. In 1977, she welcomed her first child, a son named Peter. Four years later in 1981, she had a daughter named Zara. In 1982, Prince Charles welcomed his first child, Prince William, followed by another son, Prince Harry, in 1984.

Prince Andrew's first daughter, Princess Beatrice, arrived in 1988 and her sister, Princess Eugenie, was born in 1990. Elizabeth and Philip's youngest son, Prince Edward, also has two children: Lady Louise Windsor, born in 2003, and James, Viscount Severn, born in 2007.

1997: Philip and Elizabeth mourn the death of Princess Diana

Prince Diana Death 1997
The royal family looking at floral tributes left for Princess Diana.Robert Patterson / Mirrorpix via Getty Images

A year after her divorce from Prince Charles, Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris while her driver was fleeing the paparazzi. Both Philip and Elizabeth paid tribute to the late princess, and the duke walked with his grandsons William and Harry during the funeral procession to support them.

1997: Philip and Elizabeth mark 50 years married

Queen Philip Anniversary Party
The queen and Prince Philip at a party for their golden wedding anniversary. Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The year 1997 marked 50 years of marriage for Elizabeth and Philip. On their golden anniversary, the queen gave a speech and thanked her husband for standing by her side. "He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments. But he has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years," she said.

Like all couples, Elizabeth and Philip had a relationship filled with joy and some rough patches, too. In one speech, Philip spoke out about the key to keeping their bond strong.

“Tolerance is the one central ingredient of any happy marriage — it may be not so important when things are going well but it is absolutely vital when things get difficult," he said.

"You can take it from me, the queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance," he added, prompting laughs from the crowd.

2020: Philip and Elizabeth mark 73 years married

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Britain's Prince Philip
Elizabeth and Philip in a portrait marking their 73rd wedding anniversary.CHRIS JACKSON / AFP - Getty Images

In 2020, the royal couple celebrated 73 years of marriage and marked the occasion by posing for a new portrait. In the sweet snapshot, seen above, Philip and Elizabeth look at an anniversary card their great-grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis made for them.

2010-2021: Philip and Elizabeth welcome great-grandchildren

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II
One big royal family!Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

Over the years, Philip and Elizabeth welcomed many great-grandchildren as their family grew. Peter Phillips, the couple's oldest grandchild, has daughters Savannah, born in 2010, and Isla, born in 2012. His sister, Zara Tindall, has three children: Mia, born in 2014; Lena, born in 2018; and Lucas, born in 2021.

Princess Eugenie has one child, a son named August, born in 2021. Her sister, Princess Beatrice, has a daughter named Sienna, also born in 2021.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Elizabeth and Philip at the English country house Broadlands in 2007. Tim Graham / Pool via AP

The most famous great-grandchildren in the family may be Prince William and the former Kate Middleton's kids — Prince George, born in 2013; Princess Charlotte, born in 2015; and Prince Louis, born in 2018 — as well as Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle's children, Archie, born in 2019; and Lilibet, born in 2021.

Philip never got the chance to meet his two youngest grandchildren, Sienna and Lilibet, since they were born after he died.

2021: Philip dies

The Funeral Of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh Is Held In Windsor
Elizabeth sits in solitude during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021.Jonathan Braduy / WPA Pool via Getty Images

On April 9, 2021, the royal family announced that Prince Philip had died at the age of 99, and tributes for the longest-serving consort in British history quickly poured in. The family kept the funeral small to align with COVID-19 restrictions and celebrated his life on April 17, 2021.