The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary of their engagement

By Gemma Strong

On this day in history, Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen, announced her engagement to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. On July 10 1947, the happy couple were pictured arm-in-arm at Buckingham Palace following the official announcement of their betrothal, with the 21-year-old Princess beaming as she showed off the elegant engagement ring presented to her by future husband, who was 26 at the time. They were married in Westminster Abbey just four months later, on Nov. 20 1947 – meaning that the Queen and Prince Philip will celebrate their historic platinum wedding anniversary later this year.

Elizabeth had first met Philip when she was 13 at the wedding of his cousin, Princess Marina of Greece. She fell head over heels in love, and remained devoted to the handsome 18-year-old, writing him letters throughout her teens. The Princess' father, King George VI, agreed to the couple's marriage in 1946 but requested that they wait to get officially engaged until she had turned 21. The King then gave his official consent to the marriage in April 1947 and Philip proposed to Elizabeth as they walked together in the grounds of Balmoral. He presented his bride with a square cut diamond and platinum ring, which was created using stones from one of his mother's tiaras.

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The 21-year-old Princess had first met Philip when she was 13.

Ahead of their engagement, Philip took on the surname Mountbatten and renounced his Greek citizenship and the titles that he held – he was a prince of Greece and Denmark by birth. He was then made Duke of Edinburgh and chosen as a Knight of the Garter by his father-in-law, the King. He would not become a prince again until 1957, when Elizabeth bestowed the title upon him.

The couple were married in Westminster Abbey on 20 November, 1947

More than 2,000 guests were in attendance as Elizabeth and Philip were married at Westminster Abbey on 20 November, 1947. It was the first royal festivity since the end of the Second World War, and as such their marriage was joyously celebrated across the country. Elizabeth had saved up her ration cards to purchase the material needed for her wedding gown – a beautiful design made of ivory duchess satin and decorated with 10,000 white pearls imported from America. Her bridal bouquet was made up of white orchids and a sprig of myrtle – from the bush grown from the myrtle in Queen Victoria's wedding bouquet. The following day it was laid on the grave of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey.

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