The Queen was happily married to Prince Philip for 73 years before his sad passing, but it has been revealed that their union might never have come about - had the monarch listened to the advice of her courtiers.
MORE: Prince Philip's most memorable quotes and witty one-liners
Biographer A.N. Wilson has claimed that the young Elizabeth was told on a number of occasions that Philip was "entirely the wrong person to choose" because he was too funny and made "gaffes", the Telegraph reports.
WATCH: The Queen and Prince Philip's enduring love story
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in 2016, he said: "When she made it quite clear from the age of about 14 that she was in love with Prince Philip, who was a beautiful German Prince with blond hair, all the courtiers said he was entirely the wrong person to choose."
He continued: "They said it for lots of reasons, but the fact is he was wrong. The Queen is a very reserved, diligent person. He isn't. He was a naval officer and he was also quite funny."
RELATED: Prince Philip obituary: The Duke's incredible life from childhood to duty
Despite those reservations, the couple announced their engagement in July 1947, when the Queen was 21, and they were married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. Just four years later, Elizabeth became Queen.
The royal couple pictured on their wedding day, 20 November 1947
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The biographer told his audience that Philip's first comment to the Queen after her coronation was, "Where did you get that hat?"
"Many of his jokes are extremely funny," he added. "He has been what she has described, which is a tower of strength. The fact that he makes all these so-called gaffes. Well, I don't think they are gaffes. They are the kind of jokes a naval officer of a certain age might make. I think [they are] made rather wonderfully."
Philip himself once quipped of the couple's marriage: "You can take it from me that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance." But it's clear that their partnership is based on love and mutual respect.
The Queen has described her husband as "my strength and stay"
In her golden wedding anniversary speech in 1997, the Queen acknowledged the invaluable support her husband had provided – and suggested that his importance was sometimes overlooked.
"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.
The Queen and Prince Philip were by each other's side for over 70 years
"I and his whole family, in this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know."
MORE: Prince Philip: a look back on his 70 years of service to the Queen
Prince Philip passed away aged 99 on 9 April 2021 at home at Windsor Castle. A statement from Buckingham Palace read: "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
"His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss. Further announcements will be made in due course."
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