Queen and Prince Philip celebrate 70 years of marriage
Many congratulations to Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh who celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary today.
In contrast to the lavish church services that marked their silver, golden and diamond anniversaries, their platinum celebration will, be confined to what is described as small family get-together at Windsor Castle.
It is the latest landmark in a long and successful marriage that began with enormous pomp and ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 20th November, 1947 when the then Princess Elizabeth was 21 and her husband, Philip Mountbatten, a 26-year-old naval officer.
In an era of post-war austerity, their wedding served as a spirit-raising occasion and a note of optimism for a brave new future.
It would be five years before Elizabeth succeeded her father George VI to the throne and the start of what was quickly dubbed the New Elizabethan era.
More than 65 years later she is the longest reigning monarch in the world, and one of the most respected.
Throughout that time Prince Phillip has been at her side. The general consensus is that, though he has a reputation for being his own man, his support of his wife has been invaluable. His sense of duty unwavering.
In a speech marking their 50th anniversary in 1997, the Queen said: “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.”
Ten years later, speaking in a documentary about Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne, Prince Harry underlined the point, saying: “The support he gives to my grandmother is phenomenal.”
The Queen and Prince Philip may be keeping their anniversary celebrations low-key but Westminster Abbey is marking the day with a full peal of its bells lasting more than three hours and including 5,070 change of sequences. The final 70 are of course representing the years of the royal marriage.