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Queen Elizabeth Almost Had A Different Husband

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This year Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip will mark their 70th wedding anniversary, but they might have never made it this far if Elizabeth hadn't fought for the right to marry the man she loved.

After falling in love at the age of 18 with the young Greek navel officer, people were concerned that they wouldn't make a good match. Elizabeth's father, King George VI, and courtiers at the palace were not keen on her marrying Philip Mountbatten.

"So, it was only natural that the older generation — friends of the King like Lord Salisbury — were concerned that who the Queen was with was totally and utterly suitable," said Sir Edward Ford, the assistant private secretary. "So they were sniffing around to see what he was like."

That didn't stop Elizabeth from fighting to marry the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.

"One of Elizabeth’s greatest achievements is being allowed to marry the love of her life. Like any marriage, it would undertake endless recalibration and navigation and re-negotiation," said The Crown's executive producer Suzanne Mackie.

Biographer Sally Bendell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen said, "She fell in love at age 18 and never looked at anyone else."

Ford noted that Philip always had an inner confidence that helped to win over the Royal Family.

"He was a perfectly natural young sailor and very much in love with the girl of the house. But he would not in any way fawn on the elders and say, ‘What a suitable husband I am going to be," Ford said.

Continue to the next page to see what they had to do to be together.

70 years after their royal engagement, the couple is still going strong.

Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten looked very much in love on July 10, 1947 when they officially announced their engagement at Buckingham Palace.

She wore her elegant, square cut diamond and platinum engagement ring, which Philip had crafted using the stones from one of his mother's tiaras.

Philip, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, wore his Royal Naval Suit for the engagement photos.

Elizabeth was just 21 and Philip, who had to renounce his Greek royal title to become a naturalized British subject, was 26 years-old.

It was said that they unofficially became engaged in the summer of 1946, but waited until the princess was 21 before making the official announcement.

The couple met during a royal visit to his naval college in Dartmouth, and it was love at first sight, even though Elizabeth was 13 years-old at the time. They started to write each other until he was invited to spend Christmas in 1943 with the Royal family at Windsor Castle.

While Philip was away at sea, serving in the second World War, the princess kept a picture of him in her room. She later replaced the photograph of a clean-shaven Philip to one with him sporting a large beard in the hopes he wouldn't be recognized and stop any gossip about their relationship.

The young Greek prince and 21 year-old Princess Elizabeth married at Westminister Abbey on November 20, 1947.

Philip decided to give up smoking on their wedding day, a habit that he knew anguished Elizabeth because of her father's addiction to cigarettes.  He stopped smoking quickly and without difficulty.

He did worry about relinquishing other aspects of his life that were meaningful in order to marry the love of his life.

“Nothing was going to change for her,” his cousin Patricia Brabourne recalled. “Everything was going to change for him.”

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Royal circles continued to disapprove of the union because of his background and the perception that he may be arrogant.

The couple went on to welcome Prince Charles in 1948 and Princess Anne in 1950.

Within 5 years of their marriage, Princess Elizabeth ascended the thrown after her father's death in February 1952.

Philip became the longest-serving consort of the reigning British monarch and is planning to retire from public appearance in the coming months.

In 1997, the couple celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary.

"He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years," the Queen said.

Sources: Marie Claire / People / Express / Vanity Fair