LONDON: Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 70 years of marriage on Monday to the man she calls her “strength and stay”, making them Britain’s first reigning couple to mark a platinum wedding anniversary, reports AFP.
The bells of Westminster Abbey, where Elizabeth married Prince Philip on November 20, 1947, rang out to mark the seven decades of the royal union.
The two were on a visit to Kenya when Elizabeth found out she had become queen following the death of her father king George VI in 1952. She has since gone on to become the nation’s longest serving sovereign.
Prime Minister Theresa May led the congratulatory tributes to the royal couple.
“They have devoted their lives to the service of the UK and the Commonwealth—my best wishes to them both on this special occasion,” she said.
At their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997, Elizabeth paid tribute to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, saying: “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.“I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” she said.
She has also described the prince as her “rock”.
Official photographs have been released for their anniversary, along with a set of commemorative stamps documenting their engagement, wedding and honeymoon.
One of the photographs shows them in front of Thomas Gainsborough’s 1781 portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte, whose 57-year union is the next longest British royal marriage.
In another photograph, the Queen poses in the same cream dress she wore at her diamond wedding anniversary thanksgiving service 10 years ago, along with a yellow gold, ruby and diamond brooch Philip gave her in 1966.
The royal couple will not hold any public events but have invited family and friends to Windsor Castle for a private dinner on Monday evening.
The fairy-tale royal wedding in 1947 was a morale boost during the tough years immediately after World War II.