Prince Philip, 99, and Queen Elizabeth II, 94, have been married for more than seven decades and their enduring relationship is a symbol of national unity. However, in order to marry the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth), the Duke of Edinburgh had to give up a key part of his identity.
The Duke of Edinburgh served the crown for more than 60 years before his retirement from royal life in 2017.
However, he remains the Queen’s closest confidant to this day and the royal couple will have been glad to be in one another’s company at Windsor Castle during the pandemic.
Prince Philip famously gave up his budding naval career to serve the Crown when Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952, but there is another lesser-known sacrifice he made ahead of their wedding.
Prince Philip was born into the Danish and Greek royal families and was a blueblood in his own right before his marriage to Elizabeth.
However, what many people might not realise is that Philip had to give up his royal birthright and become a naturalised Briton ahead of his wedding.
This means the Duke was not a Prince at the time of his marriage, and was only made one again by the Queen in 1957 – a decade on from their wedding.
A constitutional expert touched on the fascinating history behind Philip’s royal titles when addressing why he is not known as ‘King’ or ‘Prince Consort.’
Constitutional expert Iain MacMarthanne told Express.co.uk: “Speculation as to whether or not the Duke of Edinburgh would be created Prince Consort has followed him through his life since 1952.
“Although an HRH and a royal duke at the time of the queen coming to the throne, titles given to Philip by George VI in anticipation of his marriage, Philip was not a prince.
“Previously a Prince of Greece and Denmark, he ceased to use these styles after becoming a naturalised British citizen months before his marriage.
“Only in 1957 did the Queen create her husband a Prince of the United Kingdom.”
On February 22, 1957, the palace issued the following statement: “The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm bearing date February 22, 1957, to give and grant unto His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT, GBE, the style and titular dignity of a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Whitehall.
“The Queen has been pleased to declare her will and pleasure that His ‘Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh shall henceforth be known as His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”
While Prince Philip is officially the Queen’s Consort, the reason he has never received a title to cement this role remains something of a mystery.
Mr MacMarthanne added: “As to why Philip has never been created Prince Consort is open to speculation, most likely it is a case of choice and taste.
“All that is certain is that it is not a formal title, nor is it automatically assumed by the consort of a queen regnant.”
Prince Philip has been staying with the Queen at Windsor Castle since March but is normally based at Wood Farm on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.
Since his retirement, the Duke has made Norfolk his main home where he enjoys a quiet life away from the royal bubble.
As the Queen spends most of the year at Buckingham Palace where she attends to royal duty, they are used to spending weeks and sometimes months apart.
The royal couple usually reunite in Scotland every July where the Queen takes her summer break.
The Balmoral trip was up in the air due to coronavirus but it seems likely the royal couple could travel there by helicopter in the weeks to come.
Both the Queen and Prince Philip are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their age and every precaution will be taken to ensure their safety as they leave lockdown.