Queen presents Duke with special honour as they celebrate 70 years of marriage
The touching gesture will be seen as the Queen’s recognition of the devotion Philip has shown through the decades.
The Queen has presented the Duke of Edinburgh with a rare honour as a special anniversary present as they celebrate 70 years of marriage.
As the royal couple reached their milestone platinum wedding anniversary, Elizabeth II appointed Philip a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) for services to the sovereign.
The touching gesture will be seen as the Queen’s recognition of the devotion Philip has shown through the decades, supporting her publicly and privately.
Philip, 96, retired from his public role in the summer after years of royal duty alongside the monarch.
He is the longest serving royal consort in British history, and the Queen, the nation’s longest reigning monarch, is the first to celebrate a 70th wedding anniversary.
Awards in the Royal Victorian Order are made personally by the Queen and bestowed independently of Downing Street.
The monarch presented Philip with the honour at Windsor Castle, where they are marking their anniversary privately.
They are celebrating with close family and friends at a special dinner at the Berkshire residence on Monday evening.
Elizabeth II was a 21-year-old princess when she married her consort Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten on November 20 1947 at Westminster Abbey.
The fairy-tale royal wedding was a morale booster in the tough years that followed the Second World War and millions of people tuned in to listen to the ceremony on the wireless.
The young princess wore a Norman Hartnell dress made of duchesse ivory silk-satin which was hand-embroidered with more than 10,000 pearls and crystals.
Wartime leader Winston Churchill summed up the occasion as “a flash of colour on the hard road we travel”.
Less than five years after the royal wedding, the Princess became Queen on the death of her father George VI.
Bells at the historic Abbey in central London have rung out in tribute on Monday, with a full celebratory peal lasting around three hours and 20 minutes.
The Queen and Philip attended thanksgiving services at the Abbey to commemorate their silver, golden and diamond wedding anniversaries, but this occasion is not being marked which such a service.
Prime Minister Theresa May sent her congratulations to couple on their “special” anniversary, while other messages came from the Women’s Institute, of which the Queen has been a member longer than she has been married to the Duke, joining the Sandringham branch as a princess in 1943.
In 2007 on their 60th anniversary, the Queen bestowed the Royal Victorian Chain upon the Duke as a sign of her affection.
A series of portraits of the Queen and Philip taken by British photographer Matt Holyoak was released to mark the platinum anniversary.
The portraits show the monarch wearing a yellow gold, ruby and diamond scarab brooch, given as a personal gift from Philip to the Queen in 1966.
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