Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrate 70 years of marriage

Published: Nov. 20, 2017 at 4:02 PM EST
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91-year-old Queen Elizabeth and the 96-year-old Duke of Edinburgh were all smiles as they posed in front of a platinum backdrop fitting for their 70th anniversary. They're celebrating with a small family party but no public events.

Back in 1947, Princess Elizabeth married her prince charming, Naval lieutenant, Philip Mountbatten in a lavish wedding that offered a reprieve from the hardships of a war-weary Britain.

Just five years later, it was Philip who broke the news to Elizabeth that her father, King George, had died.

"She became queen, and from that moment on, he has to take a backward step in terms of his own career and his own life," says Royal Biographer Claudia Joseph.

Royal experts say Prince Philip's support has been one of the secrets to their success, but they add, like all couples, the two have weathered their ups-and-downs.

Through weddings and wars, beginnings and endings, their marriage has survived and thrived.

"I think, without Prince Philip, the queen would have had a very tough and lonely life," Joseph says.

She's the world's longest-serving monarch, and Philip has been her closest confidante and adviser.

"He is, of course, likewise, the only person who can actually tell the queen -- absolutely straight -- what he thinks, and if he thinks some idea is ridiculous, he will say so," says Royal Historian Hugo Vickers.

At Westminster Abbey - where the couple married 70 years ago - bells rang throughout the day in their honor.

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