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Queen honours her husband to celebrate 70th anniversary

The Duke of Edinburgh has been made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

New images of The Queen and Prince Philip were released to mark their 70th wedding anniversary.
New images of The Queen and Prince Philip were released to mark their 70th wedding anniversary. Matt Holyoak/Camera Press

As they celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary, the Queen has made her husband of 70 years a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

It means the Duke can add the letters GCVO to his name.

Awards in the Royal Victorian Order are made personally by The Queen for services to the Sovereign.

And no single person has devoted so much of their life to the Sovereign as Prince Philip.

The couple are spending their 70th anniversary at Windsor Castle and will celebrate in private on Monday at a dinner with other close members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles who has just returned from seeing the hurricane damage in the Caribbean.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met in 1939.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met in 1939. Matt Holyoak/Camera Press

While the marriages of three of their children have ended in failure, the Queen and Duke's has been blessed with longevity.

They were married on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey at a time when Britain was still ravaged by the Second World War.

The then Princess Elizabeth was the heir to the throne and her new husband was a naval officer of Danish descent who was born in Corfu in Greece.

They had met in 1939 in Dartmouth when King George VI and his daughters visited the Britannia Royal Naval College.

The officer cadet, then a Prince of Greece and Denmark, was assigned to look after Elizabeth and her sister.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have four children.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have four children. PA

They maintained a correspondence during the war while Philip served with the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean and the Pacific Ocean.

And by the summer of 1947, the Prince had asked the King for his daughter's hand in marriage.

Just before the wedding he was made the Duke of Edinburgh having already given up his claim to the Greek and Danish thrones.

The young couple tied the knot in a ceremony which acted like a giant splash colour in the dark post-war years when Britain was still mired in rations and ruins.

The pair married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947.
The pair married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. Matt Holyoak/Camera Press

It's a marriage which has survived in the full glare of the public eye for seven decades and when the Queen spoke of her husband on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, she called him her "strength and stay".

In turn, Prince Philip said his wife had qualities of "tolerance in abundance".

For those who follow these things, Monday's GVCO means the Duke of Edinburgh now has four UK order of chivalry breast stars: GVCO, KG, KT and GBE.

The last UK citizen to have four breast stars was Prince Philip's uncle, Earl Mountbatten.

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