Why the Queen and Prince Philip first hid their engagement from the world - report

Reports say they got engaged in 1946

The Queen and her late husband Prince Philip's relationship was a real-life love story, so why were they forced to postpone their engagement and subsequent wedding?

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Her Majesty was just 13 years old when she first met the 18-year-old Prince of Greece and Denmark, and although the pair spent several years getting to know one another and corresponding via letters before developing their relationship, age was reportedly still a concern when they got secretly engaged.

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In 1946, when then-Princess Elizabeth was 20 years old, they supposedly decided to wed during a trip to Balmoral, Scotland – but Elizabeth's family were opposed to her marrying at such a young age. 

Philip told his biographer Basil Boothroyd in 1971: "We used to correspond occasionally. You see, it's difficult to visualise. I suppose if I'd just been a casual acquaintance it would all have been frightfully significant.

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Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip following their engagement announcement in 1947

"But if you're related – I mean I knew half the people here, they were all relations – it isn't so extraordinary to be on kind of family-relationship terms with somebody. You don't necessarily have to think about marriage.

"I suppose I began to think about it seriously, oh let me think, when I got back in '46 and went to Balmoral. It was probably then that we, that it became, you know, that we began to think about it seriously, and even talk about it."

The Queen's sentimental engagement ring

It was one year later in April 1947, when Elizabeth was 21, that her father King George VI gave them permission to wed. The royal couple went on to officially confirm their engagement on 9 July 1947 and hosted a photocall at Buckingham Palace, which allowed the future monarch to show off her new diamond ring.

The dazzling jewel was designed by Prince Philip and made using diamonds that belonged to his mother Princess Alice. The royal received a tiara as a wedding gift from her aunt Tsarina Alexandra of Russia and Tsar Nicholas II, and the stunning Romanov jewels formed part of the Queen's beautiful trilogy ring.

It featured a brilliant-cut stone which has been estimated at 3 carats and was flanked by smaller pavé diamonds. 

The couple on their wedding day in 1947

Philip gave up his Greek citizenship and title became Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, before being given the title the Duke of Edinburgh on his wedding day at London's Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. At the time, Her Majesty opted for a beautifully embroidered bridal gown by Norman Hartnell that she paid for using ration coupons following World War Two.

"Princess Elizabeth with her marvellous complexion and Prince Philip such a devastatingly handsome naval officer. He looked tender, she was adoring. They really were a dream couple," bridesmaid Lady Pamela Hicks told The Telegraph. 

The royal guest list also included the Queen's sister and bridesmaid Princess Margaret, best man David Mountbatten, Marquess of Milford Haven, and kilt-wearing page boys Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent. 

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