Queen Elizabeth Likely Never Would Have Divorced Prince Philip, Even If She Was Unhappy

Queen Elizabeth has an impressively long-lasting marriage with her husband, the 98-year-old Duke of Edinburgh. But just because she and Prince Philip can proudly say they’ve endured more than seven decades of matrimony, it doesn’t mean these two have had smooth sailing the whole time.

But even though Her Majesty and Philip faced numerous trials throughout their marriage, there was almost nothing he could have done that would cause Queen Elizabeth to request a divorce. That’s because of the queen’s role, her view of marriage, and the long-lasting stigma with divorce that she still stubbornly upholds.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip | Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth fell in love with Prince Philip when she was just a teenager

The young future monarch Elizabeth was instantly smitten with the tall, dashing Philip when he was chosen to give her family a tour of the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon. Elizabeth was 13 and Philip was 18 at the time.

Though her attraction was stronger than his at first, the two began exchanging letters and eventually Philip petitioned Elizabeth’s father King George VI for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The king was reluctant and made the couple wait until Elizabeth was 21.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip married in November 1947 at Westminster Abbey.

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

There’s a chance Prince Philip cheated on Queen Elizabeth

Though the queen doesn’t divulge much about her private life, rumors of infidelity plagued her marriage over the years. Most of the time no specific names were mentioned, but there was one incident that allegedly occurred with a prominent Russian ballerina.

Prince Philip has always fervently denied the accusations and the queen simply doesn’t address them. “Good God, woman,” he replied to a journalist asking about infidelity. “Have you ever stopped to think that for years, I have never moved anywhere without a policeman accompanying me? So how the hell could I get away with anything like that?”

Prince Philip
Prince Philip | Yui Mok – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Almost nothing could make the queen divorce Prince Philip

No one will ever know for sure of the Duke of Edinburgh was unfaithful. But that almost doesn’t matter — there’s almost no chance would divorce Philip, regardless of his potential extramarital dalliances.

For one thing, there’s a certain understanding in the royal family that affairs can be tolerated in marriage. But even beyond that Queen Elizabeth sees her role as the head of the Church of England as an important one. To uphold moral standards, she will do just about anything to avoid divorce.

When Elizabeth married, divorce wasn’t nearly as common or accepted as it is today. Women of the time saw divorce as a form of social suicide. It’s something that Her Majesty would have staunchly avoided despite her personal feelings toward Philip. After all, the queen is well-known for putting her sense of duty above her emotions.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are still making it work

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth | Tim Graham/Getty Images

Even though most members of her family — including her sister, most of her children, and even her grandchildren — chose to end their marriages, Queen Elizabeth keeps on making it worth with Prince Philip.

One way this couple keeps the peace is by maintaining separate lives and giving each other enough space and freedom. For example, Prince Philip had been spending most of his time living more than 100 miles from his wife after his retirement from royal duties in 2017.

Even before that, these two maintained separate bedrooms, which is quite common amongst the upper class. Though it sounds strange, this arrangement has been working for them. Who can argue with 72 years of marriage?