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There’s something undeniably romantic about a controversial relationship that works out in the end. Who knew that was the case for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip?

Clearly, the Queen and her husband have withstood the test of time. After more than 70 years of marriage, they’re one of the more enduring famous couples out there. But even a long-lasting marriage doesn’t mean things were perfect all the time. In fact, there was a time when they almost didn’t get married thanks to Queen Elizabeth’s father.

King George and Queen Elizabeth
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth | Studio Lisa/Getty Images

King George VI didn’t approve of the marriage

Anyone who’s watched the Netflix series The Crown knows that King George and his daughter Elizabeth were incredibly close. But when it came to choosing a suitable mate, he didn’t exactly trust her judgment. As TIME reported, King George didn’t care for Philip Mountbatten for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost was the issue of ancestry. Philip was a Greek prince and the King would have preferred his daughter to pair up with a British aristocrat. And that’s not all.

King George also didn’t care for Prince Philip’s personality, which supposedly “irritated” him with a “loud, boisterous laugh and his blunt, seagoing manners.”

They had to wait to get married

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip | Keystone/Getty Images)

Despite her father’s protestations, Queen Elizabeth was intent on marrying the handsome Prince Philip, who she first met when she was just 8 years old. But King George VI made the couple wait until Elizabeth turned 21 to announce their engagement.

Not everyone realizes this, but Philip and Elizabeth are distant cousins, too. That wasn’t part of King George’s complaint, however — marrying relatives is more common in the royal than you think.

Prince Philip sacrificed his dream career to marry Queen Elizabeth

Even after Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip got married in 1947 things didn’t always go smoothly. This was partially because Philip had to give up on his dream career to marry his dream woman.

When the two fell in love, Philip was a rising star in the military. “If he hadn’t chosen to marry her, his life would have gone in an entirely different direction,” royal analyst Richard Fitzwilliams explained.

“Philip’s role as Consort is far from the role he would ideally have chosen, in the navy he would probably have risen high had not the King’s failing health forced him to terminate a promising career.” 

Does he regret his decision? Probably not. But he did joke about it during a 1992 interview. When asked if he was happy with his life so far, Philip replied, “I’d much rather have stayed in the Navy, frankly.”

Royal family
Royal family | Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are an uncommon pair

Every marriage is unique and not a single one is perfect. For Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, that means maintaining separate bedrooms but still staying together. It means ignoring or working through rumors of infidelity. Also, it requires sacrifice, commitment, and above all, compromise.

It’s clear that even though her father wasn’t thrilled with the idea, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have proven him wrong!