Queen and Duke of Edinburgh celebrate 69 years of marriage

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The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their 69th wedding anniversary.

Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten married in Westminster Abbey on November 20 1947 when the heiress presumptive was just 21 and her fiance was fresh from serving in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

This year has seen Elizabeth II - Britain's longest reigning sovereign - celebrate her 90th birthday and the Duke - the nation's longest serving royal consort - turn 95. Now they are just one year away from their milestone platinum wedding anniversary.

The Queen and Philip usually spend their weekends at their much-loved home Windsor Castle, where they are likely to mark the occasion privately.

It was in 1939 that Princess Elizabeth was said to have first fallen for Philip as a teenager.

The distant cousins had been at the same gatherings on a number of occasions, but had their first publicised and pivotal meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon, in July of that year when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited with their two daughters.

Dashing, blond-haired, athletic 18-year-old Philip caught Lilibet's eye as he entertained her by jumping over tennis nets.

The king's official biographer, Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, recalled: "This was the man with whom Princess Elizabeth had been in love from their first meeting."

Eight years later, the Princess walked down the aisle, dressed in an ivory silk Norman Hartnell gown, decorated with 10,000 seed pearls, glittering crystals and an intricate 13ft (4m) star-patterned train, to marry Philip. Within five years, she had acceded to the throne. 

Their 69-year union is seen as a key source of stability within the monarchy. On their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, the Queen paid a touching tribute to her husband, saying: "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years."

Here are five facts about the Queen and the Duke's wedding:

:: Philip had two stag parties the night before the wedding - the first at the Dorchester to which the press were invited, and the second with his closest friends at the Belfry Club.

:: The bride's wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David's mine, near Dolgellau.

:: The grave of the Unknown Warrior was the only stone that was not covered by the special carpet in Westminster Abbey.

:: The position of the BBC microphones had to be carefully checked. During a royal wedding in 1934, the Abbey cross hit the microphone suspended above the altar steps.

:: The Princess took her beloved corgi Susan with her on honeymoon to Broadlands, Hampshire, and Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.