Rosie Bowie* The sad news of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing and her magnificently staged funeral is something we shall never forget.
And one thing about the life of the Queen, among the many that we remember about her life, including her remarkable life of service, is the fact that she enjoyed 70 years of marriage, which somehow makes her a standard bearer for that institution, among others that she upheld so well.
They celebrated their platinum wedding in 2017 after being married at Westminster Abbey on 20th November 1947.
Her marriage was certainly not perfect – which marriage is? – but it does exemplify some key features of any successful marriage, including these four things.
First, the mutual support that the two provided one another.
When they got engaged, Prince Philip sacrificed his Greek royal title, his promising naval career, and even his Orthodox religion for Anglicanism. He was the one who broke the news of her father’s death and the one who stood by her on a thousand official engagements and tours, including at the Sapphire Jubilee.
Second, compromise and understanding – and tolerance
Like any successful couple it is necessary to understand the position of the other party and to compromise where necessary.
The Queen and Prince Philip were certainly not in the perfect family and apart from the more recent, unsavoury issues surrounding Prince Andrew, there have been family disputes throughout the marriage, as there will be in any marriage. Yet the couple remained staunch and in unity.
But tolerance is also a part of the successful marriage equation.
As he said in a toast to the Queen on their golden anniversary in 1997, “The main lesson that we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage. It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when the going gets difficult.”
Third, they could laugh together.
It is so important for any couple to be able to laugh together and shake off the tensions and issues that arise from time to time.
Prince Philip was sometimes an unintended master of the faux pas, but also a man with a keen sense of humour, which the Queen enjoyed. She had a lively, if mischievous sense of humour herself and the laughter kept the bond between the two stronger.
Four, soldier on when times get tough
Both the Queen and Prince Philip have military backgrounds and very strong military connections through their roles, but it was the soldiering that they did through their own tough times and their ‘sticking to their guns’ that helped the marriage survive.
“I think the main lesson that we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage.
It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when the going gets difficult. You can take it from me that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance,” Prince Phillip said on their golden wedding anniversary.
Rosie Bowie is a New Zealand marriage celebrant and well known former Matchmaker, based in Wellington who has assisted in the marriage of many couples around New Zealand, as well as assisting in the organising and arrangement of marriages as required. She may be contacted at LinkedIn or through her website at MarriageCelebrantNZ