Prince Philip and the Queen: Royal is ‘still as charmed and even fascinated’ with wife as ever
They couple have been married over seven decades, a long and devoted marriage in one of the world’s most extraordinary institutions.
Elizabeth married Philip aged 25, and he was 30.
Their pair have done a lot of growing together over the decades. How does a body language expert analysed the pair then versus now.
Judi James gave Express.co.uk her exclusive expert insight.
Prince Philip and the Queen: Elizabeth married Philip aged 25, and he was 30
“When Philip first became engaged to the then Princess Elizabeth their official poses all seemed to emphasize his dominant masculinity and power while Elizabeth’s shy, beaming smiles gave the impression of a besotted teenager,” she explained.
“During this period of their relationship, Elizabeth tended to be posed either seated or standing lower that Philip and rather self-diminished to minimize her size, while he would be splayed out to register dominance and confidence, either looming or leaning over her looking protective: very much the experienced, worldly male to her more innocent, unsure young girl.
“In the fashionable romantic narratives of the time he was the dashing, suave Mr. de Winter to her naïve, inexperienced heroine of the best-seller novel Rebecca.”
However, unlike the romantic ideal of the decade, a man taking the lead in his household, the Queen and Philip’s personal roles were the reverse.
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As the Monarch, the Queen is the head of the Royal Family. This is a dynamic Philip would not have been used to and probably not prepared for.
This dynamic even affected the pair’s wedding.
Judi explained: “There was a hint of the status bias that was to come though, when the focus was very much on Elizabeth during their wedding.
“Philip’s height and his rather dashing posture still gave him a physical dominance while his wide, rather naughty grins at Elizabeth suggested he was urging her gently to relax and have some fun, but it was obvious the more traditional protocols regarding status signals had kicked in.
“There was no touch between the couple and apart from some affectionate glances, no PDAs either.
“They stood apart on the balcony to hail the crowds and while Philip gripped the edge of the balcony with one hand while performing a high ‘hail’ wave to suggest he was keen to look like any other jolly and excited groom on his wedding day, Elizabeth’s pose was more upright and regal as she offered what was to become her classic and tempered royal wave to the crowds.”
Prince Philip and the Queen: Judi James gave Express.co.uk her exclusive expert insight
A major changed in the relationship came when Elizabeth was crowned Queen. The occasions was marked by sadness as it followed the early and fairly unexpected death of her father while she was overseas.
Judi said: “The status signals changed dramatically when Elizabeth became Elizabeth II and Philip kneeled before his young wife in an act of public deference at her coronation.
“Philip retained his dashing and gallant-looking body language poses alongside his wife following her coronation, but much of the more carefree spontaneity seems to have gone from his body language signals.
“There was what looked like some attempt by the couple to present themselves with very even status signals for a while, but for a traditional, old-fashioned naval male like Philip even that non-verbal equality might have been a struggle.
“With time, Philip’s body language seems to have gone onto automatic pilot during royal appearances. Moving back to fall in slightly behind the Queen, his hands went into the signature ‘keeping out of trouble’ clasp behind his back and his still-playful-looking grin became less of a permanent feature. When it did appear it was often seen to announce yet another verbal gaffe for the next day’s headlines.”
Prince Philip and the Queen: The Royal Family tree
However, the initial love that blossomed between the pair appears to still define this couple, Judi said.
She told Express.co.uk: “Perhaps it is what hasn’t changed about the Prince’s body language over the years that is the real revelation.
“Still posing with a sense of personal pride like the gallant and dashing prince, even in his nineties, Philip still retains his rather romantic-looking trait of watching and speaking to his wife in public as though he is still as charmed and even fascinated by her as he was when they were first engaged. He will turn his head and lower it to use eye contact as she speaks to him, while his grin still suggests he is keen to encourage her to enjoy even the most formal royal occasions.
“The response he gets from his wife is equally telling.
“She might be one of the most famous women in the world and she might also be in her nineties with four children and a whole brood of grand and great-grand-children, but the excited, delighted and even slightly coy smile as she responds to Philip looks almost identical to the ‘young girl with a crush’ expression she wore during the earliest days of their relationship.”