The Queen and Prince Philip still share a special touch and knowing looks after 71 years of marriage — here’s what the body language experts say about them

Photo: Getty.
  • Queen Elizabeth II has been married to Prince Philip for 71 years.
  • Two experts analysed photographs of the pair over time.
  • They rarely show public affection, yet some small gestures suggest that they are still deeply committed to one another.
  • Her Majesty naturally takes the lead but the Duke is never far behind.
  • They share a special touch.

Tuesday, November 20 marks Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s 71st wedding anniversary.

Despite their old age, the pair appear to still be touchingly committed to one another.

They’re not known for wild public displays of affection, but the little they do show reveals a lot, according to body language experts.

Earlier this year, Patti Wood, the author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, and Blanca Cobb, behind Methods of the Masters, analysed photographs of the Queen and her Prince over time – and told Good Housekeeping that little has changed over the years.

While the younger royals are more comfortable with showing their down-to-earth sides to the public, it’s understandable that the older generation is a little more stiff.

Read more:
The best photo from every year of Prince Philip’s royal career

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh marked their platinum wedding anniversary – an impressive 70 years of marriage – in November 2017. They have been through a lifetime of royal duties and, if the rumours are true, even affairs.

Yet the one thing that has never changed is their uncompromising commitment to one another.

Cobb told Good Housekeeping: “When you look beyond the royal formality of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth’s public appearances, you clearly see Prince Philip’s love and adoration for his Queen.”

Philip queen
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh during a visit to the President of Kenya, 1972. Getty / William Lovelace

And the feeling appears to be mutual.

But according to Wood, being the Monarch and all, the Queen feels the need to assert her independence, and she is “always trying to be seen as her own person.”

He naturally lets her take the lead, but he’s never far behind.

Queen philip getting off plane
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive at Tegel airport on the first of their four-day visit to Germany in June 2015. Getty

They even have a special touch that isn’t all about affection.

Queen philip holding hands
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by her husband after the State Opening of Parliament in May 2015. Getty / Carl Court

“This type of hand hold is seen time and time again,” said Wood. “It’s more formal than interlocking fingers but it’s unique to them. It’s their way of reassurance and comfort.”

Although these days, she pointed out, the touch is also for practical reasons, as at 92 years old Her Majesty is not as strong as she once was. “In her older years, the Queen holds hands with the Prince for assistance as opposed to affection.”

Queen philip 3
The Queen and Prince Philip hold hands as they leave St Paul’s Cathedral in March 2015 in London. Getty / Chris Jackson

And the Prince is always dutifully ready and waiting. “He’s constantly looking at the Queen to make sure that she’s ok. He’s completely in tune with her needs,” Cobb added.

During public appearances, you’ll often catch them engrossed in a private conversation, a feat for any couple after a lifetime of marriage.

Queen and her prince
The Queen and Prince Philip attend a concert at Forks Park on July 3, 2010 in Winnipeg, Canada. Getty

And they really do seem to still share the look of love…

… and make each other smile.

Queen smiling
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip talk during Derby Day at The Derby Festival on June 1, 2013 in Epsom, UK. Getty/Danny E. Martindale

Rosie Fitzmaurice contributed to an earlier version of this post.