The royal couple were photographed opening the card from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children for their 73rd wedding anniversary today. Lockdown rules mean there is no chance of a visit from their family. But the 94-year-old monarch and Philip, 99, will enjoy an anniversary lunch together at Windsor Castle knowing that their great grandchildren are thinking about them. In a touching image, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are seen sitting on a sofa in the Oak Room at the castle, inspecting the colourful card which has a large 73 on the cover, and a message inside from Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and two-year-old Prince Louis.
A small pile of anniversary cards and letters congratulating the couple is on the table in front of them in the picture, taken by Chris Jackson of Getty Images.
And the Queen made sure she was wearing a memento of her honeymoon in the photograph, taken earlier this week.
She is wearing a pale blue double wool crepe dress by Stewart Parvin.
However it is her chrysanthemum brooch, made from sapphires and diamonds set in platinum, that marks it out as an anniversary picture.
It was one of the first pieces of jewellery she received from outside family and close friends.
The brooch was presented to her in 1946 when she launched an oil tanker named the British Princess and she wore it for a photoshoot on her honeymoon at Broadlands, Hants, in 1947.
There have been many other occasions when she has sported it but she wore it again when she and Philip recreated that famous series of photos at Broadlands for their Diamond Wedding anniversary in 2007. Philip, a Second World War hero who gave up his Naval career to support the Queen in her duties, is pictured wearing a Royal Navy tie.
The dashing Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten and the 21-year-old Princess were married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. On some big wedding anniversaries, the Abbey rings its bells for the couple.
However, it is not possible this year because all celebrations of royal events, including bell peals and gun salutes, have been stopped because of the pandemic.
The couple’s enduring relationship has lasted the longest of any British sovereign.
Although in normal years they have often spent weeks or months apart, the Queen and the Duke, who has retired from public duties, have spent lockdowns in England together, isolating at their Windsor Castle home.
Surrounded by a small coterie of staff, who have to isolate from their own families to be able to serve them, the couple have enjoyed lunch together most days and they are expected to enjoy a low-key celebration similarly today. Their long union is seen as a key source of stability within the monarchy.
In spite of Philip’s retirement from public life since August 2017, Buckingham Palace is expected to mark his 100th birthday in June next year.
The Government has also announced plans to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne in 2022.
Last week the Daily Express revealed that royal sources have rejected speculation that she might step down when she is 95 and allow Prince Charles to become Regent.
Instead she has made it clear she intends to fulfil her pledge, made on her 21st birthday, to serve the nation and Commonwealth for her entire life.