Relationships

Basmah Qazi

Prince Philip’s life-changing promise to the Queen

When a 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth crossed paths with Philip Mountbatten she knew immediately that he was the one she was going to marry. Then, fast forward to 1947, the pair tied the knot with the entire nation listening in via radio.

Marriage is about compromise and sacrifice, and as Prince Philip prepared for his new royal lifestyle, there was one thing he gave up for his wife – smoking cigarettes.

Royal author and historian Sally Bedell Smith revealed that the Prince made the decision on the day of their wedding and is a promise he has kept till this day.

“The morning of the wedding, Philip gave up smoking, a habit that had kept his valet, John Dean, ‘busy refilling the cigarette boxes’,” wrote Bedell Smith.

“But Philip knew how anguished Elizabeth was by her father’s addiction to cigarettes, so he stopped, according to Dean, ‘suddenly and apparently without difficulty’."

The now 97-year-old most likely has the ditching of the bad habit to thank for his long life. Similar to his grandfather, Prince Harry also reportedly gave up his habit of smoking before marrying the Duchess of Sussex.

However, despite the royals slowly freeing themselves from the life-threatening addiction, the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret was a lifelong smoker. 

Excessive smoking would ultimately take her life in 2002, as she would suffer from cardiac complications.

The Queen has never been a smoker, with former staff members revealing that the practice did not hold her interest. Speaking to the BBC in 2016, the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter said: “People smoked a lot more when the Queen was younger.”

“Both her father and her sister smoked, but it never attracted her. It was something that just didn’t appeal.”

Scroll through the gallery above to see Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip over the years.