Prince Charles has honored his mother, Queen Elizabeth, and his late father Prince Philip at a special naval event in the UK recently. The future king attended a graduation ceremony at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, where he gave an emotional speech to graduates from the Lord High Admiral’s Divisions.
Recalling his own father’s special connection to the British navy, Charles told the crowd: “My father, as lord high admiral himself, was extremely proud of his links to this college.”
He then shared a sweet insight into the early days of Prince Philip and then-Princess Elizabeth’s romance back in the 1940s. “And it was here that my mother and father first met in the captain’s garden, while my grandfather, King George VI, carried out the inspection of your predecessors,” he revealed.
Until now, it had been widely understood that the Queen and Philip, who died in April this year, first met in 1934 at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent. Elizabeth, then eight, was only a girl at the time and it wasn’t until the couple met again at the naval college in 1939 that they made a true connection — though it may have been a bit one-sided. By then Elizabeth was 13 and Philip was 18, but the young princess reportedly decided then and there that Philip would one day be her husband.
Over the years they began exchanging letters, and it looks like the young future Queen was right, because in 1947 the couple wed. Prince Charles also shared some of his own memories from the naval college, joking that looking back on his own time there makes him feel his age.
“For myself, it is somewhat alarming to think that 50 years ago I was standing where you are as part of Blake Division on the eve of my own Naval service,” the 73-year-old said. “Which, to this day, I still look back on with great fondness and pride.”
Charles and his brother Prince Andrew both attended the naval college in their youth, following in their father’s footsteps as naval officers. Philip had a long and decorated history with the British navy, serving in a number of honored roles before he retired from public life back in 2017. He was appointed admiral of the fleet in 1953 and served in the role until 2011, when he was conferred the title and office of lord high admiral by the Queen on his 90th birthday.
Prince Philip also carried the title of captain general of the Royal Marines until 2017, stepping back from those duties when he retired four years ago. His eldest son, Prince Charles, now serves as Admiral of the Fleet, carrying on his father’s legacy.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.