Here's Why Queen Elizabeth And Philip Didn't Share A Bedroom

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had one of the most public marriages out there. According to Brides, when they got married in 1947, everyone wanted to know everything about the couple that would one day sit at the head of the royal family. Then, in the 1950s and 1960s, the media delighted in whispering about Prince Philip's supposed affairs, plural (via Vogue). Patricia Kirkwood, a famous actress, took a hit to her career when she was forced to publicly deny romantic involvement with the prince, despite the royal family's refusal to do so. She subsequently became infamous for (allegedly) declaring "I would have had a happier and easier life if Prince Philip, instead of coming uninvited to my dressing room, had gone home to his pregnant wife on the night in question" (via Marie Claire).

If Queen Elizabeth's silence surrounding the cheating scandals seems surprising to you, well, living like a royal involves a lot of things the layperson wouldn't understand. Some of the customs that are commonplace to them seem out of place to us. A life dedicated to being public symbols naturally makes for a very interesting marriage. And, to have a marriage that's in the spotlight succeed, it takes unorthodox practices, some of them more surprising than others. Take, for example, the fact that, per HuffPost, many royal wedding menus are still, inexplicably written in French. On the other hand, quite a few royal wedding practices might provoke envy. Take, for example, the fact that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip never shared the same bed.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were simply following tradition

One of the peculiar things about their royal marriage is that Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh often spent time apart. During the last years of their life, after Prince Philip retired, they lived in separate residences. But even when the royal couple lived and spent time together, they didn't share a bedroom. That's no indication, however, that the cheating rumors surrounding Prince Philip were true. Instead, it was a question of tradition.

"In England, the upper class always have had separate bedrooms," Lady Pamela Mountbatten told Vanity Fair. "You don't want to be bothered with snoring, or someone flinging a leg around. Then when you are feeling cozy you share your room sometimes. It is lovely to be able to choose."

Some would still argue that separate bedrooms make for a cold or loveless marriage, but it certainly worked for the royal couple. Throughout the ups and downs of over seven decades, nothing broke them apart. On the contrary, time spent alone was valuable to the couple. The Duke of Edinburgh, himself, once told the media that "the secret of a happy marriage [is] to have different interests" (via BBC). As for the queen? "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know," she reflected during her Golden Anniversary speech in 1997.

The sweet time when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were caught in bed together

Not sharing a marital bed doesn't mean that Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth didn't spend time together in bed, at all. As Phillip Eade once wrote in his biography of the prince, during the beginning of their marriage, the couple spent a lot of time in each others' rooms. "Philip had his own bedroom next door to Elizabeth's, an arrangement common to a great many upper-class couples at that time," Eade wrote (via The Sun). But, per Eade, their sheets weren't exactly cold. Instead, the royal couple was used to "enjoy[ing] the visitation rituals which that system involves." In fact, if you believe Eade, one day, the Duke of Edinburgh's valet was mortified to discover the two had slept together all night long upon entering Prince Philip's room in the morning. Per Eade: "While she was wearing her usual silk nightgown, Prince Philip appeared to be naked ... He didn't care at all."

By every account, Prince Philip was always a bit cheeky. The Daily Mirror's James Whitaker once wrote that after someone complimented the queen's blemish-free face, her husband countered, "Yes, she's like that all over." Lucky for Philip, as he once admitted himself, Queen Elizabeth was almost unhumanly patient with him. "I think the main lesson we have received is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage," the prince toasted his wife on his 50th anniversary (via BBC). "You can take it from me, the queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance."