LONDON – Buckingham Palace released official photographs Sunday to mark the diamond wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip.
Elizabeth, who has reigned since the death of her father King George VI in 1952, will be the first British monarch to celebrate a diamond wedding anniversary Tuesday.
She was 21-year-old Princess Elizabeth when she married young naval officer Lt. Philip Mountbatten, 26, at Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947.
The pictures, one of which shows the queen looking into Philip's eyes with their arms linked, were taken earlier this year at Broadlands, the stately home in southern England where they spent their wedding night.
Prince Charles was hosting a banquet in his parents' honor later Sunday.
More than, 2,000 people, including senior royals and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, are due to fill the abbey Monday for a service celebrating the anniversary. The guest list includes 20 ordinary Britons who married on the same day as the queen and prince.
Philip was born into the Greek royal family and is related to many of Europe's royal clans. Relatives from the German side of his family were scheduled to attend Monday's service. They were not invited to the wedding in 1947 because of British hostility to its recently defeated World War II enemy.
On the couple's golden anniversary in 1997, Elizabeth praised her husband as "my strength and stay." Philip — renowned for his blunt and occasionally politically incorrect comments over the years — praised his wife's character.
The royal couple will spend Tuesday on a private visit to Malta, where Philip was based with the navy in the early years of their marriage.