NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip now have the longest royal marriage in British history.

Back in 1947, Princess Elizabeth married her prince charming, then-naval Lt. Philip Mountbatten, in a lavish wedding that offered a reprieve from the hardships of a war-weary Britain.

Just five years later, it was Philip who broke the news to Elizabeth that her father, King George, had died.

“She became queen, and from that moment on, he has to take a backward step in terms of his own career and his own life,” royal biographer Claudia Joseph said.

Through weddings and wars, beginnings and endings, their marriage has survived and thrived.

“I think, without Prince Philip, the queen would have had a very tough and lonely life,” Joseph said.

She’s the world’s longest-serving monarch, and Philip has been her closest confidante and adviser.

“He is, of course, likewise, the only person who can actually tell the queen absolutely straight  what he thinks, and if he thinks some idea is ridiculous, he will say so,” royal historian Huge Vickers said.

The 91-year-old queen and 96-year-old Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their anniversary with a small family party but no public events.

At Westminster Abbey, where the couple married 70 years ago, bells rang throughout the day in their honor.

Queen Elizabeth has been handing off some of her official duties to Prince Charles and other royals.

Prince Philip retired from public life in August.