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Lilibet, R. Long after Elizabeth herself had any realization that she would one day be Queen of England, Britons the world over had felt the destiny that lay before her. The curly-haired baby Lilibet had caught their heart and their imagination almost from her birth. As time and unpredictable fortune brought her closer to the throne, Elizabeth had proved herself more & more qualified to occupy it. As a rather fat little girl, as an earnest and leggy Girl Guide, as a shy, devoted daughter whose only rebellion took the form of insisting on doing war work like other girls, as a princess in love, as a radiant bride and young mother, Elizabeth grew up before a public which closely watched and freely commented on her progress. There had been a few lifted eyebrows, penciled higher by London's Sunday tabloidsas on the occasion, a year ago, when Elizabeth left her children in London for three months to visit Philip, on naval duty in Malta. But most people saw nothing amiss in the fact that this shy and serious young woman, born to serve and schooled in duty, should have some fun as a service wife at her husband's side. Certainly she returned from the Mediterranean looking tanned and healthier. It was Philip who persuaded her to slim down by forgoing potatoes, sweets and wine, and who encouraged her to become style-conscious, abandoning the fussy fashions of the Windsors for tailored simplicity.
Any lingering doubts of Elizabeth's natural dignity and well-schooled manners were dispelled for good last year, when Elizabeth toured Canada and the U.S. with Philip, earning respect and affection wherever she went.
Unlike his three-year-old son Prince Charles, who on his mother's accession automatically became Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Grand Steward of Scotland, the Duke of Edinburgh has no change in titular status: he is still simply the Queen's husband. It is an awkward and difficult position. His last predecessor was Victoria's German-speaking husband, and Britons took a long time getting used to Albert. Philip, born in Corfu and once sixth in line for the Greek throne, is a great-great-grandchild of Victoria and Albert, like his wife. A British subject, he is by instinct, schooling and tongue thoroughly English. But some still think of him as a foreigner.
It is up to Elizabeth to decide whether and when to elevate him to the rank of Prince Consort. Many expect that she will, at the time of her coronation. But even as a mere ducal husband, 30-year-old Philip is bound to play an influential part in the Queen's affairs. In Canada, exercising his easy charm at his wife's side, and managing to maintain a discreetly subordinate position, handsome Philip proved himself a graceful diplomat, an affable salesman of royalty.