Queen Elizabeth II agreed to share the details of her relationship with Philip, for a royal wedding souvenir book being written by author Betty Shew. The Queen wrote the letter when she was a 21-year-old princess, a few months before she and Philip married in November 1947 at Westminster Abbey – the same location as her coronation in June 1953.
In the letter, written in ink on white paper adorned with the royal crest, the princess reveals how she met Prince Philip at the age of 13 and how the couple had danced at the nightclubs Ciro's and Quaglino's in London.
The Queen wrote: "The first time I remember meeting Philip was at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in July 1939, just before the war. (We may have met before at the coronation or the Duchess of Kent's wedding, but I don't remember).
"I was 13 years of age and he was 18 and a cadet just due to leave. He joined the Navy at the outbreak of war, and I only saw him very occasionally when he was on leave – I suppose about twice in three years.
"Then when his uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, were away he spent various weekends away with us at Windsor. Then he went to the Pacific and Far East for two years as everyone there will know.
"The wedding ring will be made of Welsh gold, but not from the Craigwen mine.
"The engagement ring was made by Antrobus. Princess Alice took it in as Philip obviously couldn't but he designed the ring.
"I don't know the history of the stone, except that it is a very fine old cutting. It was given to me not long before the engagement was announced.
"Philip likes riding but as yet, has not done much racing.
"We both love dancing – we have danced at Ciro's and Quaglino's as well at parties.
"We first started seeing more of each other when Philip went for a two-year job to the R.N Petty Officers School at Corsham – before that we hardly knew each other.
"He'd spend weekends with us, and when the school was closed he spent six weeks at Balmoral – it was great luck his getting a short job first them! Elizabeth."