Couples who’ve been married for 70 years share the secret to marital success

We met three Australian women who’ve reached the same landmark as anniversary as the Queen and Prince Philip.
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The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary this month.

We applaud the monarch’s marital achievement – and meet three inspiring Australian women who’ve reached the same happy milestone…

Seventy years ago the world was a different place. World War II had not long ended, cricket icon Donald Bradman became the first Australian to notch up 100 first-class centuries – and Princess Elizabeth was preparing to marry dashing Philip Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh.

On November 20, 1947, the 21-year-old future queen walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey in front of 2000 distinguished guests wearing a rather sumptuous Norman Hartnell gown.

For the first time cameras were allowed into the Abbey and a reel of the lavish ceremony played in cinemas across the globe.

The Princess’s engagement and marriage united Britain – and the Commonwealth – after the deprivations of the war years.

“[It’s a] flash of colour on the hard road we have to travel,” British PM Winston Churchill said at the time.

An amazing seven decades on, the Queen’s marriage to Prince Philip has endured.

Four children, eight grandchildren and five – soon to be six – great-grandchildren later – this month “Cabbage” (Philip’s nickname for the Queen) and the Prince who’s famed for his conversational faux pas will celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary – the first British royal couple to mark the milestone.

So what’s their secret to marital success?

70 years, four children and a lifetime of leadership under their belt certainly deserves a toast!

“I think the main lesson we’ve learned is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage,” Prince Philip has said. “You can take it from me; the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”

The Queen has also paid tribute to the man who’s been by her side for almost three-quarters of a century: “He has quite simply been my strength and stays all these years.”

Of course, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip aren’t alone in celebrating 70 years of wedded bliss. We met three Australian women who’ve reached the same landmark and have their own tips for a long and prosperous marriage.

‘It’s all about give and take’ Glad Jackson, 91, Strathdale, Vic

Glad Jackson’s the first to admit it wasn’t loved at first sight when her future husband Gordon asked if she wanted to dance 75 years ago.

“I thought he was alright-looking but it certainly wasn’t love,” Glad says with a giggle. “Later down the track we just sort of clicked.”

Australia was in the grips of World War II when Gordon, who’s now 93, was posted to the Royal Australian Air Force training centre in Glad’s home town of Ballarat, Victoria.

After meeting at the town hall dance, the pair bonded and recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

“We courted for five years before we got married,” the 91-year-old recalls.

“I didn’t think it was right to get married with a war going on.”

Having grown up on a farm, Glad, a former professional photographer remembers impressing Gordon with her “bushie skills”.

“I could chop wood, kill sheep and drive a tractor,” she says. “My father took Gordon under his wing and taught him how to be a bushie, too.”

They’ve lived in the same house in Strathdale, Victoria, for more than 60 years, have raised three children and dote on their five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

While they’ve experienced their fair share of ups and downs over the years, Glad and Gordon believe it’s only made them stronger as a couple. “It’s all about giving and take,” she reveals.

A shared interest in rocks and minerals has taken the sprightly duo travel around Australia three times in the past seven decades. But Glad firmly believes that pursuing your own interests is another key to a lasting union.

She says, “You can’t live in each other’s pockets all the time.”

‘They said it wouldn’t last’ Beryl Chapman, 87, Coorparoo, Qld

Fact: Beryl Chapman makes a mean strawberry milkshake – just ask her husband Ted.

Beryl was just 15 when Ted, an officer in the Royal Australian Navy, ordered his first shake at the milk bar where she worked.

“He was so handsome he made my heart flutter,” the 87-year-old recalls. “Every time he came in after that I made sure it was me who made his strawberry shake.”

Although love blossomed quickly for the couple, Beryl’s family weren’t too pleased when Ted popped the question a year later.

“They thought I was too young to know what I was doing,” Beryl says with a sigh. “A lot of them said it wasn’t going to last. But we’ve sure shown them, haven’t we?”

Despite their critics, Beryl says she gave Ted, now 92, “a gift that keeps on giving” when they tied the knot on his 22nd birthday.

They’ve since gone on to have two children and are the incredibly proud grandparents of seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

When asked what she thinks is the secret to a successful marriage, Beryl doesn’t hesitate.

“Communication,” she replies. “Like all married couples we’ve probably had a million arguments, but we always make sure we talk things through. Sometimes we have to walk away and cool down and come back to it later, but we always resolve things.”

While Ted has lost his central eyesight over the years and Beryl is hard of hearing, the Coorparoo couple agree they’re closer now than they’ve ever been.

“Getting old has brought us closer together,” she says. “I see for him, he listens for me – and it works.”

‘A wink did the trick’ Joyce Carter, 90, Elermore Vale, NSW

A couple celebrating their platinum anniversary while travelling around Europe is rare. But Jack and Joyce Carter, from Newcastle, NSW, did just that, cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest before enjoying a special dinner on board the ship in Vienna.

“We were treated like royalty on the cruise,” Joyce recalls. “The captain and crew all stood around us, singing and clapping while

they served us wine and chocolate cake.”

Jack was a 16-year-old deckhand on the Stockton ferry when he first met 14-year-old Joyce, who was travelling to Newcastle to attend business college.

“I sensed someone was looking at me and turned and saw Jack,” the 90-year-old says. “I hadn’t met him but he winked at me. That did the trick.”

While Jack, 92, still claims he had something in his eye at the time, the pair became more or less inseparable from that moment on.

Not even World War II could tear them apart, when Jack was posted to Darwin to serve in the RAAF Marine Section’s air-sea rescue unit.

“We wrote every single day,” Joyce reveals. “The war ended on my 18th birthday and it was the best present ever because I knew he would come home and we could be together again.”

The couple went on to marry and have five children and now have 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Although they had to save for 15 years to take their first family holiday, they’ve certainly made up for lost time since Jack retired, enjoying 13 European holidays.

They both believe the key to 70 years together is quite simple.

“We start every day with a cuddle and a cuppa,” Joyce says sweetly.

“We joke a lot, too.” And the adventurous pair tell us their travelling days definitely aren’t over yet.

Joyce says, “We still want to travel around Australia.”

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