Before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: The Most Exciting Royal Engagements Over the Years
Following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement of their engagement in 2017, we decided to take a look back at all the other exciting royal family engagements.
From Princess Diana’s fiancé’s announcement faux pas to how the queen said ‘I do,’ here’s a look back at some of the best royal family engagements.
1. Prince William and Kate Middleton
The last royal engagement belonged to Prince William and Kate Middleton. William popped the question in Africa after eight years of dating (and after briefly breaking up prior to getting engaged).
Why did the prince choose Africa? “I regularly daydream. Africa is definitely one of the places I go to. It does completely settle me down. [Kate] understands what it means to me being in Africa, and my love of conservation,” he said during an interview with CNN. He mentioned he didn’t plan the proposal very far in advance, but he made sure he was ready with his mother’s ring when the time was right.
2. Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles
The engagement of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles actually marked his second engagement. This engagement took place in February 2005. Shortly after the announcement, the couple attended a function at Windsor Castle, where they reportedly looked happy and in love.
Camilla wore a red gown to the function and was showing off her 1920s engagement ring, which previously belonged to the Queen Mother.
3. Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones
After five years of dating and months of speculation, Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones announced their engagement on Jan. 6, 1999. Prince Edward proposed with an Asprey & Gerrard diamond and white gold ring (estimated to cost oner $14,000).
At the photo call, Prince Edward told journalists and photographers that the proposal was a complete surprise. To combat the awkwardness of the Prince Charles’s answer to the same question (more on that on the next page), Prince Edward was sure to let reporters know that the couple was absolutely in love.
4. Prince Charles and Diana Spencer
Diana Spencer and Prince Charles got engaged on Feb. 24, 1981. At the time, Diana was 19, and Charles was 32. He proposed with a ring that was made by royal jeweler, Garrard, and cost $38,000.
Upon announcing their engagement, the two were asked if they were in love. Diana replied, “Of course,” but Charles responded with “whatever ‘in love’ means — you can put your own interpretation there.” As Daily Mail puts it, “His remark was later considered to be a sign pointing to their doomed marriage to come.”
5. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew met each other as children, but it wasn’t until they reconnected at a party in 1985 that they started having romantic feelings for one another. Upon meeting, their relationship moved rather quickly. They started dating soon after the party, and Andrew proposed less than a year later, at age 26 (Sarah was 23).
Andrew designed the ring he proposed to Sarah with, a Gerrard ring with a Burma ruby surrounded by ten drop-diamonds mounted on 18-carat white and yellow gold. In the pictures, the couple took after their engagement announcement, we can see Andrew proudly holding up his fiancé’s left hand, so everyone can get a good look at the ring.
6. Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips
Known for being extremely private, Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips announced their engagement six weeks after their actual engagement. The two met at the Munich Olympics in 1972 (where Captain Phillips won a gold medal), and were engaged the year after.
At their engagement announcement, Princess Anne donned her sapphire and diamond engagement ring (another Garrard original).
7. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
Then-Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten were engaged at the ages of 21 and 26, respectively. When the two announced their engagement, they were beaming with excitement. Elizabeth showed off her engagement ring from Philip — he made it himself using stones from one of his mother’s tiaras.
Philip served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and renounced his Greek royal title to become a naturalized British subject. Ah, the things we do for love.
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