Their royal wedding days may be grand public affairs, but the proposals of royalty tend to be a little more low-key. We uncover all of the romantic details of the most iconic royal engagements. From a special private holiday in Kenya à la Prince William and Kate to Prince Harry’s intimate proposal during a cosy night in with Meghan, they are all wonderful in their own way – with some seriously dazzling engagement rings to boot.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
A very low-key proposal was how Prince Harry chose to pop the question to Meghan Markle after a year of dating. The Prince got down on one knee while they cooked dinner together at their home, Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace.
Speaking to Mishal Husain in his first interview after sharing the news, the Prince revealed: "It happened a few weeks ago, earlier this month, here at our cottage; just a standard typical night for us." The proposal caught the actress by surprise while the couple were "trying" to roast a chicken. Meghan said it was "an amazing surprise" and that it "was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee."
However, despite this lovely story that the couple have spoken about, the book Finding Freedom claims Harry actually popped the question to Meghan in August 2017 in Kenya.
Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
They are yet to share further details about the exact moment they got engaged, but Edoardo chose a mini-break to Italy to propose to Princess Beatrice in September. The couple had visited Rome to attend Misha Nonoo’s wedding on 20 September, so it is not known whether their engagement happened then or on a separate mini-break in Italy.
A statement from Buckingham Palace read: "The Duke and Duchess of York are delighted to announce the engagement of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York to Mr. Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. Her Royal Highness and Mr. Mapelli Mozzi became engaged while away for the weekend in Italy earlier this month. The wedding will take place in 2020. Further details will be announced in due course."
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Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel
Crown Princess Victoria and Crown Prince Daniel of Sweden celebrated ten years since their engagement announcement in February. The former personal trainer revealed that he got down on one knee in the grounds of Drottningholm Palace a few weeks before, telling press of the special moment: "It was a lovely sunny day. It was a fantastic atmosphere, I was a little nervous, of course. I was hoping for a yes, but wasn’t completely sure." Crown Princess Victoria added: "And I said: YES YES YES YES!"
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank
Jack Brooksbank chose the perfect place to propose to Princess Eugenie on New Year’s Day in 2018. He popped the question while the pair were on holiday in Nicaragua, and Eugenie told presenter Matt Baker during their TV appearance that she had cried during the "incredible moment".
She said: "The lake was so beautiful, it was a special light and I even said 'this is an incredible moment' and then he popped the question, which was really surprising even though we had been together seven years. It was the perfect moment because we knew it was going to end up this way." She added: "I was over the moon, crying." The Princess has since shared a photo of the idyllic spot where Jack proposed on Instagram.
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Prince William and Kate Middleton
Although the pair didn't officially make the announcement until 16 November 2010, Prince William revealed he proposed to his girlfriend of nine years Kate Middleton while on a trip to Kenya with friends a few weeks earlier in October.
In their first interview after announcing the engagement, William explained he'd planned it for a while and carried his mother's sapphire and diamond engagement ring in his rucksack for three weeks before proposing and was terrified of losing it. Kate called the moment "very romantic," before admitting it was a "total shock," but the couple admitted they'd discussed marriage with each other a lot in the previous year.
Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden
Prince Carl Philip of Sweden popped the question while at home one morning with his partner, Sofia Hellqvist. The Prince woke up first to surprise Sofia and waited nervously for her to stir. "I woke up several times the night before, I do not know if Sofia noticed. I wanted it to be a surprise," he said.
Princess Sofia, who usually wakes up first, shared: "He did manage to surprise me, but I did think he was strangely refreshed that morning." She added: "But I could never believe it would end like this. Everyone who knows Carl Philip notices at once that he is an incredibly humble, warm and kind person. The more I got to know him, the more my love for him grew."
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Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall
After seven years of dating, Mike Tindall proposed to Zara Phillips as they watched a film together at home shortly before Christmas in 2010. The rugby player gave his fiancée a platinum ring featuring a solitaire diamond surrounded by pave-set stones.
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson
Prince Andrew proposed to Sarah Ferguson on his 26th birthday at a place incredibly special to them both – Scotland’s Floors Castle, where they had shared their first kiss. He presented her with a custom-made ring set with a Burmese ruby and 10 drop-diamonds.
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Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones
The Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward proposed to his long-term girlfriend Sophie during a Christmas holiday on Windermere Island in the Bahamas in 1998. He presented his wife-to-be with a white gold ring set with a two-carat diamond and two heart-shaped gemstones.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Another royal 'at home' engagement was between Harry's parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Charles asked for Diana's hand in marriage during a private dinner in Buckingham Palace before she endured on her travels to Australia. He had intended for her to think over the proposal during her time away, but Diana was over the moon with the news and accepted immediately. Diana was given a diamond and sapphire engagement ring – the ring now worn by The Duchess of Cambridge.
Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark
Prince Frederik whisked Mary away to Rome to pop the question, and shared details of the romantic gesture in his biography, Frederik - Crown Prince of Denmark. "I had decided that I'd propose to Mary in Rome and had also organised an engagement ring and made sure that I was able to be alone with her," he shared. "It just worked perfectly. Not just because I wanted to go down on my knee but I did, it's the right way to do it. And then I just said, 'You cannot say no, you must not say no, you'll have to say yes.' And then she said yes and it was beautiful and happy. We were happy and just the two of us."
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