Prince William and Prince Harry are brothers with very different personalities and have had very different romantic relationships. On Monday, Kensington Palace announced Harry’s engagement to actress Meghan Markle, and as more details emerge, we see the contrast in their proposals, engagements and brides-to-be.
More on Harry and Meghan’s engagement here:
British beauty Kate Middleton grew up in a wealthy family in the English countryside and attended top schools. Her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, are the founders of Party Pieces, a Party City-style business that sells party supplies.
Middleton attended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she began dating Prince William, and graduated with a degree in art history. After graduation, she worked briefly as an accessories buyer for the luxe clothing brand Jigsaw and also worked for her parents.
American actress Meghan Markle was born in Los Angeles. Her mother, Doria Ragland, is a social worker and yoga instructor, while her father, Thomas Markle, was a lighting director on TV shows like “Married … With Children” and “General Hospital.” Markle graduated from Northwestern University in Illinois in 2003 with a double major in theater and international relations.
Markle rose her way through the ranks in Hollywood. Early in her career, she was a briefcase model on the game show “Deal Or No Deal.” She appeared on “90210” and “CSI: NY” and had small roles in the comedies “Get Him To The Greek” and “Horrible Bosses.”
Her breakout role came in 2011 when she was cast on the USA Network show “Suits,” which she has appeared on for seven seasons.
Prince William and Middleton began dating at St. Andrews University, where they lived together in group housing with friends. After graduation, Kate worked in London while William pursued a military career.
According to William and Kate: A Royal Love Story, by Christopher Andersen, the strain of their long-distance relationship caused them to break up in 2007 before getting back together later that year.
Prince Harry and Markle met during the summer of 2016 on a blind date in London, having been set up by a mutual friend.
“I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw, there she was sitting there,” Harry explained in their first joint interview after announcing their engagement. “I thought, ‘Oh, I’m really going to have to up my game,’ sit down and make sure I’ve got a good chat.”
The couple had several dates back-to-back and then went on a camping trip in Botswana. The long-distance couple traveled back-and-forth between Toronto, where Markle films “Suits,” and London. They were able to date privately for several months before the media learned they were an item.
On Their Proposals
Prince William and Kate Middleton have never revealed many details about his 2010 proposal, other than to say he proposed to her in Kenya while on a private vacation.
In their first interview as a couple, the prince confessed that they had been discussing marriage for awhile but it took him awhile to get the gumption to propose, which he decided to do and show his “romantic side.” Middleton said the proposal came as a “total shock.”
William reportedly carried her engagement ring, an enormous sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds—which formerly belonged to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales—in a rucksack. (The engagement ring had been returned to Prince Charles after the couple’s divorce.) William said he kept the rucksack with him at all times in Kenya so as not to lose the famous ring before he proposed.
Prince Harry proposed earlier this month in his cottage at Kensington Palace during a “cozy night” at home, Markle said during the couple’s first interview. While roasting a chicken together, Prince Harry got down on one knee and it came as “an amazing surprise,” she said. “It was so sweet and natural and very romantic.”
She continued, “I could barely let you finish proposing—’Can I say yes now?’”
Added Prince Harry, “I had the ring in my finger and I said ‘Can I give you the ring?’ and she said, ‘Oh yes, the ring!’”
Markle’s ring was designed by Prince Harry and made by Cleave and Company, the jewelers to the Queen. It features a large diamond sourced from Botswana alongside smaller diamonds from the collection of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Their Engagement Announcements
Following the news of their engagements, both princes and their brides-to-be met with the media for photocalls and interviews. William and his fiancée seem a bit more stiff and reserved before the cameras, while Harry and Markle are laughing and joking — perhaps due to her experience as an actress.
Prince William and Middleton did their interview with an editor from ITV and spoke about the proposal, their breakup and her family. The prince wore a dark suit and a purple tie, while she wore a royal blue designer dress from Issa London.
During Prince Harry and Markle’s engagement announcement, the prince also wore a blue suit but he wore a dark blue tie. According to the UK’s Mirror, Markle wore a white coat from the Canadian brand Line The Label during their photocall in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. (According to Women’s Wear Daily, the $750 coat was gifted to Markle’s stylist, Jessica Mulroney.) She wore a sleeveless hunter green dress from an Italian label called P.A.R.O.S.H. and suede high heels from Aquarazza.
In both cases, the dresses worn by the royal brides-to-be during their engagement announcements immediately sold out. Fashion brands are now accustomed to “the Kate effect” — their clothes surging in popularity after the duchess is photographed in them — and now need to get ready for “the Meghan effect.”
Yesterday, Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would wed in May 2018 at St. George’s Chapel, an Anglican church located to the west of London. As the wedding date nears, we eagerly await more news about the wedding plans — and how they’ll compare to William and Kate’s!