700 years of British royal love stories
As Harry and Meghan put a ring on it, we explore more than 700 years of British royal love stories
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle
The story goes that Harry got down on one knee and proposed to Meghan while they were roasting a chicken at Nottingham Cottage. The couple of the moment managed to keep their engagement secret for weeks, until it was officially announced by Clarence House last November. Harry and Meghan were introduced by a mutual friend in summer 2016, and before long they were camping under the stars in Botswana.
Prince William & Catherine Middleton
In 2001, Catherine set off from her West Berkshire family home to study at Scotland’s University of St Andrews. She graduated in 2005 with a 2:1 in History of Art – and a rather famous friend. In 2010, Prince William proposed to Catherine with his late mother’s blue sapphire engagement ring.
Elizabeth II & Prince Philip (left)
The Queen was eight years old when she met the former Prince of Greece and Denmark at a royal wedding in 1934. Thirteen years later, Philip renounced his own royal title so that the couple could marry. In 2017 the couple reached 70 years of marriage, making the Queen the first British monarch in history to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary.
Victoria I & Prince Albert
Arguably the biggest love story of them all, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s epic bond is evident on a grand scale in London. The money intended for building the Royal Albert Hall was diverted by Victoria following Albert’s death in 1861, so that she could build the nearby Albert Memorial.
Elizabeth I & Robert Dudley (above)
Queen Elizabeth I famously told Parliament: ‘I have already joined myself in marriage to a husband, namely the Kingdom of England.’ She did, in fact, have one other great love. The pair met as children during the 1554 Wyatt Rebellion, when they were both imprisoned in the Tower of London by Queen Mary. Robert died from malaria in his mid-50s, after which Elizabeth kept his final letter by her bed, which she labelled ‘his last letter’.
Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn
Considering his large appetite for wives, it seems a stretch to categorise any of Henry VIII’s marriages as true love stories. There’s no denying however that his marriage to Anne Boleyn has the elements of epic romance. Refused a divorce from his first wife (Catherine of Aragon) by the Pope, Henry tore up the rule book by passing the Act of Supremacy, setting up his own Church of England and empowering himself to grant the divorce in 1533.
Edward III & Philippa of Hainault (above)
We have to travel back to 24 January 1328 for the marriage of this couple. Their union was a calculated, political move, but they were married for 41 years, had 12 children and history suggests they were devoted to each other. Edward spent almost £3,000 on his late queen’s tomb, which is in the Confessor’s chapel at Westminster Abbey.
Edward II & Piers Gaveston
This controversial relationship ended disastrously, but history suggests a deep bond. Piers was raised in the court of King Edward I, yet years later was banished to France after an argument. When Edward became King himself in 1307, he summoned Piers back and made him the Earl of Cornwall. Piers' huge influence over the king was not popular and he was killed by the Earl of Warwick in 1312. Edward ordered his burial in Kings Langley, north of Watford.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then come the babies... Take a look at our royal family photo album here
From top image: William & Catherine © Mario Testino; Harry & Meghan © Alexi Lubomirski via Getty; Elizabeth & Philip, Elizabeth & Robert and Edward III & Philippa © Alamy