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Why Harry’s Big News Has Us Thinking Back to Princess Diana and Prince Charles' Engagement

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All this royal engagement talk has us reminiscing about another big moment that will forever be etched in our minds: the Prince Charles Princess Diana engagement announcement. Doesn't it seem like it was a lifetime ago? While many of the royal traditions are the same — the photo call with reporters, the nervous smiles, and the showing off of the gorgeous, glitzy ring — Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shared a moment that was distinctly different from the one his parents, Diana and Charles, had all those years ago.

Diana and Charles Engagement Interview

In 1981, Prince Charles proposed to Lady Diana at a private dinner at the Buckingham Palace. The proposal came right before her trip to Australia, and though Charles wanted Diana to use this time to think it over, she immediately accepted the gorgeous diamond and sapphire engagement ring he presented to her.

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But during the couple's first interview after announcing their engagement, Diana seemed shy and nervous, giving only soft, mumbled answers when she spoke at all, while Charles did most of the talking. Because she was just 19 years old at the time, it made sense to the public that she seemed in over her head (which was perhaps part of Diana's legendary innocence and charm, and what led her to be dubbed "The People's Princess" in later years).

Charles, on the other hand, gave flippant sometimes dismissive answers to reporters' questions. In fact, his answer to whether the couple was in love both confused and bewildered the media. "Whatever 'in love' means," he said at the time, in stark contrast to his young bride-to-be's enthusiastic answer: "Of course!" While some say now it was an early sign of what was to come in the couple's rocky marriage, many also defended Charles by saying it was just typical of the sort of philosophical, overly analytical way he liked to speak.

Whatever hidden meanings could be gleaned from the 1981 engagement interview, it was still an important moment in royal history — and one that many fans of the family will never forget, much like Harry and Meghan's big 2017 moment.

Harry and Meghan Did It Their Own Way, But Diana Played a Part

Harry also proposed to Meghan in a humble yet personal way. According to NBC News, the two were spending a “typical night” in the kitchen of their cottage when Harry popped the question. And like Diana, Meghan couldn’t wait to say yes. "She didn't even let me finish, she said, 'Can I say yes? Can I say yes?' ... and I was like, 'Can I – can I give you the ring?' She goes, 'Oh yes, the ring,'" Harry told NBC News.

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And although Meghan’s engagement ring differs in style, it’s still reminiscent of her late mother-in-law, Diana. While the ring’s center stone comes from Botswana, the two diamonds encasing the middle stone are from Diana’s personal collection.

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“The little diamonds on either side are from my mother's jewelry collection to make sure that she's with us on this crazy journey together,” Harry told the BBC's Mishal Husain in their first interview as an engaged couple.

Meghan said she thought the sentiment was thoughtful and charming. “I think everything about Harry’s thoughtfulness and the inclusion of Diana’s stones and obviously not being able to meet his mom, it’s so important to me to know that she’s a part of this with us,” Markle added. “It’s incredibly special to be able to have this ring which sort of links where Harry comes from and Botswana, which is important to us. It's perfect.”

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Much like his mom, Diana's younger son Harry was the one to make crystal clear how serious his feelings for his bride-to-be are. Even though the couple have been dating for quite a while, Harry claims he knew Meghan was the one from the get go.

"When did I know she was the one?" Harry said in response to a reporter's question during a photo op at Kensington Palace. "The very first time we met."

For more cute moments, check out the happy couple’s official first interview in the video below!

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