When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped out for the first time as an engaged couple on Monday morning, we couldn’t help but be reminded of the day, just over seven years ago, when Harry’s big brother, Prince William, did the same thing with his then-fiancée Kate Middleton.
There were many similarities, of course — beaming smiles, cameras going crazy, a ring with a connection to Princess Diana — but there were also a few differences.
Harry and Meghan chose to have their engagement photocall outside, at the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. William and Kate, on the other hand, did theirs inside, at St. James’s Palace.
The selection of Kensington Palace is a bit more personal than St. James’s Palace: Meghan and Harry will live at Kensington Palace, and it’s also where he grew up.
William and Kate’s photo call was also longer: They posed for photos for four minutes, while Meghan and Harry only posed for a minute and a half.
William and Harry both wore navy suits for the occasion, but of course, all eyes were on their stunning brides-to-be. Kate’s royal blue wrap dress from the now-defunct brand Issa London perfectly matched her sapphire engagement ring. She also wore a pair of nude heels.
For her outdoor photocall, Meghan bundled up in a white wrap coat from Line the Label, a Canadian brand that’s based in Toronto, a city that’s been her home for the past few years while she filmed Suits. She also wore a green dress from the Italian brand P.A.R.O.S.H.
Style expert Hilary Alexander says that this outfit is a sign of Meghan’s style sensibilities — and how they differ from Kate’s.
“It’s completely different,” Alexander says. “It’s a lot more modern. The blue dress was quite conservative, this is stylish and continental. It’s easy chic, you throw it on and wrap it round, it’s very European looking.”
“Meghan is a bit more adventurous than Kate and Meghan has a bit more of a European approach,” she tells PEOPLE. “Having been an actress she’s very accustomed to publicity shots and posing whereas Kate wasn’t.”
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It’s the ring that received the bulk of the attention at both photocalls. Kate’s was very familiar — it’s the same ring that Princess Diana wore throughout her marriage to Prince Charles. Meghan’s ring also has a connection to Princess Diana. Designed by Harry himself, the ring features two diamonds from Princess Diana’s personal collection, as well as a larger, center diamond from Botswana — a country that’s close to Harry’s heart, and one he visited with Meghan earlier this year.
“Its merging modernity with history, which is what their relationship is,” Sophie Goodwin, fashion director at Tatler, tells PEOPLE of Meghan’s ring. “They are respecting the traditions of the royal family, but also they are in a modern world. William and Kate have done the same, merging both worlds and bringing the royal family into this new era. I think they are doing it beautifully and this is just another extension of it, with Harry and Meghan.”
- Reporting by MONIQUE JESSEN