The world rejoiced when Prince Felipe of Spain met renowned journalist and television presenter Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. The couple broke Spanish royal tradition when they tied the knot on May 22 2004, as Letizia was recently divorced and had no connection to the family.
However, now, with two beautiful children and 17 years spent together, it's clear the pair are a match made in heaven.
But what do we know about the couple's relationship? When did they announce their engagement? And why does Queen Letizia never seem to wear her engagement ring?
Back in 2002, Letizia was busy working at Televisión Española, as an evening news anchor and reporter, so it's likely that the prince noticed her on the screen, however they had never met in real life before.
Prince Felipe of Spain wasn't shy about his romantic intentions. In fact, he reportedly asked a friend to arrange a dinner date, so they had a chance to meet and talk in person. Pedro Erquicia, the journalist friend of the prince, handed over the phone number to Letizia, but it is reported that it took months for them to actually meet and start dating.
The Spanish royals were seriously bent on making the prince settle down and were engrossed in finding a suitable bride for him. Prince Felipe, who was still single at the time and turned 34, had other plans.
He had been pursuing Letizia for a while, but she was reluctant to go out on a date with him. He persistently tried to win her over and had to ask her out four times before the lovely monarch agreed to meet him; they had a wonderful time together. They connected right away and started dating—but kept it under wraps for a while.
Between their first date and their engagement, he fell head over heels in love with soon to be Queen. They dated each other for over a year but kept it a secret until they knew everyone was ready for them to take the next step in their relationship. But, then, the Spanish royal family announced on Nov. 1, 2003, the engagement of King Juan Carlos' son to a young TV journalist named Letizia that shocked the country as the couple hid their dating life from the public eye.
When the news of the royal engagement spread, the excitement was palpable. Fans from around the world started pouring in to congratulate the couple, and people were particularly interested in how the couple had met and when they got engaged.
It was all anyone could talk about. Of course, the world is always interested in what royals wear - so Letizia's engagement ring also quickly became a topic of discussion.
Unlike the typical style of royal engagement rings, which features a centre stone, the engagement ring that Felipe gave Letizia has a different, yet distinctive design. Felipe presented his fiancé with a classic diamond engagement ring with a white gold band and 16 baguette-cut diamonds.
Max Stone, leading diamond expert at Steven Stone, said: "Queen Letizia's engagement ring is very unique in comparison to other royal rings, which mostly feature a large centre stone and perhaps smaller stones either side. Instead, her sophisticated band features 16 vertically set baguette-cut diamonds in either a platinum or white-gold setting. From looking at the ring, it looks like it has a value of around £20,000 to £25,000."
Suárez, a Spanish brand established in 1943, crafted this remarkable piece of jewellery for the Queen Letizia engagement.
It was rumoured that King Felipe's brother-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, helped him pick the engagement ring for his future wife from the designer.
The couple celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary on May 22, 2021.
The couple got married within less than a year of their engagement, but since then, the princess, now the Queen of Spain, has rarely been spotted wearing her engagement ring in public.
In fact, the engagement ring hasn’t been seen since 2012 and instead, regularly opts to wear her Karen Hallam gold-plated ring.
As a result, this led to a lot of speculation as to why Queen Letizia actually stopped wearing this timeless piece.
While it's been reported that Letizia decided to stop wearing it due to its connections to Iñaki Urdangarin, who is currently serving a prison sentence for his involvement in a scandal known as the Nóos case, it's never been confirmed.
Some say that he purchased Princess Letizia's engagement ring; however, this claim has been disproved.
Alongside her engagement ring, the Queen hardly wears any ring these days, not even her super elegant gold wedding band; as once she asserted that she had to meet a lot of dignitaries every day and with the endless handshakes - the ring hurts her hand!