Royal Couples Who Had Very Short Engagements

Royal couples sure know how to get hitched quickly — which is no small feat, given how lavish and involved their wedding ceremonies are. Often steeped in centuries-old tradition and much pomp and circumstance, royal weddings are extraordinarily detailed and require militant planning. Considering the many intricacies of the multimillion-dollar, globally-viewed affairs, it's quite impressive how expeditiously royal palaces can plan the exchange of marital vows between any one couple.

Buckingham Palace has routinely thrown together opulent weddings in only a few months. While King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla didn't have a traditionally stupendous ceremony when they married in 2005, the institution did pull off their civil ceremony right after the couple got engaged. And even for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's nuptials, which did involve an extravagant wedding at Westminster Abbey, the palace planned and executed the wedding at warp speed. From the British royal family to the Jordanian monarchy, modern history has seen quite a few royal couples swiftly tie the knot.

King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, wed during a civil ceremony on April 8, 2005, just two months after getting engaged. The couples' long-awaited nuptials took place over 30 years after they first began their courtship in 1972, though Camilla was already involved with Andrew Parker Bowles. Camilla wed Parker Bowles in 1973, though Charles begged her not to. 

The king and queen consort continued seeing one another after Camilla married another man, and their decades-long affair infamously carried on during Charles and Princess Diana's relationship. As Lady Di famously told Martin Bashir in their BBC interview, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." According to "The Prince of Wales" by Jonathan Dimbleby, Charles' affair with Camilla was said to have reignited in 1986. However, it's speculated that their involvement spanned Charles and Diana's courtship and engagement as well.

After Charles' affair with Camilla became England's worst-kept secret, the prince and princess officially separated in 1992. Setting off a domino effect, Charles publicly admitted to the affair in 1994, Camilla and Parker Bowles divorced in 1995, and Diana divorced Charles in 1996. Two years after the princess' tragic death in 1997, Charles and Camilla were seen together at a birthday party. Eight years later, they married after one of the shortest British royal family engagement periods in recent history.

King Abdullah II and Queen Rania

Three months following their engagement, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Queen Rania married on June 10, 1993. It was instant chemistry and connection for the couple, who met at a party just six months before they tied the knot. Abdullah told People in 2005, "The minute Rania walked in, I knew it right then and there. It was love at first sight." In a 2016 interview with Stellar magazine, Rania expressed the same sentiment. "He had such a great smile and such infectious energy, we got on really well. And the rest, as they say, is history," the queen said.

Twenty years after their nuptials, Abdullah and Rania attended the weddings of both their children in 2023. In March, Princess Iman and Jameel Alexander Thermiotis wed in a spring ceremony. Three months later, Crown Prince Hussein married Princess Rajwa at Zahran Palace, the very place Abdullah and Rania became husband and wife.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip announced their engagement on July 9, 1947, though Philip reportedly asked for her hand in marriage the year prior. Evidently, King George VI wanted them to wait until she was 21 before they shared the news with the world. The couple was married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, just four months after the engagement announcement. Less than five years after exchanging vows, Elizabeth ascended to the throne and Philip retired from his successful military career to support her reign. They were married 73 years when Philip died in April 2021.

Before they became husband and wife, Philip and Elizabeth met when they were just 13 and 8 years old, respectively. The year was 1934. Then in the summer of 1939, when she was 13 and he was 18, the pair met again at Britannia Royal Naval College. By 1946, the public had caught wind of their romance, thanks to a photo of the two looking lovey-dovey at Lady Patricia Mountbatten's wedding. And the rest is history.

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

On February 19, 1986 — Prince Andrew's 26th birthday — the third of Queen Elizabeth II's four children proposed to his girlfriend of less than a year. Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson said yes, and the pair announced their engagement a month later in March. Four months after the news of imminent wedding bells, the couple was married during a summertime ceremony at Westminster Abbey on July 23.

Andrew and Ferguson met just over a year before they tied the knot. Princess Diana, a childhood friend of Ferguson's, had reportedly been trying to set up the two. Diana requested an invitation be extended to Ferguson for a function at Windsor Castle during Royal Ascot in June 1985, and at the event, the future Duke and Duchess of York became acquainted. The late princess' matchmaking skills proved successful — Andrew and Ferguson were engaged eight months later and married just four months after his birthday proposal.

Their whirlwind romance soon expired, though. The Duke and Duchess of York separated in 1992 after Ferguson could no longer tolerate Andrew being away for most of each calendar year while serving in the British Navy. Their divorce was finalized in 1996, though the former couple has remained friends in the decades that have followed.

King Charles III and Princess Diana

King Charles III and Princess Diana got engaged in early 1981. Diana was just 19 years old, and Charles was 13 years her senior. Their marriage was an infamous disaster due to Charles' ongoing relationship with Camilla, Queen Consort; the fate of the relationship seemed obvious during their engagement interview with ITN. When asked if they were indeed in love, Diana quickly replied, "Of course"; Charles cracked a big smile and deadpanned, "Whatever 'in love' means."

Diana and Charles met in 1977 when she was 16 and he was 29. The monarch struck up a relationship with the late princess in 1980— just months before he asked her to marry him. Diana later admitted to biographer Andrew Morton that the proposal caught her entirely off guard. "I thought the whole thing was hysterical, getting married," she said in the interview tapes featured in "Diana: In Her Own Words." "It was so grown up. Here was Diana, kindergarten teacher. The whole thing was ridiculous."

The palace announced Charles and Diana's engagement on February 24, 1981, and a little over five months later, they said "I do" in a $48 million wedding ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral. 

Prince William and Princess Catherine

Where Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's relationship was at full throttle straight away, Prince William and Princess Catherine's was a Sunday cruise leading up to their October 2010 engagement. The couple met at the University of St Andrews in 2001, and after forming a friendship, they moved in together with two other pals — strictly as friends. In May 2002, William and Catherine reportedly took their relationship out of the friend zone and began forging a romantic connection. They moved into their own flat in 2003, and in 2004, they revealed their relationship to the world. 

While some royals are quick to get down on one knee, William took his time — so much time, in fact, that Catherine earned the nickname "Waity Katie." But by 2010, the wait was over: William asked Catherine to marry him during a vacation in Kenya, bestowing her with Princess Diana's diamond and sapphire engagement ring. The palace announced the couple's engagement in November 2010. Six months after William popped the question, the royal couple wed at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011.

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie

Like Prince William and Princess Catherine, Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie also had a six-month engagement period. Queen Elizabeth II's youngest son met his future wife in 1987, but he was romantically involved with someone else at the time. In 1993, they reconnected at a charity event hosted by the prince. Upon discovering they were both single, Edward and Sophie began dating, and they spent nearly six years together before the prince popped the question. He did so in December 1998 while they were on a getaway in the Bahamas. When the pair was back in England the following month, they shared the news with the public.

Six months after the proposal, the royal couple tied the knot at St George's Chapel on June 19, 1999. Their wedding was a much more casual affair than the usual multimillion-dollar blowouts put on by the palace. The simplified ceremony included a small guest list, a dress code that was relaxed by royal standards, and no military component.

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips

Princess Anne wed Captain Mark Phillips on November 14, 1973, becoming the first of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's children to marry at 23 years old. The couple announced their engagement six months before their Westminster Abbey wedding ceremony, sharing the news that May. 

Anne and Phillips are both champion equestrians, and their shared passion for competitive horse riding is how they were introduced. The two were teammates at the 1971 European championships, then again at the 1972 Olympics where they competed with the British team to win the gold medal in a three-day event. While their love for horses brought them together, it wouldn't keep Anne and Phillips' relationship galloping along. 

After Phillips had an affair and a child with his mistress in 1985, Anne and the army captain separated in 1989. Paternity tests confirmed Phillips as the child's father in 1991, and his divorce from Anne was finalized in 1992 — 10 years after their marital problems were rumored to have begun. 

Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence

While Captain Mark Phillips was confirmed to have cheated on Princess Anne during their marriage, the Princess Royal was also speculated to have been unfaithful. In 1986, Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence began to forge a friendship when he was brought into the royal fold as equerry to Queen Elizabeth II. In 1989, there was a scandal involving Anne and Laurence in which private letters penned by the equerry to the princess were stolen and anonymously sent to The Sun. The notes were turned over to Scotland Yard and weren't ever shared with the public, but many believed their existence to be evidence that Anne was carrying on an affair of her own. The palace acknowledged the existence of the letters, but didn't get into the rumors around the relationship. "We have nothing to say about the contents of personal letters sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend which were stolen and which are the subject of a police investigation," Buckingham Palace said in a statement, per Newsweek

Anne and Phillips officially separated later that year, and a month after their divorce was filed in April 1992, the Princess Royal and Laurence came out as a couple. The exact date of their engagement is unknown, but the two married on December 12, 1992, seven months after their public debut.

Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall

While her parents' relationship certainly wasn't a fairytale brought to life, Zara Tindall's marriage to husband Mike Tindall seems to be of the fabled everlasting variety. The couple met at a pub while Zara was visiting Mike's native Australia in 2003, and a friend of the former rugby player helped set them up. As Mike recalled to the Daily Mail in 2011, "We got introduced but didn't speak that much. Later on, [a friend] gave me her number and said, 'She wants you to text her, to say where you're all going out after the final so she can come along.'"

Seven years after they first connected, the palace announced Zara and Mike's engagement. The proposal wasn't some over-the-top affair. Rather, it was a charming and personal moment between the couple. "I was upstairs, plucking up the nerve to do it, while Zara was downstairs watching television. It was all about shock value — I wanted to catch her when it was quiet and she wasn't expecting anything," he recounted in the aforementioned interview with the Daily Mail. "I walked in there and got down on one knee, with the ring. She was on the sofa, so that made it easier. I said, 'Will you marry me?' She started laughing. She was completely in shock. Then, when she stopped laughing, she said, 'Yes.' That was a relief."

The smitten pair said "I do" seven months later on July 30, 2011, during an intimate ceremony at Canongate Kirk in Scotland.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Speaking of grand fairytales, there isn't a real-life royal love story more enchanting than that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's passionate and protective bond. The couple fell in love out of the spotlight in 2016 and enjoyed a few months to themselves before their relationship hit the tabloids that October. Just over a year later, Harry asked Meghan to marry him, and the palace announced their engagement on November 27, 2017. 

Like Mike Tindall, Harry asked the big question on a quiet night at home. Meghan shared the story with the BBC, recalling, "It was just so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee." She jokingly added, "As a matter of fact, I could barely let [him] finish proposing. I was like, 'Can I say yes now?'" Six months later, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex exchanged vows at St George's Chapel on May 19, 2018.

Harry had a feeling his relationship with Meghan was the real deal early in their courtship. Like, really early. "The second date I was starting to think, 'Wow, this is pretty special,'" he told James Corden in 2021.

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Princess Beatrice, the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2020. Whispers about their romantic relationship began in 2018, and the couple confirmed the speculation in March 2019 with their first public appearance at that year's National Portrait Gallery Portrait Gala. Just a few months later on September 26, 2019, Beatrice and Edoardo shared the news of their engagement with the public. On Instagram, Edoardo wrote, "You will never be alone my love, my heart is your home. Hand in hand, today, tomorrow and forever."

In February 2020, the palace announced Beatrice and Edoardo's nuptials would take place on May 29, 2020. However, due to the global pandemic, the couple had to put their wedding on hold. With a few months of extremely careful planning to meet local guidelines, Beatrice and Edoardo decided to marry in a small ceremony with 20 of their closest loved ones — including the queen — on July 17, 2020, nine months after their engagement.

Princess Iman and Jameel Alexander Thermiotis

Princess Iman is the eldest daughter of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania's four children. She was also the first of the siblings to marry.

The Jordanian royal got engaged to businessman Jameel Alexander Thermiotis on July 5, 2022. The palace announced their impending nuptials the next day. Iman's mother, Queen Rania, also shared the happy news, expressing her excitement on Instagram. "Congratulations my dearest Iman; your smile has always been a gift of love that I've cherished since the day you were born. I wish you and Jameel a life filled with love and laughter," she wrote. 

Eight months after Iman and Thermiotis got engaged, they became husband and wife. The wedding ceremony was held on March 12, 2023, at Beit Al-Urdun Palace. Though the guest list was small, the royal family allowed a portion of the nuptials to be broadcast on state television, which included the couple reading a Quran verse, signing their marriage certificate, and cutting the cake together with a sword. 

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank

Like King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, it was insta-love for Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank. The youngest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson met her future husband during a Switzerland ski trip in 2010. On a 2018 episode of BBC's "The One Show," the two shared that they both felt sparks straight away. "We met when I was 20 and Jack was 24 and fell in love," Eugenie said. Seven years later — three of which they spent as a long-distance couple — the princess and Brooksbank got engaged. 

The couple shared their proposal story with the network, with Eugenie recalling the special moment during their getaway to Nicaragua in January 2018. "The lake was so beautiful. The light was just a special light I had never seen," the princess shared. "I actually said, 'This is an incredible moment,' and then he popped the question, which was really surprising even though we have been together seven years." She added, "I was over the moon. [It was a] complete surprise. But it was the perfect moment, we couldn't be happier."

Nine months later on October 12, 2018, the royal and her fiancé exchanged vows at St George's Chapel, just months after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said "I do" in the same place.