How Meghan and Harry’s official engagement photos are a world away from Kate and William’s formal portraits

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From the romantic pose to the risqué choice of dress: How Meghan and Harry’s official engagement photos are a world away from Kate and William’s formal portraits (but both brides-to-be made sure to flash their rings!)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have today released their official engagement portraits
Taken at Frogmore House they see Meghan pose in a dress costing an estimated £56,000
Kensington Palace has said the couture gown was ‘privately purchased’
They are in stark contrast to the official shots released after Prince William and Kate got engaged in 2010

Embracing with their eyes lowered and faces touching, or reclining on the steps of a stately home, holding hands, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s official engagement photos are perhaps the most intimate images ever seen of any royal couple.

The thoroughly modern pair posed for two photographs earlier this week at Frogmore House, one in colour and one in black and white, with Meghan choosing a dazzling Ralph & Russo gown worth an estimated £56,000 (£46,650 before VAT) for the former, and a cream knit by Victoria Beckham for the latter.

Later, touched by the flood of messages of congratulations and support they received after releasing the photos, they shared another, more candid snap captured on the day of their special shoot – and again, the inseparable couple were closely entwined, with a laughing Meghan holding her husband-to-be’s arm with one hand, the other loosely linked to Harry’s.

In almost every respect the portraits, taken by fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski and released by Kensington Palace on Thursday, are remarkably different from those taken to mark Prince William and Kate’s engagement back in 2010 – not least in light of the sheer bodice on Meghan’s couture dress, which the palace has said was privately purchased.

When she and William posed for engagement photos, Kate wore a demure cream dress by British high street store Reiss.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have today released their official engagement portraits taken at Frogmore House, with in an intimate black and white shot seeing the couple pose face to face
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have today released their official engagement portraits taken at Frogmore House, with in an intimate black and white shot seeing the couple pose face to face

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge commissioned Vogue photographer Mario Testino for their portraits seven years ago in November, and at the time they were considered to be ground-breaking.

Like Harry and Meghan the couple released an additional photo of them embracing, cheek to cheek, in casual ensembles including a cashmere jumper from Brunello Cucinell worn by William and Kate nestling close to her then husband-to-be in a cream blouse.

But body language expert Judi James told FEMAIL that Meghan and Harry’s ‘stunningly sexy’ shoot captures an unprecedented level of intimacy when compared to Kate and Wills’ ‘polite snuggling’.

It seems that Harry has opted for a similar approach to his brother but taking it one step further. The couple, who announced their engagement almost a month ago, stand face to face in an intimate pose.

The duo have both kept the eyes closed and Harry rests his forehead on Meghan’s. The 36-year-old actress can be seen touching her partner’s chin while he wraps her inside his wool coat.

Notably the couple have also opted to have the photo published in black and white, something that has not been favoured in royal engagements since colour photography was introduced.

The second photo sees the couple posing on the steps of the house with the bride-to-be in a dress costing almost £50,000
The second photo sees the couple posing on the steps of the house with the bride-to-be in a dress costing almost £50,000

Commenting on the intimate shot body language expert Judi James tells the MailOnline: ‘If there were any protocol about the intimacy levels of royal engagement photos Harry and Meghan have cut right through it with the stunningly sexy poses that show a couple so much in love that the viewer might seem to be intruding.

‘While William and Kate opted for some polite snuggling in their photos Harry has raised the bar by wrapping Meghan into his coat.

‘Harry is clearly openly happy to let the rest of the world know how happy and in love he is and Meghan’s high levels of confidence seem to have allowed him to sidestep the normal formality of a royal romance and show a far more intimate side of their relationship.’

While this portrait certainly showcases a great contrast to the Cambridge’s there are a few similarities.

The bride-to-be can be see flashing her custom made engagement ring designed by Harry before the camera, most likely at the instruction of her photographer – Alexi Lubomirski.

This is similar to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s which saw Kate show off her iconic sapphire engagement ring, famously belonging to Princess Diana.

Meghan and Harry have too chosen to dress down for the photo, with Meghan in a Victoria Beckham jumper and her fiance in a wool coat from Burberry.

However, the choice in clothing could not be more different in the couples’ second photos.

In their second portrait Kate and William stand in the Council Chamber in the State Apartment at St. James’s Palace.

The second photo sees the couple posing on the steps of the house with the bride-to-be in a dress costing almost £50,000
The second photo sees the couple posing on the steps of the house with the bride-to-be in a dress costing almost £50,000

William is dressed in a Turnbull & Asser suit, shirt and tie while his then bride-to-be opts for a high street brand dressed in a cream Reiss dress.

This is a stark contrast to Meghan and Harry. In the second photo the engaged couple sit on the steps of Frogmore House in an informal pose.

While it is not known where Prince Harry’s suit is from Meghan has shied away from the British high street instead opting for an opulent ball gown costing an estimated £56,000.

The dress is by haute couture designer dress features a frothy tulle skirt and sheer beaded panel and costs a total £46,650 without VAT – though it remains unclear whether Meghan paid for the gown.

Commenting on their pose in the second shot Judi says: ‘This is a very intimate pose and a world away from anything the royals have released before. William and Kate were cutely cuddled together for their engagement photos but their poses were far less exclusive in terms of locking out the viewer.’

Meanwhile the the Duchess of Cambridge opted for a dress from high street retailer Reiss as she and William posed in the Council Champer in the State Apartment of St James's Palace
Meanwhile the the Duchess of Cambridge opted for a dress from high street retailer Reiss as she and William posed in the Council Champer in the State Apartment of St James’s Palace

‘They giggled towards the camera to share their happiness and their bodies were close but not to the extent that Harry and Meghan’s are. Harry has his bride-to-be sitting between his legs here in a gesture that shows loving protection along with high levels of sexual attraction.’

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the newly engaged couple’s shoot is that they released a third photo.

Breaking away from tradition an additional black and white shot was shared by Kensington Palace on Instagram as a ‘thank you’ for their engagement wishes.

The photo sees the couple standing full length in a candid pose with the caption reading: ‘Thank you so much for all of the wonderful comments following the release of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle’s engagement photographs.

‘The couple are so grateful for the warm and generous messages they have received during such a happy time in their lives.

‘As a way to say thank you, they have decided to share this candid photograph from the day of their portrait sittings directly with all of you.’

The couple additionally broke a way from tradition by releasing a third photo, which was shared on Instagram by Kensington Palace as a 'thank you' from the couple
The couple additionally broke a way from tradition by releasing a third photo, which was shared on Instagram by Kensington Palace as a ‘thank you’ from the couple

One major similarity between the two couples’ photos is their choice in photographer with both opting for one adept with high fashion and celebrity shoots.

Harry and Meghan opted for celebrated fashion and celebrity photographer Alexi Lubomirski, who has snapped everyone from Julia Roberts to Angelina Jolie.

Royal aides said the couple’s choice of photographer didn’t come from a personal relationship – they simply liked his work.

Mr Lubomirski said: ‘It was an incredible honour to be asked to document this wonderful event, but also a great privilege to be invited to share and be a witness to this young couple’s love for one another.

‘I cannot help but smile when I look at the photos that we took of them, such was their happiness together.’

Kate and William’s official engagement photographs were taken by Mario Testino who is known for his work in fashion photography, particularly in Vogue.

According to Testino: ‘They are in their prime and brimming with happiness. I have never felt so much joy as when I see them together.’

While Testino is noted for his work with celebrities he also has an affinity with the royals that Lubomirski.

Testino has been the photographer of choice for many significant Royal occasions. It was Testino to whom Prince Harry turned to mark his 20th and 21st birthdays, when he photographed the third in line to the throne laughing with his older brother and father.

But it is his portraits of Diana with which the Peruvian photographer will always be most closely associated, a fact of which both William and Kate would have been keenly aware.

Yet again her son’s desire to include his late mother in his current happiness is clear and, set against all that beige and cream, the deep blue of her former engagement ring draws the eye.

AND THEY’RE NOTHING LIKE GRANNY’S!

While Meghan and Harry’s portraits are a far cry from the formal shots taken of Kate and William, they are nothing in comparison to other members of the royal family.

1947: A then Princess Elizabeth stands with Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace in a very stiff pose, while the couple are smiling there is no body contact whatsoever
1947: A then Princess Elizabeth stands with Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace in a very stiff pose, while the couple are smiling there is no body contact whatsoever

Taken long before social media had any influence over the filter or celebrity photographers were on hand to capture a more natural pose, royal portraits were a very formal affair.

From the Queen’s poker straight portrait with Prince Philip to Princess Diana’s playful cuddle with Charles, we track the royal engagement portraits through the ages…

1981: Surprisingly, the portrait taken of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer is the most affectionate in the list. The pair adopt the same relaxed stance as their two sons will over three decades later, opting for simple clothes and giving Diana to show off the ring that would one day be Kate's
1981: Surprisingly, the portrait taken of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer is the most affectionate in the list. The pair adopt the same relaxed stance as their two sons will over three decades later, opting for simple clothes and giving Diana to show off the ring that would one day be Kate’s
1986: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's engagement photo was typical of the era it was shot in. Fergie's hair lived up to the (literally) high standards of the decade and she wore an outlandish three-tiered evening dress in white, black and royal blue. Prince Andrew wears the ceremonial day dress uniform of a naval lieutenant. The pair barely cracked a smile as they posed for photos in Buckingham Palace
1986: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s engagement photo was typical of the era it was shot in. Fergie’s hair lived up to the (literally) high standards of the decade and she wore an outlandish three-tiered evening dress in white, black and royal blue. Prince Andrew wears the ceremonial day dress uniform of a naval lieutenant. The pair barely cracked a smile as they posed for photos in Buckingham Palace
1999: Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys- Jones (Now the Countess of Wessex) pose for their engagement photo in the garden of St James' Palace. Sophie opted for a suit by Tomasz Starzewski. The photo sees the couple in a somewhat more intimate pose with Edward leaning in to place a kiss on Sophie's cheek
1999: Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys- Jones (Now the Countess of Wessex) pose for their engagement photo in the garden of St James’ Palace. Sophie opted for a suit by Tomasz Starzewski. The photo sees the couple in a somewhat more intimate pose with Edward leaning in to place a kiss on Sophie’s cheek

Source: DAILYMAIL MAILONLINE

Tags: Prince William, Prince Charles, Catherin, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Royals, Engagements