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Kensington Palace Sunken Garden Kensington Palace Sunken Garden
Photo: Molly Beauchemin

Details on The Sunken Garden Where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Just Got Engaged

Plus: pictures of the happy couple (and details on the ring!)

By now you’ve probably heard that once perennial bachelor Prince Harry and new American sweetheart Meghan Markle are engaged– but the Sunken Garden where they announced their engagement is worthy of further investigation.

The couple, who posed for official press photos outside of Kensington Palace after their engagement was announced, have been dating since November 2016, but made their first public appearance as an engaged pair on Monday in The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace— a place that was very sentimental for Princess Diana, who would often visit the garden seeking moments of contemplation.

“She would come by the Sunken Garden and she would admire the floral displays in here as they changed through spring and summer and she would chat with [the staff],” Kensington Palace’s head gardener Sean Harkin once said in a video for the Huffington Post. This year, which marked the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, this same garden was transformed into a white memorial garden, which remains free and open to the public.

No details have yet leaked on the specific location and decor of the forthcoming royal wedding, which is scheduled for Spring 2018, but if the engagement location and engagement ring are any indication, the event will honor Diana and the past just as much as it establishes the future of the monarchy. (Markle’s three-stone diamond ring included two diamonds from Princess Diana’s personal collection, as well as a diamond from Botswana, where the couple vacationed to celebrate Markle’s 36th birthday, the Huffington Post reports.)

Photo: Molly Beauchemin

Markle will be the first American to marry into the royal family since Wallis Simpson, an American socialite from Baltimore (Markle will also join the ranks of several American sweethearts, like Grace Kelly, who married His Serene Highness Rainier III, Prince of Monaco in April 1956, and Rita Hayworth, who married Italian-born Prince Aly Khan in May 1949).

The Sunken Garden, of course, has also seen its share of royal activity. Planted in 1908, its grounds previously occupied parts of the castle’s tranquil ornamental gardens and currently models a style of classical gardening that was popular throughout the UK in the 18th century.

The garden is terraced with paving and boasts ornamental flower beds, an ornamental pond with fountains “formed from reused 18th-century water cisterns retrieved from the palace”, according to the official Kensington Palace website, an arched, red-twig lime walk formed from original stock trees, and a series of vibrant, exotic, and colorful plants like geraniums, cannas, and begonias on display throughout the spring and summer.

When Queen Anne was coronated in 1702, she created an English-style garden and added an Orangery in 1704, which is now a favorite brunch spot of Garden Collage editors and fashion bloggers alike. The Orangery‘s beautiful garden setting and “graceful architecture” makes it an excellent, fashionable spot for entertaining away from the city chaos of London.

We recommend visiting the Orangery for afternoon tea service and then strolling the Sunken Garden before heading inside to the Kensington Palace shop in pursuit of Turkish Delight and English-made fine bone china. Harry and Meghan might be the real royalty, but a visit to the Sunken Garden can make anyone feel like a princess.

Interested in other gardens worthy of royalty? Check out the estate at inspired J.K. Rowling to write Harry Potter, or take a look behind the scenes at Agatha Christie’s garden in Devon.

 

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