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Every royal couple's first official public outing together

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Between engagement announcements and royal weddings there's usually one significant event that every royal couple partakes in to mark the beginning of their new lives together.

A couple's first official public engagement is a tradition that sees each member of the royal family and their fiancé undertake an outing together having announced their upcoming nuptials. As well as being a big milestone in their relationship (and a very public nod of approval from the Queen), it's also usually the first time royal fans can get an up-close and personal glimpse of the soon-to-be newlyweds, setting the tone for their public life together.

From Prince William and Kate Middleton, to Prince Charles and Princess Diana, we take a look back at how some iconic royal couples made their public debuts:

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Three months after their announcing their engagement at Buckingham Palace, Prince William and a then Miss Catherine Middleton undertook their first official royal engagement as a couple.

On 24 February 2011, Kate and William christened a new RNL lifeboat 'Hereford Endeavour' at Trearddur Bay in Anglesey, North Wales, looking very much in love.

Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images

While Prince William opted for a classic navy suit for the occasion, Kate marked her royal debut in a tailored tweed coat, which she accessorised with a black scarf, brown boots and a feathered fascinator – and so the 'Kate Effect' was born!

We're loving Kate's heavy dark eyeliner too, which became a part of her signature look in her early days as a royal.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Anglesey is also a spot very close to the couple's hearts, as they moved to a farmhouse in the island for two years during William's time in the Royal Air Force. It allowed the Cambridges to have time together as newlyweds away from the prying eyes of the media, with William going on to describe Anglesey as "an immensely special place".

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

After their highly publicised courtship, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement on 27 November 2017 at Princess Diana's sunken garden at Kensington Palace.

Less than a week later, the couple made their first official public appearance together when they visited the Terrence Higgins Trust on November 27 in Nottingham. The pair took part in the foundation's charity fair for World AIDS Day, which is a cause very dear to Harry, that his late mother Princess Diana also championed.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Looking every inch the royal couple, the future Duke and Duchess of Sussex sweetly matched their outfits in long navy coats. The former Suits actress finished off her look in a black turtle-neck and a long beige skirt, with slouchy boots for a modern take on royal dressing.

Photo credit: Christopher Furlong - Getty Images
Photo credit: Christopher Furlong - Getty Images

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

The Prince of Wales and a then Lady Diana Spencer made their first official appearance together at a charity event for the Royal Opera House at Goldsmith’s Hall in London in 1981.

Later on, Princess Diana would famously describe the black-tie event, which was also attended by Princess Grace Kelly, as a "disaster" in her secret audiotapes from the Diana: In Her Own Words documentary.

"I remember my first engagement so well. I remember being so excited, I got this black dress from the Emanuels," Diana said, recalling how she was hounded by the press for apparently showing too much cleavage as a royal bride-to-be. "I thought it was OK, because girls my age wore this. I hadn't appreciated that I was now seen as a royal lady."

Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images

At the time Diana thought that black was "the smartest colour you could have at the age of 19" calling the taffeta gown a real 'grown-up dress', much to Charles dismay.

"I remember walking into my husband-to-be's study, and he [reportedly] said, 'You're not going in that, are you? Only people in mourning wear black.'"

Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images

Describing the charity event as a 'horrendous' occasion, Diana said: "I didn’t know whether to go out of the door first. I didn’t know whether your handbag should be in your left hand or your right hand. I was terrified."

The Queen and Prince Philip

After announcing the news of their engagement on 9 July 1947, a then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip marked their debut as a royal couple at Buckingham Palace.

The newly engaged couple happily posed for pictures together to celebrate the wonderful news. Philip looked dashing in his naval uniform, while the future Queen wore a V neck dress, which she accessorised with a two-strand pearl necklace.

Photo credit: Fox Photos - Getty Images
Photo credit: Fox Photos - Getty Images

In their first public outing as a couple, Philip and Elizabeth attended a dance at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh on 15 July 1947, marking the first time the pair had danced together in public.

Photo credit: Keystone - Getty Images
Photo credit: Keystone - Getty Images

Speaking on her remarkable 73-year marriage to Phillip on their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, the Queen said: "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know."

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

After announcing their engagement with a photocall in the gardens at Buckingham Palace, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson made an impressively grand entrance into royal life.

The future Duke and Duchess of York's first public engagement saw the pair celebrate Her Majesty The Queen's 60th Birthday on the famous balcony at Buckingham Palace on 21 April 1986.

Fergie looked every inch the 80s powerhouse in a pale blue skirt suit and her signature red hair styled in bouncy curls, while Andrew (who has since stepped down from his senior royal role, amid accusations of sexual abuse, which he strongly denies) kept things classic in a black suit.

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex

After announcing their engagement in January 1999 following a six-year romance, Prince Edward and a then Sophie Rhys-Jones went red carpet official. The newly engaged couple attended a performance of the ballet 'Dracula' at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London on March 23 1999.

In pure '90s fashion, Sophie opted for a silk skirt suit while Edward wore an off-black suit with a red patterned tie.

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips

The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips made their public debut after announcing their engagement and attended the London premiere of the film Jesus Christ Superstar on 24 August 1973.

Looking radiant in a colourful floral patterned dress, Princess Anne was the picture of 70s glamour while a beaming Captain Mark looked dapper in a black tux.

Photo credit: AFP - Getty Images
Photo credit: AFP - Getty Images

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