Queen Letizia has a 16-diamond engagement ring – but you'll rarely see it

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When King Felipe VI of Spain announced his engagement to Queen Letizia in 2003, the news came as a surprise to many as the couple had been secretly dating for a year – and the royal's choice of ring was just as unexpected.

LOOK: Stunning photos from King Felipe and Queen Letizia's royal wedding

On their 18th wedding anniversary, which falls on 22 May, we're reminiscing about former journalist Letizia Ortiz's stunning engagement ring, which features a whopping 16 diamonds. Instead of a large central diamond like Meghan Markle's rock from Prince Harry or a colourful stone like Kate Middleton's iconic sapphire from Prince William, Letizia was given a white gold band with sparkling baguette-cut diamonds, much like an eternity ring.

WATCH: Most incredible royal engagement rings of all time 

The special piece of jewellery was crafted by Suárez jewellery, a Spanish brand established in 1943, and The Express reported it's worth £20,000.

However, she is often spotted without the dazzling accessory on her ring finger during public appearances. This is not unusual, since many royal ladies have ditched their wedding and engagement rings in favour of dress jewellery in the past. In Letizia's case, her ring of choice tends to be the gold-plated Karen Hallam design.

engagement-ring-letizia
engagement-ring-letizia

The queen's engagement ring is so special

Love Queen Letizia's ring? This stunning style is very similar (and a fraction of the price!)

MORE: Meghan Markle's close friend reveals secret wedding detail no one knew – photo

SEE: Most expensive royal engagement rings revealed in order of price

engagement-ring-eternity-ring
engagement-ring-eternity-ring

18ct white gold ring, £1,500, Goldsmiths

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Six months after the Prince revealed their wedding plans to the world during a news conference at the Zarzuela Palace, they got married in a beautiful wedding ceremony held in Madrid's Almudena Cathedral on 22 May 2004. The big day saw Letizia become a princess – and then, a decade later, when Felipe ascended the throne, a queen.

The bride's elegant wedding dress was designed by 87-year-old Spanish couturier Manuel Pertegaz. Perhaps the most striking feature of the off-white silk dress was a high-standing collar. The collar, like the edging of the rest of the dress, was picked out with heavy white embroidery depicting the fleur-de-lys and ears of wheat – details from the crest of the Prince of Asturias.

queen-letizia-king-felipe
queen-letizia-king-felipe

Their royal wedding in 2004 was incredible

Behind the bride swept a four-and-a-half-meter circular train and she also wore a diamond tiara which Queen Sofia, her mother-in-law, had worn on her wedding day to King Juan Carlos in 1962.

Special guests who received a royal invite included Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Prince Charles and Prince Albert of Monaco.

READ: Royals who remarried after divorce: From Meghan Markle to Princess Anne

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