The Countess of Wessex said the sweetest thing about Prince Edward at their engagement announcement

The Wessexes are parents to Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn

The Earl and Countess of Wessex had a memorable occasion to look back on as Thursday marked 23 years since their engagement was announced to the world.

After a long-term relationship, Prince Edward popped the question to Sophie Rhys-Jones just before Christmas in 1998, proposing with a three-diamond ring from British royal jeweller Garrard.

The couple finally announced their happy news on 6 January 1999 and stepped out for a press photocall in the grounds of St James's Palace.

READ: Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex photographed attending church at Sandringham

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WATCH: Sophie Wessex's sweet remark about Prince Edward at engagement announcement

During their interview, the pair were asked why they get along so well and royal bride-to-be Sophie had the sweetest response.

The future Countess, then 33, said: "I think we share a number of interests, we laugh a lot and we have a great friendship."

Edward also agreed and later in the interview said: "We are the very best of friends and that's essential but it also helps that we also love each other very much."

The royal began dating former PR boss Sophie in 1993 after being introduced by a mutual friend several years earlier.

MORE: Countess Sophie's wedding rule was ignored by two royals – details

SEE: Look back at best photos of Countess Sophie and Prince Edward's wedding day

Edward and Sophie on their wedding day

Speaking about his proposal, the Prince, then 34, said: "It's impossible for anybody else to understand why it has taken me so long.

"But I don't think it had been right before and I don't think Sophie would have said yes. Hopefully the fact that she has said yes means I've got the timing right."

Edward and Sophie, who will celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary this summer, tied the knot at St George's Chapel in Windsor on 19 June 1999.

The bride wore a long-sleeve wedding dress designed by Samantha Shaw and borrowed the 'Anthemion' tiara from the Queen.

The Wessexes, who reside at Bagshot Park in Surrey, welcomed their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, in 2003, and their son, James, Viscount Severn, in 2007.

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