When Prince Charles announced to the world he had finally found a Sloaney gal willing to take on the mantle of Queen on February 24, 1981, the interview that followed was a clanger.
The bride, Lady Diana Spencer, was a 19-year-old who had subsisted on a steady diet of Barbara Cartland romance novels and had never had a boyfriend before. If her experience in the dating department was lacking, it was wholly understandable.
As the supposedly happy couple fronted the press on the vast lawn of Buckingham Palace, it seemed as if a fairytale had come to technicolour life. Within hours, those hopes and dreams of her happily ever after shattered – and on camera no less.
As the duo were later interviewed by a suitably toadying reporter, he asked the couple: "And in love?"
"Of course," the bride-to-be giggled, at which point the Prince uttered the four words which have rightly gone down in history as the most thoughtless bon mot since Marie Antoinette ruminated about cake.
"Whatever 'in love' means," Charles responded.
Diana, she would later recount, felt "absolutely traumatised" by his comment.
Now there is another royal engagement story to add to these dismal annals; another happy day which, in hindsight, can potentially be pegged as the moment another royal love story veered badly off course.
On November 27, 2016 it was Charles and Diana's son Prince Harry's turn. Unlike them, this was rom-com worthy stuff. The feminist, activist, self-made woman and the titled "spare" who had up until meeting her, reportedly feared he would never find a woman willing to contend with the madness and scrutiny of a royal life.
Just over a year after the news broke that the trans-Atlantic power couple were an item, there they stood grinning like lovestruck fools next to Kensington Palace's Sunken Garden pond showing off her diamond engagement ring.
The world rejoiced: Diana's son had finally found The One.
Except of course, it wasn't in so many ways.
While the couple's relationship has, outwardly, gone from strength to strength, with the arrival of son Archie and daughter Lilibet, the all-too brief Sussex golden age would last only a smidgen over two years.
Now a new documentary has made the claim that that engagement event, and the way that Harry and Meghan arranged the moment, was the point at which things started to fracture in this tale.
Not with the lovebirds, of course. No. Between them and the media.
In the first part of the BBC's controversial The Princes and the Press which aired earlier this week, host Amol Rajan and other royal journalists argued the unusual way that day in November was carried out set the tone for what would be, and still is, a deeply sour relationship.
"A royal engagement is typically an opportunity for the bride to meet the press informally," Rajan says in The Princes.
"But this one was different. Harry and Meghan stuck a pond between them and the reporters. This was not the type of celebration they [the press] were used to."
As the Telegraph's Camilla Tominey went on to explain (she had broken the original story outing the pair as an item in October 2016), keeping the media at arm's (should that be pond's?) length might have been a miscalculation.
"The initial press conference … was very much done from a distance," Tominey explained. "And then there wasn't really ever a proper meet and greet. Maybe the lack of understanding of what Meghan was all about might have been down to the fact they never introduced her to the press properly."
Richard Palmer, the royal correspondent for the Daily Express, echoed her comments, saying: "One of the mistakes they made was not engaging at all with the media."
By contrast, seven years before when Prince William and the woman formerly known as Kate Middleton faced the media for their engagement, soon after the Windsor recruit was, off-the-record natch, being introduced to the men and women whose job it is to trail the royal family and dutifully report on their every utterance and hat.
"I still have fond memories of [Kate] … showing me her huge sapphire and diamond ring following a press conference at St James's Palace with the words, 'It was William's mother's so it is very special,'" Tominey has previously written.
So, would Harry and Meghan back in 2017 making nice with the Fourth Estate have made a difference?
While those heady early days of the Sussexes' engagement and up until their wedding in May 2018 would see a positively orgiastic outpouring of front page love for the duchess-to-be, that tide did start to turn as she began her working royal life.
The Princes and the Press alleges that it was only "days" after the wedding that the press corps started to hear whispers that all was not well behind palace gates.
Asked by Rajan, "When did you first get the sense that things weren't quite as happy as they were on the wedding day?" the BBC's Royal Correspondent Jonny Dymond replied, "I mean, within days really. Within days … there were stories coming out about, to put it bluntly, about how Meghan behaved towards staff."
Tominey told Rajan: "We were getting briefings that all was not well with the relationship between William and Harry, Meghan and Kate and the relationship between Harry and Meghan and the royal household."
(Omid Scobie, the co-author of Finding Freedom, the biography which Meghan recently had to admit she had okayed an aide to co-operate with, had a different take. "Although Meghan, who of course is pretty media savvy, and from what I heard behind the scenes quite keen to meet with the journalists, Harry was like, 'No you don't realise what could happen if you do sort of step into that arena because it goes downhill from there, you will never win them over, you will never win,'" Scobie told Rajan.)
It would be six months later, in November 2018, that the first story would emerge in print painting Meghan in a less-than-flattering light when The Sun aired claims about an alleged brouhaha which has come to be known as Tiaragate.
"The Queen warned Prince Harry over Meghan Markle's behaviour and attitude before their wedding following a row over the bride's tiara," that story reported at the time.
Things only curdled from there.
On October 1, the couple announced that Meghan was suing the Mail on Sunday's parent company for publishing parts of a letter she had sent her estranged father, with Harry releasing a statement talking about the "painful" impact of "relentless propaganda" of the press. Days later it was also announced that he was suing the owners of the Sun and the Mirror newspapers for alleged phone hacking.
Around the same time, on October 3 and during the couple's highly successful tour of southern Africa in September 2019, Harry was caught on camera scolding Sky News' royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills.
Earlier this year, Harry told Oprah Winfrey that the UK media was one of the reasons they had left.
The question here is, what did Harry and Meghan want and expect? As much as it pains me to my feminist core, royal wives have always faced a gruelling trial-by-media in their early days of HRH life.
In 1981, the Queen summoned the editors of all 21 British papers and the key figures from the major TV networks to Buckingham Palace to ask them to lay off Diana; Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York had to endure being cruelly nicknamed the Duchess of Pork; Sophie, the Countess of Wessex faced the deep embarrassment of being stung by an undercover reporter posing as a Sheikh's aide after which she was forced to close her PR business; and Kate contended with years of being criticised for supposedly being work-shy.
The point is, no one gets a free pass from the nitpicking press, at least in certain tabloid quarters. Nab a prince, get him to the altar and as soon as your tiara is back in the Queen's hands you can expect the media sniping to start.
I am not for a second agreeing with any of this but such is the lot of the royal bride. Also, it must be noted that unlike Diana et al, some of the negative coverage Meghan faced had a despicable racial undertone.
However, it's not as if all the women who came before her enjoyed smooth, oh-so-easy treatment by the Britain media.
While William and Harry both clearly deeply dislike the press, the elder has obviously pursued a tactic of viewing journalists as a necessary blight, and one crucial to further his philanthropic ends.
Harry has refused to toe that line.
When the Sussexes first dropped the Megxit bombshell in January 2020, they simultaneously launched a spiffy website that promised they would "be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work" which would see them "engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists".
Yet since setting up shop in California, the duke and duchess have done interviews or participated in some capacity with Apple+, Forbes, Fortune, Time, Wired, Fast Company, Spotify, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, James Cordern's Late Late Show, America's Got Talent and the Armchair Expert podcast which has an estimated 20 million monthly listeners.
"Grassroots" organisations, these are clearly not. (The notable exception here is their taking part in an October 2020 episode of the Teeenager Therapy podcast.)
It is hard to escape the impression that what Harry and Meghan really take issue with isn't how mainstream a title or show may be but just how much of a platform they will give them to say their piece unmolested by any sort of pesky cross-examination.
There does seem to be a curious blind spot still at play here. Earlier this month, the former Suits star took part in The New York Times' DealBook Summit. When journalist Ross Sorkin told her, "If you read the tabloids, you can read all sorts of crazy things about being a boss," she replied, "Well, first I would urge you not to read tabloids, because I don't think that that's healthy for anyone."
The issue here is that it was The London Times which broke the bullying allegations. You know, one of the UK's oldest and most serious newspapers. The National Enquirer this is not.
Some sections of the UK press clearly have a lot – a lot – to answer for (for example, it emerged in a 2014 court case that Kate's phone had been hacked 155 times when she was dating William), but to reject everyone with a notebook or a camera as a malicious actor hellbent on causing pain doesn't jibe either.
If Harry and Meghan had handled their engagement media call differently, if there had been some sort of similar off-the-record meet and greet, it is not to say this would have miraculously staved off every snarky headline or negative story – but perhaps it would have showed a certain adult, sanguine acknowledgment that everyone, including them, was there to do a job.
Perhaps things would not have started off on quite such a reportedly prickly foot.
The local newspaper in Harry and Meghan's adopted hometown is called The Montecito Journal. They have yet to give the local publication any sort of interview.
• Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years' experience working with a number of Australia's leading media titles.