Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have revealed their wedding venue and month of the nuptials.
In a top secret briefing staff for the royal couple confirmed the wedding of the year will take place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in May.
Additional details about the size of the wedding party, bridesmaids and best men are still firmly under wraps.
The fifth in line to the British throne proposed to American actress Meghan last week while he was trying to roast a chicken – and she happily accepted.
The couple are “extremely grateful” for the happy response to their announcement, adding they were also grateful to The Queen for granting use of the chapel.
They have spent time at Windsor in the last 18 months. The couple are leading the wedding planning process.
The royal family will pay for the church service, music, flowers, decorations.
Meghan and Harry will make their first joint official engagement this Friday on a day out to Nottingham. They will visit the National justice museum followed by a walkabout.
Then join celebrations for world aids day. Then visit Nottingham academy to see the Full Effect programme. Miss Markle can not wait to meet many of the young people Prince Harry has told her so much about. She wants to use this time to get to know the UK. The Queen will attend the wedding.
In the months ahead leading up to the wedding they will carry out engagements.
Ms Markle will be compliant will all immigration laws. She intends to become a UK citizen and retain her US citizenship throughout the process.
She will be getting baptised before the wedding and will be doing some travelling in the next couple of months. Her dog Bogart is now living with close friends and is not coming to the UK.
Her dog Guy is in the UK and will be staying here. She has met George and Charlotte on many occasions.
The happy couple, who joined BBC presenter Mishal Husain for their first TV interview, revealed he proposed “earlier this month” at their cottage.
Meghan admitted it was “sweet, natural and very romantic” and just a “standard typical night in” for the pair.
Speaking about the moment he got down on one knee, Meghan said: “Just a cosy night, it was – what we were doing just roasting chicken and having …”
Interrupting his fiancee, Harry said: “Roasting a chicken, trying to roast a chicken.”
Meghan continued: “Trying to roast a chicken and it just – just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee.”
The actress admitted she “barely” let her husband-to-be finish proposing before she said: “Can I say yes now?”
Harry added: “She didn’t even let me finish, she said can I say yes, can I say yes and then were was hugs and I had the ring in my finger and I was like can I – can I give you the ring? She goes – oh yes the ring.
“So no it was – it was a really nice moment, it was just the two of us and I think managed to catch – catch her by surprise as well.”
Meghan claimed their relationship was not a “whirlwind romance” and revealed she has already met the Queen “a couple of times” – with Harry adding that the corgis took to her “straight away”.
The topic of conversation then turned to the late Princess Diana, who harry believes would have been “thick as thieves “with Meghan.
The American said it was “important” to have the stones on her ring that once belonged to Diana and that Harry’s mother is ” a part of this with us”.
Speaking about Diana’s connection to the ring, Meghan said: “I think everything about Harry’s thoughtfulness is – and the inclusion of that and obviously not being able to meet his mom it’s so important to me to – to know that she’s a part of this with us.
“And I think in being able to meet his aunts and – and also like Julia and just different people who were so important to his mom, I’m able to, in some way, know a part of her through them and of course through him. And it’s – it’s incredibly special.
“And you know to be able to have this which sort of links where you come from and Botswana which is important to us and it’s – it’s perfect.
“So no it’s – you know it is days like – days like today when – when I really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news. But you know with the ring and with everything else that’s going on I’m sure she’s …”
Meghan Markle: “She’s with us.”
Harry added: “I’m sure she’s with us yeah, you know, jumping up and down somewhere else.”
The much-anticipated news was confirmed by Harry’s dad Prince Charles in a brief statement issued at exactly 10am.
In the announcement, the palace said: “His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle.
“The wedding will take place in Spring 2018. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.
“His Royal Highness and Ms Markle became engaged in London earlier this month.
“Prince Harry has informed Her Majesty the Queen and other close members of his family.
“Prince Harry has also sought and received the blessing of Ms Markle’s parents.
“The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.”
It’s believed that Harry would have asked his grandmother The Queen’s permission before popping the question.
The Queen warmly congratulated the pair, saying she was “delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness.”
Today, Kate and Will also added their delight: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said of the engagement: ‘We are very excited for Harry and Meghan.
“It has been wonderful getting to know Meghan and to see how happy she and Harry are together.'”
A statement from Clarence House added: “Ms. Markle’s parents, Mr. Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland have wished the couple ‘a lifetime of happiness.'”
“We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person.
“To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents.”
Harry, 33, has been dating the 36-year-old star, who found fame in the US legal drama Suits, since the summer of 2016.
Their 16-month whirlwind romance blossomed when they met through mutual friends in London and the pair have been almost inseparable in recent months, with Markle said to have virtually moved in to Harry’s home at Kensington Palace.
Her decision to axe website The Tig had led some spectators to predict an engagement wasn’t far off, with royal commentators suggesting Meghan was slowly beginning to close off her personal life to the public in preparation for becoming a princess.
There has also been a wave of unconfirmed speculation that Meghan was introduced to Harry’s sister in law, Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge and her daughter Princess Charlotte in January, again paving the wave for an engagement.
She was rumoured to have met The Queen on Mother’s Day.
Meghan will not become a princess when she weds Prince Harry – which is the same for Kate, who did not become a princess when she tied the knot with Prince William in 2011.
While Kate could be considered a princess by marriage, when Kate and William married, the Queen granted them the dukedom of Cambridge, making Kate Her Royal Highness, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge.
It’s believed The Queen will grant Harry and Meghan a dukedom as well, with the hot favourite being The Dukedom of Sussex, which has been open since 1843, making Meghan, Her Royal Highness Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Harry and Meghan have never spoken publicly about their relationship or how they met, but it’s widely believed they first rubbed shoulders in Canada in 2016, while Harry was in the country to launch his Invictus Games.
Their romance was confirmed in an extraordinary and unprecedented statement released by Kensington Palace in November 2016, which criticised comments made about Meghan online and by social media trolls.
The strongly worded statement showed the world how serious Harry is about Meghan, while slamming “abuse” directed towards her, adding: “Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.
“It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will sat this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part off the game’. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game – it is her life and his.”
It’s the only time Harry and Meghan’s romance has been publicly confirmed – neither has spoken about each other in interviews and they have only been pictured together on rare occasions, most recently at a polo match near Ascot, Berkshire on May 6, where Meghan was seen kissing Harry on the sidelines and cheering him on from the royal box.
In March, it was reported Prince Harry wanted Meghan to move into his cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace – another indication that a royal engagement was on the horizon.
The same month the couple jetted to Jamaica to attend the wedding of Harry’s friend, a sign that Meghan had now been introduced to the royals’ inner circle.
At the time, a source said: “Throughout the day Meghan was putting her arm round Harry, holding his hand and often kissing him. His inner circles of friends say they have never seen him so smitten and believe it is a question of sooner rather than later as to when Harry proposes.
“They were both teased by friends saying ‘you’ll be next’. There were even jokes about Meghan catching the bouquet.”
Meghan grew up in Los Angeles but currently lives in Canada, where her US TV drama, Suits, is filmed. She’s best known for her role as paralegal Rachel Zane.
The brunette was born into a Hollywood family in LA – her father, Thomas W. Markle, is an Emmy Award winning lighting director on shows including US sitcom Married… With Children.
She began her career with roles on US soap General Hospital and holding the briefcase in the US version of Deal or No Deal; she went on to land jobs in major movies including Jennifer Aniston’s Horrible Bosses and Get Him To The Greek, opposite Jonah Hill and Russell Brand.
Other roles have included parts in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 90210 and Without A Trace.
Away from the cameras, the actress holds a double major in theatre and international relations from Northernwestern.
She completed an internship at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina during her degree, and went on to make a name for herself as a charity campaigner, humanitarian and gender equality activist, working as a Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada.
Meghan has frequently travelled abroad to raise awareness for projects including the Clean Water Campaign in Rwanda and the plight of women and children living in slum communities in India.
She also works as a counsellor for the One Young World organisation, a UK based charity that aims to bring the brightest young leaders from around the world together in order to promote positive change.
Meghan was honoured for her humanitarian work by Vanity Fair in March,
This will be Meghan’s second marriage; she was previously wed to film producer Trevor Engleson from 2011 to 2013.
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