Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged.
The fifth in line to the British throne confirmed today that he has proposed to American actress Meghan following a one year relationship – and she’s happily accepted.
In a tweet at 10am this morning the palace said: “The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle.”
It’s believed that Harry would have asked his grandmother The Queen’s permission before popping the question.
The statement read: “The wedding will take place in Spring 2018. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.
“His Royal Highness and Miss Markle became engaged in London earlier this month.
“The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.”
Speculation about a royal engagement had been growing in recent months, after Suits star Meghan, 35, was pictured visiting Harry, 32, at Kensington Palace in London, making a public appearance with him during a polo match, and quietly closing her lifestyle blog.
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.'”
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.
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.”
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.”
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, 32, 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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