PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle have confirmed they are engaged to be married.

Clarence House confirmed the news in a statement saying: "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.



The couple got engaged earlier this month in London, where Markle has recently moved after packing up from Toronto.

"Prince Harry has informed Her Majesty The Queen and other close members of his family," the royal family said.

"Prince Harry has also sought and received the blessing of Ms. Markle's parents.

"The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace."



Kensington Palace confirmed the couple will appear for a photo-call this afternoon UK time. They will also take part in a broadcast interview to be aired on Monday.

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.

"We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games 2017. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games 2017. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

EARLIER: AFTER months of speculation, it appears Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may be on the cusp of an engagement announcement.

Bookmakers have now decided to pull all bets on when the engagement will take place, amid rumours that the BBC is primed to share the news.

A Ladbrokes spokesman was quoted explaining to the Daily Mail they are expecting the announcement to be "imminent."

"Meghan has met her Prince Charming and it looks like this fairytale is going to end happy ever after," the spokesman said.

The former Suits actress is reportedly preparing for a move to London. Picture: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage.
The former Suits actress is reportedly preparing for a move to London. Picture: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage.

Adding fuel to the rumours, it's also been reported that the actress has now moved out of her rented Toronto home, where she has lived for the past five years, and is in the process of shipping her belongings to London.

It'll be the news millions of royal watchers all around the world have been waiting on for months, with Harry, 33, making it clear from the very start of the relationship just how serious he was about Meghan, 36.

We were given our strongest hint yet the pair were headed down the aisle in October, when it was reported that senior members of the Royal Family were asked to check for a shortlist of weekends in 2018 that may serve as an appropriate time for an engagement announcement.

Meghan reportedly won the approval of Queen Elizabeth II, during a private meeting over tea at Buckingham Palace recently with her grandson and his partner.

There's no word yet on when or where the couple will decide to get married - but it's likely, given that Harry is sixth-in-line to the throne, they'll be approved to follow royal tradition and marry at Westminster Abbey.

Now based in London, Meghan was spotted Christmas shopping in London on Tuesday 24 November 2017.  Picture: LDNPIX/MEGA
Now based in London, Meghan was spotted Christmas shopping in London on Tuesday 24 November 2017. Picture: LDNPIX/MEGA

So what's ahead for Harry and Meghan should they tie the knot?

While it's clear Meghan's acting career will be over - she reportedly quit her hit show Suits last month - she's likely about to take on a very significant role as a member of the British royal family.

If she marries the Prince, it's expected she'll officially drop her last name and take up the female version of Harry's title. As he is 'His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales, Meghan will be 'Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales'.

A day before the wedding, Queen Elizabeth will bestow a royal peerage to Harry - which Meghan will share as his wife. (Prior to their wedding, Prince William and Kate Middleton were given the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.)

Many royalists agree that Harry is likely to be given the Dukedom of Sussex, although Oxford, Cumberland and Buckingham are also in the running.

Interestingly, no royal bride has ever been allowed to change their name - and Meghan's actual birth name is Rachel. So unless the Queen decrees it, it's entirely possible that's the name with which she will be married and formally addressed once she becomes royal.

Either way, Harry and Meghan's wedding is already one of the most anticipated royal events of all time - and a stunning end to a whirlwind romance.

FIRST MEETING

Prince Harry and Meghan reportedly met in London through friends in July 2016, and began dating shortly afterwards.

There are conflicting reports about exactly who played matchmaker for the pair - many people believe it was Meghan's close friend Misha Nonoo, who was previously married to Alexander Gilkes, a former pupil at Eton and one of Harry's best friends. When Misha was asked about it, she remained suspiciously tight-lipped: "I really can't answer that," she told the Evening Standard.

The other cupid candidate is Meghan's friend Markus Anderson, a consultant for the Soho House Group, who is reported to have set her up on a date with his friend Harry.

Through clever bait-and-switch techniques and the highest level of secrecy, the new couple managed to travel back and forth to see each other between the UK and Canada - where Suits is filmed - for months, with nobody finding out.

PRINCE HARRY SPEAKS OUT

When people finally got wind of the relationship in October 2016, it sparked a storm of intense coverage, with every detail of Meghan's Instagram page and her website The Tig (which has since been shut down) being scrutinised for any clues to confirm the romance - like a picture she uploaded of two bananas cuddling.

 

 

But after nine days of a relentless media frenzy, Prince Harry finally snapped.

In a shock move, the popular royal released an official statement through Kensington Palace warning everyone to back off from his "girlfriend" of a "few months".

The statement also declared that "a line" had been "crossed", after Meghan had been the victim of "abuse and harassment".

"It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm," it read.

"His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public - the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.

"Some of it has been hidden from the public - the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriend; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life."

While Prince Harry acknowledged that some commentators will claim "this is all part of the game", his statement read: "He strongly disagrees. This is not a game - it is her life and his.

"He has asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done.

"He knows that it is unusual to issue a statement like this, but hopes that fair-minded people will understand why he has felt it necessary to speak publicly."

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are reportedly set to announce their engagement soon. Picture: Getty Images
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are reportedly set to announce their engagement soon. Picture: Getty Images

 

It was a first for the prince, and made it clear to everyone that this love story was the real deal. After all, every woman who has been in a serious relationship with Harry (including his ex of seven years, Chelsy Davy) had copped the same media treatment as Meghan - but none had ever provoked a protective response like that.

It was clear Harry was considering proposing to Meghan - after all, Prince William lashed out in a similar defence of his then-girlfriend, the future Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton back in 2007.

GOING PUBLIC

After Harry confirmed the news, the couple became less concerned with secrecy as they continued their romance.

In mid-December, The Sun published the first-ever pictures of the couple together, taken while they were out on a date night in London.

Harry and Meghan were seen walking hand-in-hand along Piccadilly admiring the Christmas lights on their way to a West End show.

The couple were snapped on a date in London. Photo: The Sun
The couple were snapped on a date in London. Photo: The Sun

That month, the couple was also spotted shopping for a Christmas tree, presumably for his two-bedroom cottage within Kensington Palace, where Meghan was also staying over the holiday period.

Then in May 2017, Meghan was photographed dressed to the nines as she watched her boyfriend play polo at the Coworth Park polo club in Ascot, just outside of London.

They were photographed arriving at the airport in Africa as they embarked on a romantic three-week holiday in August to celebrate Meghan's 36th birthday.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk along the runway at the airport in Africa. Photo: The Sun
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk along the runway at the airport in Africa. Photo: The Sun

OFFICIAL ENGAGEMENTS

Prince Harry and Meghan made their first official appearance together in September 2017 while attending the Invictus Games in Toronto.

The couple smiled and held hands as they walked through town, before sitting together to watch the wheelchair tennis event.

Their first official outing together. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Their first official outing together. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

During the Games, Meghan's mother was also spotted hanging out with her daughter's boyfriend, indicating he'd already been given the seal of approval.

The prince and actress' public debut came just weeks after Meghan spoke about their romance for the very first time.

During an interview with Vanity Fair, she said: "We're two people who are really happy and in love."

Meghan also insisted that their relationship hadn't changed anything about her as a person.

"I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it's really simple. We're two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people's perception," she said.

"Nothing about me changed. I'm still the same person that I am, and I've never defined myself by my relationship."


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