– Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged and set to marry next spring
– Harry is said to have proposed earlier this month to his actress love
– The Queen in a statement said she is ‘delighted’ and wish them happiness
– The divorced American actress upon royal fam joining the royal family might become a princess or be given title Duchess of Sussex when she marries fifth in line to throne
– Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, revealed they were an item a year ago after a four to six-month secret relationship
– They will live in Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace next door to William, Kate, George and Charlotte
– Meghan has quit the hit show Suits and is shipping all her belongings to Britain including her two dogs
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have today announced they are engaged and will marry early next year after days of fevered speculation that he had proposed to his American girlfriend, Daily mail reports.
The couple will appear together on national TV in the UK for the first time this evening to discuss their engagement and whirlwind relationship of 16 months.
Harry, 33, who revealed a year ago he had fallen for the actress after a four to six month secret relationship, proposed to Meghan, 36, in London earlier this month.
Royal protocol dictated that fifth in line to the throne Harry had to ask his grandmother the Queen for permission to marry and she agreed in the month where she celebrated her own 70th wedding anniversary.
In a statement Her Majesty and Prince Philip said they are ‘delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness’.
Harry and his American fiancee, who divorced her first husband in 2013, will move into Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace next door to his brother William and sister-in-law Kate.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said in a joint statement about 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’.
The boys’ father Prince Charles said he was ‘thrilled’ and ‘very happy indeed’ for them.
Harry also asked Meghan’s parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland, who divorced when their daughter was six, for her hand in marriage before popping the question a few weeks ago, it emerged today.
‘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 and Meghan have not said where they will marry but most senior royals marry at Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral or the chapel at Windsor Castle. Sources have said it is likely to be a church wedding.
Meghan could become a princess or alternatively be given the title Duchess of Sussex when she marries the fifth in line to the throne and joins the royal family.
But they are likely to wait until Prince William and Kate have their third child, which is due in April.
The couple will pose for photographs at Kensington Palace later this afternoon and they will also take part in a broadcast interview to be aired this evening.
A Kensington Palace spokesman tweeted today:
‘The Prince of Wales has announced the engagement of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle.
‘Prince Harry and Ms Markle became engaged in London earlier this month. Prince Harry has informed The Queen and other close members of The Royal 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.
‘The wedding will take place in spring 2018. Further details will be announced in due course.’
A date for the wedding has been set for next spring, when the country will scenes echoing Kate and Wills’ own wedding in 2011.
The couple said in a joint statement released by Kensington Palace:
‘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.’
The Suits star is set to move to London having quit the show and has already left her apartment in Toronto.
The announcement marks an extraordinary 12 months since the couple said they were in love after a whirlwind romance where the prince quickly became ‘besotted’, royal sources said.
The 36-year-old actress, who is best known for her role as Rachel Zane in US legal drama Suits, is believed to have charmed the Royal when he visited Toronto in the summer of 2016.
They managed to keep their relationship secret from the world – but it later emerged she had met William and Kate and he had met her family in California.
Their cover was blown when keen observers spotted pictures of them wearing matching bracelets. The Prince also followed the actress on Instagram using a pseudonym.
We are so excited about the impending royal wedding! We will keep posted as more details emerge.