A Clarence House statement read:
'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.
Meghan's parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland wished the couple 'a lifetime of happiness'. They said "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". Interestingly, Harry asked Doria for permission - a thoroughly modern prince!
Prince Harry has informed the Queen and other members of the royal family.
During a visit to Poundbury, Prince Charles expressed his delight: "We're thrilled. We hope they'll be very happy indeed".
Prince Charles says he's "very happy indeed" about Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle pic.twitter.com/GJayxreM8G— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 27, 2017
'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 couple will have a Church wedding. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby shared a warm message following the announcement:
“I am absolutely delighted to hear the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are now engaged. I have met Prince Harry on a number of occasions and have always been struck by his commitment and passion for his charities, and his immense love for his family. Marriage is a special and joyous commitment, one that Jesus celebrated together with friends at the wedding in Cana. I am so happy that Prince Harry and Ms Markle have chosen to make their vows before God. I wish them many years of love, happiness and fulfilment and ask that God blesses them throughout their married life together."
Prime Minister Theresa May described the news as "a time of huge celebration for two people in love",
And this gem from Meghan's Suits co-star Patrick J Adams.
The scene outside Kensington Palace as global media assembled throughout the morning.
At 2 pm the newly engaged couple walked down the steps of The Sunken Garden for their official photocall.
The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace was one of Diana's favourite places. It was planted white earlier this year in honour of the 20th anniversary of her passing. The day before the anniversary, Harry, William and Kate visited the garden "as an opportunity for the princes to pay tribute to their mother's life and work." During the visit, Harry noted he would like to keep some of the plants and flowers alive, transporting them to his own Kensington Palace plot to tend them.
Fittingly, three months later, he returned to the Sunken Garden to introduce his future wife to the world.
Reporters on the scene described the couple as "blissfully happy".
The expression on the bride-to-be's face said it all :)
When the couple stepped out, Rhiannon Mills asked the couple: "How are you both feeling". Harry replied "Thrilled, very glad it's not raining as well". Meghan added "So happy thank you". Harry added he knew Meghan was the one "the very first time we met".
Meghan's beautiful trilogy ring was designed by Prince Harry and crafted by the Queen's jewellers Cleave and Company. An enormous amount of thought went into the piece from Prince Harry. The centre stone is from Botswana and the two outside diamonds are from Diana's personal collection. The band is made of gold. Like William, there was no doubt Harry would want his mother to be a significant part of the engagement.
'The ring has plenty of sentimental connections for Harry: The two stones are from his late mother, Princess Diana‘s personal collection, while the other stone is from Botswana, a country that is close to his heart. Harry has often spoken about his love of Africa, and says it’s the place he feels more like himself than anywhere else in the world. He shared his love of Africa with Meghan this past summer on a trip to the continent, which included a visit to Botswana.'
More from Hello!
'Speaking about Prince Harry's exquisite design, 77 Diamonds' David Allen told HELLO! Online: "With two round diamonds supporting what appears to be a 2.5ct cushion cut diamond, the stones are set in white gold with the main band of the ring in yellow gold. A ring of this size and quality would start at around £50,000 but with the use of the late Princess Diana's diamonds as side stones, this ring, like Kate's before it, is of inestimable worth. The last Royal engagement that came with a Trilogy engagement ring was the Countess of Wessex in 1999 to Prince Edward which features a round centre stone and heart shape side stones."
Photographers were thrilled to capture the first photos.
The photocall was quite simply lovely, they only had eyes for each other throughout.
Harry appeared a little nervous with Meghan reassuringly rubbing his arm throughout. Touchingly, Harry wore a black tie because he was in a memorial garden dedicated to his mother. Veteran royal reporter Camilla Tominey said "That photoshoot was one of the most adorable things I've ever seen in more than ten years of royal reporting".
As Meghan said in her Vanity Fair interview they are "a couple in love".
A beautiful photo of Harry and Meghan heading back inside.
A video from the photocall.
And at 6 pm came the engagement interview.
My goodness, what a treat the interview was! The story of their romance is not dissimilar to what one would expect from a fairy tale. The pair were set up on a blind date in July 2016 by a mutual female friend. Meghan revealed: "It was definitely a set up, a blind date." After two dates, which they shared bonding over their passions and interests, Meghan joined Harry for a camping trip under the stars in Botswana.
A transcript of the interview from the Mail Online:
Prince Harry: It happened a few weeks ago, earlier this month, here at our cottage; just a standard typical night for us.
Meghan Markle: Just a cosy night, it was - what we were doing just roasting chicken and having ...
Prince Harry: Roasting a chicken, trying to roast a chicken.
Meghan Markle: 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.
Prince Harry: Of course.
Was it a 'yes' straight away?
Meghan Markle: Yes, as a matter of fact I could barely let you finish proposing, I said - can I say yes now?
Prince Harry: 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 Markle: Yeah.
How long did Harry wait to pop the question?
Meghan Markle: Oh it would be a year and a half, a little bit more than that?
Prince Harry: No just about - it would be about a year and a half yeah.
Meghan Markle: Just about that?
Has it been a whirlwind romance?
Meghan Markle: I don't think that I would call it a whirlwind in terms of our relationship, obviously there have been layers attached to how public it has become after we had a good five, six months almost with just privacy, which was amazing.
But no, I think we were able to really have so much time just to connect and we never went longer than two weeks without seeing each other, even though we were obviously doing a long distance relationship. So it's - we made it work.
How did they first meet?
Prince Harry: Ah yes, we first met - we were introduced actually by a mutual friend, who - we will ...
Meghan Markle: We should protect her privacy and not reveal too much of that.
Prince Harry: We'll protect her privacy yeah. And - but it was - it was literally - it was through her and then we met once and then twice back to back two dates in London, last July.
Meghan Markle: Yes.
Prince Harry: The beginning of July. And then it was I think about three, maybe four weeks later that I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana. And we - we camped out with each other under the stars, we spent - she came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.
Meghan Markle: Just to take the - take the time to be able to go on long country walks and just talk.
Prince Harry: We've been - we've been all over the place.
Has Meghan met the Queen?
Meghan Markle: I have, yes.
Prince Harry: A couple of times.
Meghan Markle: Yes, true, a couple of times.
It's incredible, I think, you know, a) to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honour and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother, all of those layers have been so important for me so that when I met her I had such a deep understanding and of course incredible respect for being able to have that time with her. And we've had a really - she's - she's an incredible woman.
Prince Harry: And the corgis took to you straight away.
Meghan Markle: That's true.
Prince Harry: I've spent the last 33 years being barked at; this one walks in, absolutely nothing ...
Meghan Markle: Just laying on my feet during tea, it was very sweet.
Prince Harry: ... just wagging tails and I was just like argh.
Has Meghan brought her beloved dogs to London?
Meghan Markle: Well I have two dogs that I've had for quite a long time, both my rescue pups. And one is now staying with very close friends and my other little guy is - yes he's in the UK, he's been here for a while.
Int: Okay, let's hope he adjusts well.
Meghan Markle: I think he's doing just fine.
On scrutiny surrounding her ethnicity
Meghan Markle: Of course it's disheartening. It's shame that is the climate in this word to focus that much on that or that it would be discriminatory in that sense. But I think at the end of the day, I'm really just proud of who and I am where I come from. We have never put any focus on that, we've just focused on who we are as a couple. When you take away all the noise it makes it easy to just enjoy being together and tune all the rest of that out.
The stars aligned
Prince Harry: I don't think it's something new. For me, it's another team player as part of the bigger team and you know all of us, all we want to do is be able to carry out the right engagements, carry out our work and try and encourage others and the current generation to be able to see the world in the correct sense, rather than having a distorted view. The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly was sort of confirmation to me all the stars were aligned. It was just perfect. It was this beautiful woman just sort of literally tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life. And the fact that she, I know, she will be unbelievably good at the job part of it is obviously a huge relief to me because she'll be able to deal with everything else that comes with it. We're a fantastic team, we know we are and we hope to over time try to have as much impact for all the things we care about as much as possible.
Meghan Markle: I am very excited about that.
Meghan on her new role:
Meghan Markle: I think what's been really exciting about this as talk about the transition out of my career but into the role is that as you said the causes that have been very important to me. I can focus even more energy on because very early out of the gate I think we realised once you have access or a voice that people are willing to listen to, comes a lot of responsibility which I take seriously and at the same time in the beginning few months and now being boots on the ground in the UK, I'm excited just to really get to know more about the different communities here, the smaller organisations working on the same causes I've always been passionate about. And also being able to go around to the Commonwealth. I think it's just the beginning.
Prince Harry: There's a lot to do.
Meghan Markle: I don't see it as giving anything up. I see it as a change. It's a new chapter.
Working as a team
(Meghan turns to Harry) Now it's time to work as a team with you.
Prince Harry: That sense of responsibility was from day one or a couple of months in when I realised; I know that I'm in love with this girl and I hope she's in love with me. We still had to sit down on the sofa and I still had to have some pretty frank conversations with her to say, what you're letting yourself in for is a big deal. It's not easy for anybody but I know that at the end of the day she chooses me and I choose her and therefore whatever we have to tackle together or individually, will always be us together as a team.
Meghan Markle: That's so nicely said, isn't it?
Prince Harry: She's capable of anything. Together there's a hell of a lot of stuff and work that needs doing. It's going to be making sure our relationship comes first. Both of us have passions for wanting change, change for good.
On introducing Meghan to the family
Prince Harry: What was it like? It was exciting I mean I've - you know I'd been seeing her for a period of time when I - literally didn't tell anybody at all. And then William was longing to meet her and so was Catherine, so you know being our neighbours we managed to get that in a couple of - well quite a few times now and Catherine has been absolutely ...
Meghan Markle: She's been wonderful.
Prince Harry: ... amazing, as has William as well, you know, fantastic support. And then my - my father as well, we had a couple of - no more than that ...
Meghan Markle: We've had ...
Prince Harry: ... A handful of teas and meetings and all sorts of gatherings over at his place as well. So no the family together have been absolutely, you know, a solid support and my grandparents as well have been - have been wonderful throughout this whole process and they've known for quite some time. So how they - how they haven't told anybody is - is again a miracle in itself. But now the whole family have come together and have been a huge amount of support.
Meghan Markle: They've been amazing.
Are the in-laws over the moon with with the engagement?
Meghan Markle: Yes. Well I'm sure the onset, both my parents and my close friends were concerned, because we got very quickly swept up in a media storm that, as I shared, was not part of my life before that, but they also had never seen me so happy. And I think also once my friends - excuse me, were able to - to really meet Harry, and my mom, who we've spent a lot of time with, who is so much fun.
Prince Harry: Her mum's amazing.
Meghan Markle: It was just - you know it was just obvious that no matter what we were being put through that it was just temporary and that we were going to be able to get through that. So everybody was really happy. And he's talked to my dad a few times, hasn't been able to meet him just yet, but it's all been - it's all been worth every effort.
Prince Harry: Yeah, yeah it's been great.
Prince Harry: The ring is - is obviously yellow gold because that's what - her favourite and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana and the - the little diamonds either side are from my mother's jewellery collection to make sure that she's with us on this - on this crazy journey together. And ...
Meghan Markle: It's beautiful, and he designed it, it's incredible.
Prince Harry: Yeah, make sure it stays on that finger.
Meghan Markle: Of course.
What does it mean to have Princess Diana's stones on your finger?
Meghan Markle: 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.
What would Diana have thought of Meghan?
Prince Harry: Oh they'd be thick as thieves, without question, I think she would be over the moon, jumping up and down, you know so excited for me, but then, as I said, would have probably been best friends - best friends with Meghan.
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.
Prince Harry: I'm sure she's with us yeah, you know, jumping up and down somewhere else.
The interview was incredibly refreshing; utterly romantic and filled with adorable little moments between the two. They held hands throughout and finished each other's sentences. Meghan was wonderful, very articulate, personable and warm. It was joyous to watch them interact. From the proposal story to spending time with each other's families, they have taken the time to properly get to know each other's loved ones. The Royal family has clearly been giving its total support, as have Meghan's parents. It was great to hear how involved William and Kate have been too. Meghan and Kate are in very unique positions and will undoubtedly be a great source of support to each other in the years ahead. The media and fans will pit them against each other unfortunately but it's my belief they will become firm friends, it sounds as if they are on that road already. One of my favourite quotes was this (so sweet, it touched Meghan immensely): "It's not easy for anybody but I know that at the end of the day she chooses me and I choose her and therefore whatever we have to tackle together or individually will always be us together as a team."
I think the assumption she's going into this blind are very sorely mistaken; it's evident she is relishing the opportunity her new role will provide and showed a clear eagerness to learn about the UK and explore possibilities in the Commonwealth. Given Meghan's previous work in championing women's issues, she is already deeply passionate about a number of them, and it was hugely encouraging to hear them discuss all they hope to achieve. They are in a unique position and recognise the potential of their royal roles. Meghan is an independent woman, a feminist and she isn't sacrificing any of that to marry the man she loves. I loved hearing her say: "I'm proud of who I am, I'm proud of where I come from." Together, I believe they will do so much good and help to modernise the Royal family in the years ahead.
The interview was conducted by talented BBC presenter Mishal Husain. Ms Husain did an outstanding job.
Meghan looked effortlessly chic in white trench coat by Canadian brand The Line and a green dress from P.A.R.O.S.H.
Meghan's stylish green dress is the P.A.R.O.S.H. Fitted Bow Dress. The fitted wool dress features a round neck, a sleeveless design, a fitted silhouette, a bow detail and a straight hem. The choice was both entirely appropriate and "very Meghan".
Meghan wore her Aquazzura Matilde Crisscross Suede pumps. The nude shoes feature a pointed toe, covered heel counter and padded insole.
Meghan's elegant earrings are the $995 Les Plaisirs de Birks Yellow Gold and Opal earrings.
The Church of England shared a prayer for the couple.
A prayer for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Congratulations on your engagement! #royalwedding pic.twitter.com/BywmNXWTZH— Church of England (@c_of_e) November 27, 2017
'Details of the venue and timing of the wedding are expected to be released on Tuesday, with aides saying only that it will be “a happy church wedding”. March is the most likely month, leaving enough time to ensure Kate is not about to give birth to her third child.'
As Harry said, "she's capable of anything". I firmly believe the Royal family is lucky to have Meghan and there are no limits to what these two can achieve together. I began this post at 10 am and I'm writing this closing paragraph after 8 pm with a glass of bubbly in hand. It is so heartening to see a couple in love so full of joy. These are exciting time for the monarchy. We leave you with these adorable screenshots from the end of the engagement video sent from a lovely reader named Ann from Royale Papote.
They definitely show the couple's fun side on a very special day for them. Yep, I think they were happy with how the interview went :)
Thank you for joining me today; I am immensely looking forward to documenting Harry and Meghan's journey on this blog, and I have every confidence Ms Markle will sparkle! :)
They definitely show the couple's fun side on a very special day for them. Yep, I think they were happy with how the interview went :)
After the microphones were turned off, the couple relaxed and joked around pic.twitter.com/BnH495gTa0— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) November 28, 2017