LONDON – Britain’s Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle announced on Monday they were getting married next year, saying their relationship had blossomed “incredibly quickly” after meeting on a blind date.
Harry, 33, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and fifth-in-line to the British throne, and Markle, 36, best known for her role in the US TV legal drama Suits, said they had got engaged in London this month and will wed in the spring next year.
“The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was confirmation to me that all the stars were aligned, everything was just perfect. This beautiful woman just tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life,” Harry said in a broadcast interview.
The queen, who had to give her assent for the union, and her husband Prince Philip were delighted, Buckingham Palace said, while Harry also received the blessing of Markle’s parents.
“We’re thrilled. I hope they will be very happy indeed,” his father, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles said.
Harry and Markle, who is a divorcee, met in July 2016 after they were introduced through a mutual friend, with both knowing little about the other.
“I had never watched Suits, I had never heard of Meghan before and I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her. I was like I‘m going to really up my game here,” Harry said.
After just two dates, the couple decided to go on holiday together to Botswana but it was only months later that the prince, the younger son of Charles and his first wife Princess Diana, publicly confirmed their relationship in a rebuke to the media over its alleged intrusion into Markle’s private life.
“I did not have any understanding of just what it would be like,” she said. “Both of us were totally surprised by the reaction,” added Harry, who said they had had a frank conversation about what she was letting herself in for.
It was not until September this year that they made their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto, a sports event for wounded veterans.
Earlier the couple posed for photographs in the grounds of Kensington Palace in central London where the couple will live in a cottage. Asked when he knew Markle was “the one”, he replied: “The very first time we met.”
Markle showed off a dazzling three-stone ring, designed by Harry himself with at its center a diamond from Botswana surrounded by two diamonds taken from the personal collection of his late mother Diana. Harry said she would have been “thick as thieves” with Markle.
“It’s so important to me to know that she’s a part of this with us,” Markle said.
Like William’s wife Kate, Meghan will not become a princess in her own right after marrying Harry. However, Harry, like his brother, is likely to be made a duke when he marries, meaning Meghan would become a duchess.