'I knew she was the one from the very first day': Beaming Prince Harry says he is 'thrilled' to announce engagement to Meghan Markle as she proudly shows off a sparkling ring made with Diana's diamonds and designed by HIM

  • Announcement made a week after his grandmother the Queen celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary
  • Poignantly Harry chose first photocall in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace - loved by late mother Diana
  • Prince revealed he knew his bride-to-be was 'the one' from their very first meeting and said he was 'thrilled'?
  • Meghan held his hand and rubbed his arm during their first appearance and said: 'So very happy, thank you'
  • Her Majesty has given her blessing and she and Prince Philip say they are 'delighted for the couple'
  • Harry and Meghan got engaged in London earlier this month and to marry in Spring 2018, Prince Charles said
  • Meghan could become a princess or be given title Duchess of Sussex when she marries fifth in line to throne?
  • Pair have not said where they'll wed but it could be Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral or Windsor Castle?
  • 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?said today he is 'thrilled' to be marrying Meghan Markle and admitted he knew the Suits star was 'the one' from 'the first day we met'.

Meghan, 36, also showed the world her engagement ring designed by Harry himself containing two diamonds from Princess Diana's own personal collection set in a gold band.??

The couple will marry in church in spring 2018 after the prince proposed in early November after getting permission from the Queen and Meghan's parents.

Harry looked nervous but happy as they made their first public appearance since the announcement in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace,?much loved by his late mother Princess Diana.

His fiancee stroked his arm lovingly as they spoke to reporters, who asked him: 'When did you know she was the one?' and he replied: 'From the very first time we met'.

He refused to say how he proposed saying: 'That will come later' but when asked if it was romantic he said: 'Of course it was' - but the couple didn't kiss for the cameras.

The prince said he was 'thrilled, over the moon' adding: 'Very glad it's not raining as well.' Meghan said she was 'so happy, thank you' before they wandered back into Kensington Palace beaming.?

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced when and where they will marry next year just 24 hours after revealing they are engaged

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have appeared in public for the first time since announcing they will marry next year as the world glimpsed the American actress' engagement ring

The prince said he was 'thrilled, over the moon' adding: 'Very glad it's not raining as well' and both were full of smiles as they posed
The prince said he was 'thrilled, over the moon' adding: 'Very glad it's not raining as well' and both were full of smiles as they posed

The prince said he was 'thrilled, over the moon' adding: 'Very glad it's not raining as well' and both were full of smiles as they posed at Kensington Palace

Meghan's engagement ring's two outer diamonds are from  Diana's own collection with a central diamond from Botswana - where they went on safari in September - all set within a gold band

Meghan's engagement ring's two outer diamonds are from Diana's own collection with a central diamond from Botswana - where they went on safari in September - all set within a gold band

Harry and Meghan looked over the moon and Harry said he was 'thrilled' and his fiancee said she was 'so happy'

Harry and Meghan looked over the moon and Harry said he was 'thrilled' and his fiancee said she was 'so happy'

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
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

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

Poignantly the royal chose their first photocall in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, much loved by his late mother Diana

The prince said he was 'thrilled, over the moon' adding: 'Very glad it's not raining as well.' Meghan said she was 'so happy' before they wandered back into Kensington Palace beaming

The prince said he was 'thrilled, over the moon' adding: 'Very glad it's not raining as well.' Meghan said she was 'so happy' before they wandered back into Kensington Palace beaming

They will marry next year as the world glimpsed the American actress' engagement ring, designed by Harry himself

They will marry next year as the world glimpsed the American actress' engagement ring, designed by Harry himself

The couple (pictured waving to crowds) appeared together on national TV in the UK for the first time this evening to discuss their engagement and whirlwind relationship of 16 months

The couple (pictured waving to crowds) appeared together on national TV in the UK for the first time this evening to discuss their engagement and whirlwind relationship of 16 months

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk away after posing for the media in the grounds of Kensington Palace

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk away after posing for the media in the grounds of Kensington Palace

As news of their engagement spread across the world today it emerged:

  • Harry and Meghan have been engaged for almost a month but delayed announcement until today;
  • Couple will marry in Spring 2018 - but will likely avoid early April when Kate and William's third child is due;
  • Harry said he is 'over the moon' and knew she was 'the one' on the first day they met in 2016;
  • Prince designed the engagement ring himself. The two outer diamonds belonged to his mother Princess Diana and central stone is from Botswana - where they holidayed in September
  • PM rules out a bank holiday and Windsor Castle's chapel is favourite to host royal wedding;
  • They will do their first TV interview together on BBC One at 6pm;

The happy couple made their first appearance in public since the announcement of their impending nuptials, posing for photographs in the Sunken Garden at around 2pm.

Harry and his brother William had white roses planted there in her memory when the 20th anniversary of her death fell in August.

Kensington Palace said the prince designed Ms Markle's engagement ring himself - using two stones which belong to his late mother.

Harry designed bride-to-be's ring using his mother Princess Diana's diamonds?

Kensington Palace said the prince designed Ms Markle's engagement ring himself - using two stones which belong to his late mother Princess Diana.

The two outside stones are diamonds from the personal collection of Princess of Wales.

At the centre is a diamond from Botswana, a country that holds special significance for Harry who has visited many times since he was a child.

It is also a place the couple has spent time together over the last year and a half, Kensington Palace said.

The band is made of gold and the ring was made by Cleave and Company, Court Jewellers and Medallists to Her Majesty The Queen.

The two outside stones are diamonds from the personal collection of Diana, Princess of Wales.

At the centre is a diamond from Botswana, a country that holds special significance for Harry who has visited many times since he was a child and they went on safari in September.

It is also a place the couple has spent time together over the last year and a half, Kensington Palace said.

The band is made of gold and the ring was made by Cleave and Company, Court Jewellers and Medallists to Her Majesty The Queen.?

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' and this morning huge crowds of tourists and royal fans gathered outside Buckingham Palace.

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: '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.

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'.

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, especially after the Archbishop of Canterbury gave his blessing today.

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.??

Bookmakers refused to take any more bets on the couple getting engaged last week as Meghan landed in London and started moving her belongings and two dogs to the UK.

Social media went into meltdown but they have had to wait until today to hear that the fifth-in-line to the throne has proposed to his actress girlfriend.?

Harry and Meghan look delighted to be getting married as they walked along the top of the walled garden where they appeared together for the first time

Harry and Meghan look delighted to be getting married as they walked along the top of the walled garden where they appeared together for the first time

Harry, wearing a blue suit and tie, said he was 'thrilled' as he expressed his love for Meghan, who he will marry next year

Harry, wearing a blue suit and tie, said he was 'thrilled' as he expressed his love for Meghan, who he will marry next year

The garden was a favourite of his mother Diana's, who lived there until her death 20 years ago

The garden was a favourite of his mother Diana's, who lived there until her death 20 years ago

Harry and Meghan will marry next year with Windsor Castle the favourite ahead of Westminster Abbey or St Paul's

Harry and Meghan will marry next year with Windsor Castle the favourite ahead of Westminster Abbey or St Paul's

Make like Meghan in a wrap coat by Line The Label

It's the good news we've all been waiting to hear. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged!

The pair posed for a photocall in the gardens of Kensington Palace after announcing that Harry has popped the question, and of course the Meghan looked beautiful in white. We can't wait to see what she'll wear to walk down the aisle, but this chic coat by Line The Label will keep us ticking over until next year!

The belt cinched the brunette beauty's tiny waist while the shawl collar neckline makes for a confident and sophisticated silhouette.

Cream was the perfect color for the bride-to-be but also a glamorous selection for one looking to nail down their winter white ensemble. Neutral hues always seem like the obvious choice thanks to their versatility and you can never go wrong with a plush wool blend for warmth.

Sadly Meghan's exact coat isn't available to buy, but click through to make sure this Canadian brand is on your radar. Or with Meghan in mind, wrap up in one of the lookalike coats we've got lined up for you in the edit below!

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Harry grips his fiancee's hand as they walk over paving slabs in the London garden as she flicked hair out of her face

Harry grips his fiancee's hand as they walk over paving slabs in the London garden as she flicked hair out of her face

Harry and Meghan admired the ring the prince had designed as they spoke briefly to reporters
Harry and Meghan admired the ring the prince had designed as they spoke briefly to reporters

Harry and Meghan admired the ring the prince had designed as they spoke briefly to reporters?

Meghan would not let go of his hand and laughed and smiled when he spoke but said little herself

Meghan would not let go of his hand and laughed and smiled when he spoke but said little herself

Meghan waved more enthusiastically than Harry but she only said two words during the 90 second photocall

Meghan waved more enthusiastically than Harry but she only said two words during the 90 second photocall

At one point Harry joked that he was glad it wasn't raining and made his fiancee laugh out loud?

At one point Harry joked that he was glad it wasn't raining and made his fiancee laugh out loud?

The couple were introduced by friends in May 2016 and courted for several months until their romance emerged last November

The couple were introduced by friends in May 2016 and courted for several months until their romance emerged last November

The young couple beamed with joy as they made their announcement, with the world's press looking on?

The young couple beamed with joy as they made their announcement, with the world's press looking on?

Adoring royal fans across the globe tuned in for the hotly-anticipated announcement this afternoon, and watched as the pair declared their love for one another?

Adoring royal fans across the globe tuned in for the hotly-anticipated announcement this afternoon, and watched as the pair declared their love for one another?

Meghan put her hand on the arm of her husband-to-be, and radiated happiness as they excitedly made their announcement

Meghan put her hand on the arm of her husband-to-be, and radiated happiness as they excitedly made their announcement

The bride-to-be looked stunning for the occasion in nude lace-up stilettos, an ivory winter coat and emerald dress. She wore her dark hair loose across her shoulders as she stood before members of the press?

The bride-to-be looked stunning for the occasion in nude lace-up stilettos, an ivory winter coat and emerald dress. She wore her dark hair loose across her shoulders as she stood before members of the press?

Although no date has been set it will avoid overshadowing the birth of his brother Prince William 's third child by marrying Meghan Markle a safe distance from the due date
Although no date has been set it will avoid overshadowing the birth of his brother Prince William 's third child by marrying Meghan Markle a safe distance from the due date

Although no date has been set it will avoid overshadowing the birth of his brother Prince William 's third child by marrying Meghan Markle a safe distance from the due date

Meghan looked particularly excited as she waved to the crowds of well-wishers and staff who had come to watch

Meghan looked particularly excited as she waved to the crowds of well-wishers and staff who had come to watch

The couple will also take part in a broadcast interview to be aired this evening.

How 90-second press call of few words showed the world how in love Harry and Meghan really are

News of their engagement comes just one year after it was revealed, in November 2016, how the romance had blossomed?

News of their engagement comes just one year after it was revealed, in November 2016, how the romance had blossomed?

Their long-anticipated engagement was announced by the Prince of Wales on Monday morning - and the young couple couldn't hide their excitement.

Harry, dressed smartly in a blue suit and dark tie for the open air photocall, revealed of Ms Markle: 'When did I know she was the one? Very first time we met.'

Ms Markle said she was 'so very happy, thank you' to be engaged to Harry.

The prince added that he was 'thrilled, over the moon' saying: 'Very glad it's not raining as well.'

A beaming Ms Markle, in a white belted Line the Label coat and dress by P.A.R.O.S.H, clutched Harry's hand with both of her hands as they posed briefly, smiling and giggling throughout their appearance in the chill November air.

When Harry was asked how he proposed, Ms Markle replied 'Save that', with Harry adding: 'That will come later.'

The pair, who are giving a television interview to be broadcast on Monday evening, waved at the cameras as they walked away arm in arm.

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.'?

They have chosen to state they are getting married just before they spend their first proper?Christmas?together and will probably head to Sandringham to spend it with the Queen and the royal family.?

Miss Markle's parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland said: '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.'?

Prime Minister Theresa May said: 'I would like to offer my very warmest congratulations to HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle upon their engagement.

'This is a time of huge celebration for two people in love. On behalf of myself, the Government and the country, I wish them great happiness for the future.'

Her predecessor David Cameron said: 'Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Wonderful news and I wish them a long and happy life together.'

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson? said: 'Huge congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - fantastic news! Here's to a happy and long life together.'

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby added: '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.'?

In a tender moment, Prince Harry put his arm around Meghan as they strolled through the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace together

In a tender moment, Prince Harry put his arm around Meghan as they strolled through the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace together

The 36-year-old American actress proudly showed off her dazzling three-stone ring, designed by Harry himself with at its centre a diamond from Botswana, which his office said was a place special to the couple, surrounded by two diamonds taken from the personal collection of his late mother Princess Diana

The 36-year-old American actress proudly showed off her dazzling three-stone ring, designed by Harry himself with at its centre a diamond from Botswana, which his office said was a place special to the couple, surrounded by two diamonds taken from the personal collection of his late mother Princess Diana

Harry looked very serious as he initially walked down the steps but warmed up and cracked jokes about the weather

Harry looked very serious as he initially walked down the steps but warmed up and cracked jokes about the weather

Against the backdrop of the historic palace gardens, the pair stood on the steps and revealed their news to the world?

Against the backdrop of the historic palace gardens, the pair stood on the steps and revealed their news to the world?

Websites crashed as fashionistas around the globe scrambled to emulate Ms Markle's look today. Her white coat was by Canadian brand Line the Label while show wore Aquazzura Matilde Crisscross Nude Suede Pumps

Websites crashed as fashionistas around the globe scrambled to emulate Ms Markle's look today. Her white coat was by Canadian brand Line the Label while show wore Aquazzura Matilde Crisscross Nude Suede Pumps

Prince Harry is no longer one of Britain's most eligible and wealthiest single men, having been snapped up by the beautiful American starlet

Prince Harry is no longer one of Britain's most eligible and wealthiest single men, having been snapped up by the beautiful American starlet

The couple stood close as they revealed details of their fairytale romance, and the next step of their relationship ?

The couple stood close as they revealed details of their fairytale romance, and the next step of their relationship ?

The bride-to-be glowed with happiness as she flashed her engagement ring and told the world about her impending wedding vows

The bride-to-be glowed with happiness as she flashed her engagement ring and told the world about her impending wedding vows

The ring also features a large central diamond from Botswana, a country that holds special significance for the couple who have holidayed there together

The ring also features a large central diamond from Botswana, a country that holds special significance for the couple who have holidayed there together

The besotted couple laughed and shared a joke as they told the world their engagement news

The besotted couple laughed and shared a joke as they told the world their engagement news

Harry's engagement announcement was packed with nods to his mother, choosing her favourite garden and diamonds?

Harry's engagement announcement was packed with nods to his mother, choosing her favourite garden and diamonds?

The pair held hands, with Harry clasping Meghan's close to him. People around the globe are now eagerly awaiting further details of the much-anticipated wedding?

The pair held hands, with Harry clasping Meghan's close to him. People around the globe are now eagerly awaiting further details of the much-anticipated wedding?

The pair struggled to contain their joy as they braved the winter chill - but warmed hearts - with their engagement news?

The pair struggled to contain their joy as they braved the winter chill - but warmed hearts - with their engagement news?

As tradition dictates, dignitaries and close family members will be among guests likely to receive one of the sought-after wedding invitations alongside a glitzy mix of American and Canadian stars, British royals and celebrities

As tradition dictates, dignitaries and close family members will be among guests likely to receive one of the sought-after wedding invitations alongside a glitzy mix of American and Canadian stars, British royals and celebrities

Britain's most loyal and proud royalists gathered outside Kensington Palace today to celebrate the news of Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle

Britain's most loyal and proud royalists gathered outside Kensington Palace today to celebrate the news of Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle

The Queen's grandson declared himself to be "thrilled" and "over the moon" to be engaged to the American actress after a whirlwind romance lasting just 16 months

The Queen's grandson declared himself to be 'thrilled' and 'over the moon' to be engaged to the American actress after a whirlwind romance lasting just 16 months

The pair waved for the cameras and a beaming Ms Markle showed off the sparkling jewels at the open-air photocall in the Palace's Sunken Garden

The pair waved for the cameras and a beaming Ms Markle showed off the sparkling jewels at the open-air photocall in the Palace's Sunken Garden

Next spring, the eyes of the world's media will be on the besotted young couple as they say their vows before family members, watched by adoring members of the public

Next spring, the eyes of the world's media will be on the besotted young couple as they say their vows before family members, watched by adoring members of the public

Harry and Meghan were introduced by a mutual friend as the prince was in Toronto for the Invictus Games?

Harry and Meghan were introduced by a mutual friend as the prince was in Toronto for the Invictus Games?

The young couple were a picture of happiness as they made their way through the grounds of Kensington Palace, where they will now share a cottage

The young couple were a picture of happiness as they made their way through the grounds of Kensington Palace, where they will now share a cottage

The couple  appeared on the BBC's Six O'Clock News later to give their first broadcast interview, in which it was revealed that Prince Harry proposed at home

The couple appeared on the BBC's Six O'Clock News later to give their first broadcast interview, in which it was revealed that Prince Harry proposed at home

The pair made their way arm-in-arm through the 17th century estate, making history with their announcement - they bowed their heads as if relieved it was over

The pair made their way arm-in-arm through the 17th century estate, making history with their announcement - they bowed their heads as if relieved it was over

The couple (circled) are shown here from above as they headed into Kensington Palace for an interview with the BBC to be shown later

The couple (circled) are shown here from above as they headed into Kensington Palace for an interview with the BBC to be shown later

Prince Charles reveals his son Harry is going to marry Suits star Meghan Markle

The official announcement today

The official announcement today

Prince Harry decision to marry his American actress girlfriend Meghan Markle was revealed by his father Prince Charles.

The much-anticipated news was confirmed by the Prince of Wales in a brief statement issued by Clarence House.

It 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.'

The actress and model did not attend the Queen and Prince Philip's 70th wedding anniversary celebrations together - but she has met Her Majesty for tea.

And royal protocol dictates that Harry will have had to ask his grandmother to let him marry.

The Suits star is set to move to London having quit the show and has already left her apartment in Toronto.

She is shipping her belongings to the UK including her beloved dogs - a beagle named Guy and a labrador-shepherd named Bogart.

Initially at least, the newly-engaged couple will move in together at Kensington Palace, where Prince William, Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte will be their neighbours.?

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 followed the actress on Instagram using a pseudonym.

She also went to Wimbledon and Buckingham Palace this year coinciding with a period when Harry was in London but were never seen together.

As news of their love affair broke on Halloween last year, Harry was forced to abandon a secret trip to visit his actress girlfriend in Canada.

Meghan then flew to London two weeks later during a gap in her filming schedule and was photographed by MailOnline buying food on Kensington High Street, Princess Diana's favourite shopping street.?

Days later, in an extraordinary statement on his love life, Harry said he is 'worried about Miss Markle's safety' since rumours of their relationship first surfaced nine days ago.

He lashed out at media intrusion and the 'sexism and racism of social media trolls' in a statement which said 'this is not a game - it is her life and his' and that he is 'deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her'.?

Prince Charles, pictured at his Poundbury housing estate in Dorset today, said he was 'thrilled' and 'very happy indeed' for them
Prince Charles, pictured at his Poundbury housing estate in Dorset today, said he was 'thrilled' and 'very happy indeed' for them

Prince Charles, pictured at his Poundbury housing estate in Dorset today, said he was 'thrilled' and 'very happy indeed' for them

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have today revealed they are engaged after the Queen gave her grandson permission to marry the star in the week after she celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary. Above, their first public appearance together at a tennis match during the Invictus Games in Toronto in September

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have today revealed they are engaged after the Queen gave her grandson permission to marry the star in the week after she celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary. Above, their first public appearance together at a tennis match during the Invictus Games in Toronto in September

Meghan Markle has been spotted Christmas shopping in the capital after landing in London on Monday, starting rumours the engagement would be announced but she was not wearing her ring, which would have given it away

Meghan Markle has been spotted Christmas shopping in the capital after landing in London on Monday, starting rumours the engagement would be announced but she was not wearing her ring, which would have given it away

The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace and Kate and William will be their neighbours

The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace and Kate and William will be their neighbours

Press wait for the newly-engaged couple in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace this afternoon

Press wait for the newly-engaged couple in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace this afternoon

Media also gathered outside Kensington Palace today where the couple will also settle after they marry next year

Media also gathered outside Kensington Palace today where the couple will also settle after they marry next year

Tourists stand outside Buckingham Palace after Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan this morning

Tourists stand outside Buckingham Palace after Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan this morning

A message displayed on the BT Tower in Fitzrovia congratulating the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
A message displayed on the BT Tower in Fitzrovia congratulating the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

A message displayed on the BT Tower incongratulating the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Town Crier Tony Appleton outside Kensington Palace after it was announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged

Town Crier Tony Appleton outside Kensington Palace after it was announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged

Crowds gather outside Kensington Palace where Harry and Meghan are set to pose for their first photographs since getting engaged

Crowds gather outside Kensington Palace where Harry and Meghan are set to pose for their first photographs since getting engaged

So when DID Harry propose? How couple took tea with the Queen a month after being seen kissing in public

Prince Harry obtained the consent of both his grandmother the Queen and Meghan Markle's parents before asking her to marry him.

He took his future wife to meet the Queen for afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace last month to introduce her to the woman he wanted to wed.

Harry popped the question this month in London, and there have been several tell-tale signs in the past few weeks that a wedding could be in the cards...

Meghan did not attend the Queen and Prince Philip's 70th wedding anniversary celebrations this week with Harry, pictured with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, although she is understood to have met the Queen for tea last month

Meghan did not attend the Queen and Prince Philip's 70th wedding anniversary celebrations this week with Harry, pictured with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, although she is understood to have met the Queen for tea last month

?

September 25: Harry brings his girlfriend to a tennis match at the Invictus Games in Toronto in their first official appearance together as a couple.

He affectionately kissed Miss Markle on the head and they put on a show of togetherness in full view of members of the public and photographers.

October 8: Miss Markle is revealed to have been spotted several times in London being driven around by a chauffeur in a black Volkswagen Golf.

The last time a woman linked to a prince was seen being driven in a flash car was when Kate was in an Audi A3 before her engagement to William in 2010.

October 12: Harry introduces Miss Markle to the Queen over tea at Buckingham Palace as he prepares to ask the actress to marry him.

The teatime meeting was informal to settle any nerves Miss Markle might have felt and to ensure it was not widely publicised within the palace.

November 16: Reports claim Miss Markle is putting arrangements in place to move her beloved dogs from her home in Toronto to London.

The actress has two rescue dogs, a beagle named Guy and a labrador-shepherd mix called Bogart, and said the pair 'mean the absolute world' to her.

November 17: Nicky Bursic, Miss Markle's body double on Suits, seemingly confirms widespread reports that she is to leave the US TV show.

She posted a message of good luck to the actress, saying: 'It's been an absolute pleasure and honour being your 'stand-in' for the last two seasons.'?

Last Tuesday: Miss Markle is spotted in Chelsea, West London, after a beauty treatment at an exclusive clinic where the Beckhams are said to be regulars.

The actress?was seen carrying a bag from the Sarah Chapman spa and was accompanied by the celebrity facialist herself as she left the beauty clinic.?

Last Wednesday: Removal vans are said to have been outside Miss Markle's home in Toronto for the previous two days as she prepares to move out.

Last Thursday: Reports claim that the BBC is primed for an engagement announcement, and bookmakers suspend betting on another royal wedding.

Ladbrokes said they believed it was 'coming imminently' and many believed the announcement could have come as early as the next morning.

Today: Clarence House confirms that Harry and Miss Markle have become engaged and will be married next spring.

A statement said: 'His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle.'

?

Harry has carried out a number of engagements over the past few weeks, including:?

November 15: Harry visits the Terrence Higgins Trust charity's HIV self-test pop-up shop in Hackney, East London, to launch National HIV Testing Week

November 13: Harry attends the Mind Media Awards in London's West End, meeting the charity's president Stephen Fry and ambassador Fearne Cotton

November 12: Harry lays a wreath in the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph along with other royals including his brother, Prince William

November 11: Harry, patron of England Rugby, attends the England v Argentina match at Twickenham Stadium in South West London

November 9: Harry lays a cross of remembrance at Westminster Abbey's Field of Remembrance. He jokes about bringing Miss Markle next year

Profile of a princess: How Catholic schoolgirl Meghan Markle survived her LA parents' divorce (and a stint as a Deal or No Deal briefcase girl) to become a major TV star and charity ambassador fit for a prince?

Rachel?Meghan Markle was born on August 4 1981, to clinical therapist mother Doria who she describes as 'free spirited' and TV lighting director Thomas - who she calls 'the most hardworking father you can imagine'.?

As a young girl she grew up in Los Angeles and was sent to Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse, a private primary which boasts Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland as past pupils and feeds students six different types of vegetables from the school garden each week.

Miss Markle later attended the prestigious, all-girl Catholic Immaculate Heart High School, where fees are upwards of £12,000 a year.

Miss Markle, who was born Rachel Meghan Markle, is pictured as a child with father Thomas

Miss Markle, who was born Rachel Meghan Markle, is pictured as a child with father Thomas

Her parents divorced when she was six. Each day after school, she used to visit the set of the TV show Married...with Children where her father worked.?

She showed her royal potential as a teenager when she was crowned school homecoming queen. Photos show the Suits actress receiving the honour in a November 1998 ceremony.

Flanked by her court, the 17-year-old was seen walking a red carpet lined with boys holding swords at the lavish event at the private St Francis High School, in Los Angeles.

Miss Markle went to the private Catholic girls' school, which teamed up with boys school St Francis for proms.

Miss Markle (right) is pictured aged 11 with her father Thomas and nephew Tyler Dooley

Miss Markle (right) is pictured aged 11 with her father Thomas and nephew Tyler Dooley

In two photos from her yearbooks, Miss Markle is listed as Rachel Markle, as the actress was still using her first name at the time (Meghan is her middle name).?

Miss Markle has written about her mixed heritage - Thomas Markle is Caucasian and of Dutch and Irish descent and her mother is African-American - and how it created 'a grey area surrounding my self-identification'.

But she added: 'I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I'm from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.'

She also wrote about how her parents 'who came from little' taught her to care about others, and led by example during her childhood buying turkeys for homeless shelters at Thanksgiving and delivering meals to patients in hospice care.

As a child, she travelled to remote places with her mother and visited slums in Jamaica.

When she was 11, she persuaded a soap manufacturer to alter an advert after she wrote a letter to then first lady Hillary Clinton complaining that it implied women belonged in the kitchen.

Miss Markle graduated from Northwestern University in theatre and international relations.

While trying to pay bills while auditioning for acting roles, she became a freelance calligrapher, doing correspondence for Dolce & Gabbana and wedding invitations for clients such as singer Robin Thicke.

She also worked at the US Embassy in Argentina and was a 'briefcase girl' - one of the models who hold the suitcases full of cash - on the US version of Deal or No Deal.

Miss Markle first hit the screens in America when she featured in an episode of the medical drama General Hospital in 2002, before moving on to roles in CSI, 90210, Without A Trace, Castle, and as an FBI agent in the series Fringe.

She has already been married once before. In September 2011 she wed film producer Trevor Engelson after dating him for half a dozen years.??

She met him in 2004 as they both scrabbled for a start in the entertainment industry,?before becoming man and wife in a relaxed ceremony in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

In photos from her yearbooks, Miss Markle is listed as Rachel Markle, as the actress was still using her first name at the time
Miss Markle is listed as Rachel Markle (Meghan is her middle name)

In two photos from her yearbooks, Miss Markle is listed as Rachel Markle, as the actress was still using her first name at the time (Meghan is her middle name)

Miss Markle is pictured as homecoming queen at her high school prom aged 17 in 1998

Miss Markle is pictured as homecoming queen at her high school prom aged 17 in 1998

Miss Markle (second left) poses for a photo in her school uniform alongside her classmates

Miss Markle (second left) poses for a photo in her school uniform alongside her classmates

It was a gathering of more than 100 family and friends who partied for four days enjoying local beer, rum punches and human wheelbarrow races along the white-sand beach.

The newlyweds began married life in a comfortable gated house just above Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, but it was short-lived.?

Shortly before the wedding, Miss Markle had secured her big career break in the TV drama Suits and was already commuting between LA and Toronto to meet filming schedules.?

Mr Engelson remained in the marital home to be close to Hollywood. Within two years, it was clear the marriage was not going to survive their lengthy separations.

It is understood it was Miss Markle who ultimately decided the marriage was over. The couple separated in early 2013 and divorced in August, citing irreconcilable differences.?

Mr Engelson kept the marital home while she moved permanently to Toronto. The couple divorced two years later.??

She starred in three major Hollywood films: Get Him To The Greek, Remember Me and Horrible Bosses, before landing a major role?as paralegal Rachel Zane in the legal series Suits in 2011, relocating her home to Toronto, Canada, where the show is filmed.

In 2014, the beauty, fashion and travel enthusiast founded her blog thetig.com to 'reframe the beauty content to include think pieces about self-empowerment'.

Miss Markle (left) in rehearsals for Damn Yankees, a baseball-themed comedy based on a Faust legend, in which she played the devil's assistant Lola and sang the song Whatever Lola Wants

Miss Markle (left) in rehearsals for Damn Yankees, a baseball-themed comedy based on a Faust legend, in which she played the devil's assistant Lola and sang the song Whatever Lola Wants

It is named after what Miss Markle calls her 'ah-ha moment' when she had a sip of the expensive wine Tignanello 'which opened up my palate and perspective to wine knowledge'.

Posts included her take on how she balances fame and humanitarian work, with Markle saying: 'I've never wanted to be a lady who lunches - I've always wanted to be a woman who works.'

Her socio-political activism has become increasingly important to her in recent years, and she shares Harry's passion for Africa.

She carried out charity work in Rwanda for the Clean Water Campaign in March 2016.

Miss Markle was a 'briefcase girl' on the US version of Deal or No Deal
She was one of the models who hold the suitcases full of cash on Deal or No Deal

Miss Markle was a 'briefcase girl' - one of the models who hold the suitcases full of cash - on the US version of Deal or No Deal

She also went to Afghanistan on a morale boosting trip to show support for US troops ahead of the Christmas holidays in 2014.

In 2015, the then UN Secretary General Bahn-Ki Moon joined a standing ovation for Markle after she made a speech on International Women's Day as UN Women's Advocate for Women's Leadership & Political Participation.

Commenting on how she combines her glamorous lifestyle with her charity work, she has said: 'While my life shifts from refugee camps to red carpets, I choose them both because these worlds can, in fact, co-exist. And for me, they must.'

As well as being a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, she is committed to gender equality and empowering women through her work as a women's advocate for the UN.

Miss Markle landed a major role as paralegal Rachel Zane in the legal series Suits in 2011

Miss Markle landed a major role as paralegal Rachel Zane in the legal series Suits in 2011

The yoga-loving, self-confessed foodie has her own clothing line, was active on Instagram and Twitter before her relationship with Harry grew serious, and had a fashion and lifestyle website thetig.com, where she posted candidly about her own outlook and experiences.

Markle opened up about everything from her charity work in Rwanda and the importance of focusing 'less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings' to her celebrity hairdresser and favourite body lotions.

In her own words, she's 'an actress, a writer, the Editor-in-Chief of my lifestyle brand The Tig, a pretty good cook, and a firm believer in handwritten notes'.

In what was seen as a sign of Markle getting ready to marry into the royals, she brought an abrupt end to her blog in April 2017.

Miss Markle and Harry watched the Invictus Games together in Toronto in September

Miss Markle and Harry watched the Invictus Games together in Toronto in September

She removed all posts and closed the site, posting a message that began: 'After close to three beautiful years on this adventure with you, it's time to say goodbye to The Tig' but gave no explanation as to why she had made her decision.?

Sharing her typical message of positivity, she urged her followers: 'Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being 'the change you wish to see in the world'.'

She once wrote on the blog: 'I've never wanted to be a lady who lunches - I've always wanted to be a woman who works.'?

In September 2017, her engagement to Harry looked set when she graced the cover of US magazine Vanity Fair and opened up publicly about their relationship.

'We're two people who are really happy and in love,' she revealed.

Disclosing that they quietly dated for around six months before it became news, she added: 'Nothing about me changed. I'm still the same person that I am, and I've never defined myself by my relationship.'??

Harry and Meghan's future children will join their father high up in the line of succession

Prince Harry is set to drop to sixth in line to the throne when his brother William has his third child in April.

Any children Harry and Meghan have will drop straight below him in the line of succession meaning the eldest could be as high as seventh in line to the throne.

Any second child would be eighth and so on.?

The odds on Harry, 33, and Ms Markle, 36, having a baby in 2018 have shortened from 5-1 to 3-1 according to bookmakers William Hill.?

Meghan Markle will not join the line of succession because?marrying into royalty does not earn you a right to the throne

Seh will not be addressed as Princess Meghan either - an honour reserved for women, like Princess Charlotte, born into the Royal Family. A possible title for Meghan would be HRH Princess Henry of Wales.

It is likely that the couple will, like Kate and William, be awarded a dukedom by the Monarch on the occasion of their wedding, with?Vogue?reporting that the newlyweds will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.?

It is likely that the Queen will grant the couple a dukedom and Sussex is a likely title for the pair having not been in the royal family since 1843.?

A lengthy and strongly-worded statement issued by Kensington Palace said there had been a 'line crossed' in the abuse and harassment she has faced and it was 'not right' that his girlfriend 'should be subjected to such a storm'.?

Harry was said to have offered to pay for a bodyguard for his girlfriend, which he had never offered to do for ex-girlfriends in the past.?

But his brother Prince William was said to be deeply unhappy over his younger brother's decision to issue an unprecedented public statement, which was branded hot-headed by royal sources.

Weeks later Harry was accused of?breaching royal protocol by making a 1,700-mile detour to visit his girlfriend after an official tour.

The prince was expected to fly home from the Caribbean, but he changed plans and instead boarded a flight to Toronto to see her

It was not until December when Harry and Meghan were pictured together for the first time?on a romantic date in London, where they saw critically-acclaimed play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Gielgud Theatre.

Both were wearing beanie hats and were talking animatedly and smiling as they strolled along Shaftesbury Avenue on the last weekend before Christmas.

Days earlier Megan had been seen buying a tree for her boyfriend in Kensington, close to his palace flat.

But despite their burgeoning affair she did not go with Harry to Sandringham to spend Christmas with the Queen.

After splitting their time together between Britain and Canada they made their first official appearance together in September this year as a couple when they attended a wheelchair tennis match.

They arrived and left holding hands, and spent half an hour in full public view, cheering the competitors and laughing together.

Miss Markle, who wore a white Misha Nonoo shirt called The Husband, ripped jeans and flat shoes, appeared unconcerned by the attention as she sat at her boyfriend's side.

Their willingness to be seen - and photographed - together was seen as a further sign that the couple were heading towards marriage.?

Days earlier she had joined Harry at the opening of the Invictus Games. She was discreetly chaperoned not only by one of Harry's Scotland Yard police protection officers but also by Rose Hall, of the Invictus Games Foundation, who had spent the week by Harry's side.?

At that time Miss Markle was already making advanced plans to move to London to be with him permanently and was staying in his Toronto hotel suite.?

Kate and William say it has 'been wonderful' getting to know Meghan Markle and see her make Harry 'happy'

William and Kate said it had been 'wonderful getting to know Meghan' since the American actress began dating Harry around 18 months ago

William and Kate said it had been 'wonderful getting to know Meghan' since the American actress began dating Harry around 18 months ago

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have expressed their delight at the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement.

William and Kate said it had been 'wonderful getting to know Meghan' since the American actress began dating Harry around 18 months ago.

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.'

Miss Markle marked a change in Harry's taste in women, as he tends to go for society blondes. She's also no shrinking violet - but he's also no shrinking violet either.

Her Suits character - a legal assistant - is filmed in one scene in her bra as she consummates her relationship with junior partner Mike Ross in the office store room.

Harry's first - and most serious relationship - was with Zimbabwean designer Chelsy Davy, with whom he had a tempestuous seven-year relationship.

Dancer and actress Cressida Bonas was his most recent long-term girlfriend but the couple split after two years in 2014.

Miss Markle is older than him - an attractive quality as the Prince has often spoken of his desire to commit and start a family like his brother.

The actress has lived in Toronto for several years.

She married her long-term boyfriend, film producer Trevor Engelson, 40, in Jamaica in 2011, but the couple split after just two years and they later divorced.

She later dated a leading Toronto chef, but now lives with just her two rescue dogs Bogart and Guy.?

Meghan graduated from Northwestern University, where she studied theatre and international relations, and worked for the US Embassy in Buenos Aires.

The actress initially worked as a freelance calligrapher, once writing invitations to singer Robin Thicke's wedding, before getting the role in Suits which has made her a household name in the US.

Miss Markle, who is also a successful businesswoman, bonded with Harry over their fondness for Africa and humanitarian work despite their very different lifestyles.

Miss Markle visited Rwanda to work on a clean water project earlier this year in her role as a global ambassador for World Vision Canada.?

She was recently appointed an Advocate for Women for the United Nations and spoke in front of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

She also travelled to Afghanistan to support US forces and their families. Both she and Harry both reportedly like yoga and the Prince is increasingly keen to establish his humanitarian credentials.

Miss Markle has spoken of her desire to study international affairs in the future.?

A delighted?Prince of Wales meets children as he officially opens a new school ?on his Poundbury estate

A delighted?Prince of Wales meets children as he officially opens a new school ?on his Poundbury estate

NO plans for a Bank Holiday for Harry and Meghan's Spring wedding?

Prince Harry will avoid overshadowing the birth of his brother Prince William's third child

Prince Harry will avoid overshadowing the birth of his brother Prince William's third child

Prince Harry's wedding will not have its own bank holiday dampening frenzied excitement from British workers that they might have had an extra day off next year.

There are 'no plans' for a bank holiday on the day of Harry walks down the aisle with Meghan Markle, Downing Street said.

Although no date has been set it will avoid overshadowing the birth of his brother Prince William's third child by marrying Meghan Markle a safe distance from the due date.

The couple have also synced diaries with the Queen and other senior royals to make sure they can also attend the wedding in the spring as Windsor Castle emerged as the hot favourite.

Easter falls on April 1 this year and with Kate's due date likely to be around then there has been a flurry of bets on a late April or May wedding.

Prince Charles married Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, on April 9, 2005, at Windsor's Guildhall, so his son is unlikely to clash with their 12th wedding anniversary.

Intriguingly Windsor Castle is closed on April 20 this year and its state apartments will be shut on the day before and afterwards.

But the castle told MailOnline they would not comment on private events and refused to say if it was booked for Harry.

The Queen's birthday is on April 21 meaning the couple are unlikely to choose that date for their wedding.

His brother William, who is set to be Harry's best man, chose April 29 to marry Kate Middleton in 2011 and that week could be a strong bet.

Bookies have said that May is the most likely month Harry and Meghan will walk down the aisle.

The month contains two bank holiday and has also been popular for royal weddings, including Princess Margaret's marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960.

Tourists visiting Kensington Palace today were 'ecstatic' at the news Prince Harry was engaged to American actress Meghan Markle.

Anne Whitehead from Cheshire was visiting with her friend Jill Johnson said 'It's really nice for him.

'I feel like he's finally got a place of his own and isn't just tagging along with Wills and Kate.

'She's not a traditional European princess but that doesn't matter. They look great together too.

'I think Diana would be very proud.'

Sandra Forward, with her friend Sue Stepney from East Sussex said: 'I can't wait to see what her ring is like.

'I've heard that it's being made from Diana's jewellery which would be amazing.

Sue Stepney, also from East Sussex added: 'I'm so pleased for him. Diana would be ecstatic to see her boys so happy.

'We've never seen Suits but we really like Meghan Markle.

'It doesn't matter that she's not the traditional princess if she makes him happy.

'She's in showbiz too, so she'll know how to cope with the media pressure.'

Shirley Flanagan, visiting from Belfast said: 'I didn't know until we left the Palace. We were visiting the exhibition of Diana's dresses.

'It's so nice. I like her in Suits. She's very appealing to people, like Diana was.

'I'm only slightly disappointed he can't be my son-in-law now!'

'I bet all of the Americans and Canadians are loving it.

'The tour of Kensington Palace was short, we were really disappointed the Orangery was closed off but we didn't know why!

'We saw the Diana exhibition. It was so lovely, her dresses are so beautiful.

Natalie Kethro, visiting from Brisbane, Australia said: 'It's really great news. People in Australia will be really happy.

'There's a big following there of Harry and William so I imagine everyone back home is getting excited and planning parties to watch the wedding.'

John Loughrey, 62, from Streatham, South West London 'rushed' to the residence after hearing the news this morning breaking his two-day church retreat where he intended to stay silent.

He said: 'I'm a Diana super fan. I've been to all the royal weddings and I'm so pleased about the news today.

'Meghan has a loving heart and cares for people, just like Diana did.

'All the royal fans are ever so proud and delighted. Her late Royal Highness Princess Diana would be so proud too. She's shining on them.

'I think she'd love Meghan and want her and Harry to continue to do the lord's work.

'They are very suited for each other and the Lord will shine down on them.

'Her and Harry will continue to help people in war-torn counties and help those in need around the world.

'I go to Westminster Abbey every week as I hope the wedding will be there. But wherever it is I'll definitely be going.

She married her long-term boyfriend, film producer Trevor Engelson, 40, (pictured together) in Jamaica in 2011, but the couple split after just two years and they later divorced

She married her long-term boyfriend, film producer Trevor Engelson, 40, (pictured together) in Jamaica in 2011, but the couple split after just two years and they later divorced

'I'm a bell-ringer and St. Leonard's church in Streatham and I hope that the bell-master will dedicate the service to Harry and Meghan tomorrow. I'm going to ask him to.

WHERE WILL THEY MARRY IN 2018?

WESTMINSTER ABBEY is usually the frontrunner for royals. The Queen and the Queen Mother both married there but it also holds painful memories because of Diana's funeral.

Steeped in more than a thousand years of history, the gothic London Abbey has been at the forefront of major royal ceremonies for generation after generation.

The Queen wed Prince Philip of Greece there as a 21-year-old Princess on November 20 1947.

The Queen Mother, then Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, married the Duke of York, later George VI, there on April 26 1923. Her funeral in 2002 as also at the Abbey.

ST PAUL'S is where Charles and Diana married in 1981 and has been the focus for many royal celebrations.

The iconic building built by Sir Christoper Wren has recently held thanksgiving services for the Queen's Golden Jubilee and her 80th birthday.

It staged the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill, the peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars and more recently the Service of Remembrance and Commemoration for the September 11 terrorist attacks.

WINDSOR CASTLE is considered a more private and low key option.

It would also prove easier for security because it could be cut off by a ring of steel more readily than locations in central London.

Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, married at the Guildhall there in 2005 before a party at the Castle.?

There are dates in April that the castle is closed for a private event.?

'I'm going to have a very busy year. Because I'll camp out for the birth of William and Kate's baby and then the royal wedding and then hopefully another baby.

'I've had my Harry cut out for over a year. I found him in a charity shop.

'I'm definitely going to take him to the wedding. I'm hoping I can get a Meghan one too and bring them both to the wedding!'

Margaret Tyler, 73, travelled to the Palace from Wembley with the hopes she'd get a glance of the princess to-be.

Clad in a Union Jack blazer and a rosette to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday she said: 'I'm so pleased with the news, Meghan is so gorgeous and I was quite disappointed last week when the engagement wasn't announced.

'It's been a long time coming.

'Meghan seems lovely and is a really pretty girl and I think she makes Harry very happy.

'She's use to TV and crowds and they know one another well. They were dating for six months before we found out!

'She's very different to Kate but it will be nice for Kate to have another woman around I'm sure she gets bored with just Harry and William all the time.

'I think the wedding will probably be at Windsor Castle, as it will be smaller. I'll definitely go along to the wedding.

'I went to Kate and Wills. When Prince George was born I was camped outside the hospital for six days and when Charlotte was born I was there for 11 days.

'Harry made the right choice.

'The last girlfriend was very young and didn't have a career and I think Chelsy Davy went to the last royal wedding and thought it was too much.

'It's great that she is proud of her heritage and does lots of work abroad.

'She's definitely a modern face. People ask me a lot if I think it will upset the royal family and I think it's total rubbish. They're very welcoming.

'Now they're engaged she'll be there Thor Christmas. She wouldn't be allowed to if they weren't.

'I was eight when the King died and nine at the Coronation, and I've been avidly following ever since.

'I've got 10,000 pieces of royal memorabilia in my house and I can't wait to get more next year!'

'Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person. To see her with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy': Meghan's parents lead congratulations to the newly engaged couple?

Meghan Markle's parents led the congratulations to their daughter and Prince Harry today after the couple announced their engagement.

Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland told how they were 'incredibly happy' for the couple, while Prince Charles said he was 'thrilled' for his son and the US actress.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge told how they were 'very excited' for Harry and Miss Markle, while the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh said they were 'delighted'.

Politicians also reacted joyfully, with Prime Minister Theresa May saying it was a 'time of huge celebration', and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson calling it 'fantastic news'.

Prince Harry has been dating Meghan Markle (pictured in September) since summer 2016

Prince Harry has been dating Meghan Markle (pictured in September) since summer 2016

Miss Markle, pictured with her father Thomas, who said he is 'incredible happy' for the couple

Miss Markle, pictured with her father Thomas, who said he is 'incredible happy' for the couple

Harry, 33, and Miss Markle hug behind her mother?Doria Ragland in Toronto in September

Harry, 33, and Miss Markle hug behind her mother?Doria Ragland in Toronto in September

A statement by Miss Markle's parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland said: '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.'

Miss Markle is close to her 'free-spirited' mother and her 'thoughtful, inspiring' father, and has previously written lovingly of her relationship with both.

Visiting Poundbury in Dorset, the Prince of Wales said he was 'thrilled' and 'very happy indeed' for Harry and Miss Markle.

Meanwhile a Buckingham Palace spokesman said the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh 'are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness'.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Harry's brother Prince William and sister-in-law Kate, added: '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.'

Mrs May said: 'I would like to offer my very warmest congratulations to HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle upon their engagement.

'This is a time of huge celebration for two people in love. On behalf of myself, the Government and the country, I wish them great happiness for the future.'

Her predecessor David Cameron said: 'Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Wonderful news and I wish them a long and happy life together.'

Meghan Markle 's parents led the congratulations to their daughter and Prince Harry today

Meghan Markle 's parents led the congratulations to their daughter and Prince Harry today

And Mr Johnson? added: 'Huge congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - fantastic news! Here's to a happy and long life together.'

Speaking in Glasgow today, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: 'Congratulations to Harry and Meghan. I wish them well.

'I hope they have a great time and great fun together - and, having met Harry a couple of times, I'm sure they are going to have a great deal of fun together.

'What I would also like to say is that I really do admire the way that Harry and his brother have drawn attention to mental health conditions all across the country.

'I wish them well, thank him for what he's done on mental health and hope they have a great life together.'

Meanwhile Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby added: '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.'

DailyMail.com US Editor-at-Large Piers Morgan tweeted: 'Congrats Meghan and Harry. My friend will make the perfect modern bride. PS Do I get an invite, Meghan Markle?'

Mail sketch writer Quentin Letts added: 'Fun for theatreland to have an actress join the Royal Family. Various companies will be itching to have Mrs Harry for a patron.'

Fifth in line to the throne Harry, 33, has been dating the 36-year-old star, who found fame in the US legal drama Suits, since the summer of 2016.

Their 16-month whirlwind romance blossomed when they met through mutual friends in London.

The pair have been almost inseparable in recent months, with Miss Markle said to have virtually moved in to Harry's home at Kensington Palace.

?


How a budding actress became a royal bride-to-be: As Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announce their engagement - a look back at their VERY unlikely whirlwind romance

Some 18 months ago, an American television actress named Meghan Markle flew to London for the summer and shortly afterwards found herself at a drinks party at Soho House.

Little did Meghan know that the soiree at the private member's club would change her life beyond measure.

For among the guests that night was a young, eligible and eager bachelor who had never made any secret of his long-term crush on her. His name? Prince Harry.

In little over a year the couple have enjoyed a whirlwind romance that has seen them criss-cross the Atlantic to make their long-distance relationship work, spending time in each other's homes and meeting their soon-to-be in-laws.

Today, after weeks of speculation, Prince Harry, 33, and Miss Markle, 36, have confirmed their engagement. But before all thoughts turn to the excitement of wedding planning and the possibility of future children, it is worth looking back on the passionate and romantic relationship that has led the couple to this point - and the vastly different worlds they will bring together when they tie the knot.

Here, FEMAIL examines just how Miss Markle, an American divorcee, has become a royal bride-to-be - despite the odds seemingly being stacked against them...

From different worlds

Former flames:?Prince Harry with Chelsy Davy in 2010
Meghan with Cory Vitiello in 2014

Former flames:?Prince Harry with Chelsy Davy in 2010. Meghan with Cory Vitiello in 2014

As a young girl Meghan Markle was sent to Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse, a private primary which boasts Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland as past pupils and, according to its website, feeds students six different types of vegetables from the school garden each week.

Meghan later attended the prestigious, all-girl Catholic Immaculate Heart High School, where fees are upwards of £12,000 a year.

Meanwhile Prince Harry was educated at a string of independent schools in London before being admitted to Eton. After a gap year, during which he spent time in Australia and Lestheso, Prince Harry entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

As Harry enjoyed a successful military career, completing two tours in Afghanistan, Meghan - a graduate of Northwestern University, where her coursework included an internship at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires - was starting her career as an actress.

Meghan spent years acting in minor roles before landing the part of paralegal Rachel Zane in legal drama Suits. It is while she was on the show that Harry first laid eyes on his now future wife.

During their 20s both also had serious relationships. Harry dated Chelsy Davy and later actress Cressida Bonas. Meanwhile Meghan dated film producer Trevor Engleson for seven years before tying the knot in 2011. The couple divorced two years later.

Afterwards Meghan enjoyed a relationship with celebrity chef Cory Vitiello that is said to have been on the rocks when she made the fateful trip to London.

The first meeting

Meghan wearing her bracelet
Harry in his bracelet

Early days: Meghan, left, and Harry, right in November 2016, are seen wearing matching blue, black and white beaded bracelets around the time their relationship was confirmed

It says much about the power balance in their relationship that it was the Prince rather than the actress who was star-struck when they first met in a dining room at Soho House, the London private members' club, in July 2016.

Though he'd had a long-distance crush on her for a couple of years, as they shared a bottle of well-chilled rosé with friends, it became clear that her allure was more than just physical.

Harry listened intently while Meghan spoke about Rwanda, where she had been campaigning for clean water. He was captivated by her altruism, and from the moment they said their goodbyes, he bombarded her with texts asking to see her again. Meghan, who was staying in London for most of the summer, agreed.

They went out again with friends, including the man who had introduced them, Markus Anderson, a consultant for Soho House, and then just as a twosome on their first proper date.

By the end of July, they had fallen for each other. Meghan flew back to Toronto, where Suits is filmed, and Harry went to South Africa to work on a conservation project. They were reunited for a country break at the Soho Farmhouse members' club in the Cotswolds. The world then knew nothing of their clandestine romance. Harry had told just a handful of close friends about his dazzling new girlfriend, while Meghan's discretion saw her pass another critical Royal test.

Confirming the relationship

November 2016:?The first time Meghan was seen after being identified as Harry’s new girlfriend was when she strolled out from the Palace to buy groceries, pictured

November 2016:?The first time Meghan was seen after being identified as Harry's new girlfriend was when she strolled out from the Palace to buy groceries, pictured

PM congratulates Harry and Meghan but news is booed at Labour event

Theresa May tweeted her congratulations for the couple son after news of their engagement broke this morning

Theresa May tweeted her congratulations for the couple son after news of their engagement broke this morning

Theresa May congratulated Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their engagement and says it is a 'time of huge celebration and excitement for two people in love'

The PM said: 'I would like to offer my very warmest congratulations to HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle upon their engagement'?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also wished the newly engaged couple well as he spoke at a rally in Scotland today.

But the crowd of Corbynistas who had gone to the rally to hear him speak booed when a journalist asked him about the engagement.

Mr Corbyn - a staunch republican - said: 'My congratulations to Harry and Meghan. I wish them well. hope they have a great time and great fun together and having met Harry a couple of times I'm sure they are going to have a great deal of fun together'.

After rumours of a Halloween costume party and increased press speculation, Prince Harry confirmed his relationship with Miss Markle by issuing a public statement.

He lashed out at media intrusion and the 'sexism and racism of social media trolls' in a statement which said 'this is not a game - it is her life and his' and that he is 'deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her'.

In the weeks leading up the couple had been spotted wearing matching beaded bracelets.

The first time Meghan was seen after being identified as Harry's new girlfriend was when she strolled out from the Palace to buy groceries. The domesticity was telling – most of Harry's love life has been conducted at parties and in bars rather than around a kitchen supper table.

Dressed down in a coat and wellies, with Harry's favourite brown baseball cap hiding her face, Meghan was pictured heading for the Whole Foods Market, opposite Harry's home in Kensington Palace. That was in early November.

A month later the couple were seen buying a Christmas tree in Battersea. On December 14 they were photographed hand in hand on a trip to the West End's Gielgud Theatre to see The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time.

Although they spent Christmas apart, they saw in the New Year together in London and then travelled to Norway to see the Northern Lights. They celebrated in a glass igloo, camping under the winter stars.

In February they were seen holding hands as they stepped out for a date in London.

In March, Meghan flew from Toronto to Jamaica on a private jet to be by Harry's side for the wedding of his close friend Tom Inskip. Harry met her at the island's airport and, according to a fellow guest, the couple spent most of their week in their luxury ocean-front villa, complete with private pool and butler.

Public at the polo and a jet-set summer

February 2017: Prince Harry and Meghan walk hand-in-hand while on a date night in London

February 2017: Prince Harry and Meghan walk hand-in-hand while on a date night in London

In May came Harry and Meghan's first semi-official joint appearance at a polo match – a Royal rite of passage. It was also the scene of their first public embrace – they were caught on camera stealing a passionate kiss in the car park.

Meghan was Harry's guest at Pippa Middleton's wedding party later in May, their names side by side on the table plan making a public statement of togetherness.

In August the pair were pictured boarding a flight to Botswana to celebrate Meghan's 36th birthday at a romantic £650-a-night hideaway overlooking the Boteti river.

'We're in love': Meghan speaks out

March 2017: Meghan?flew from Toronto to Jamaica to join ?Harry’s side for the wedding of his close friend Tom Inskip

March 2017: Meghan?flew from Toronto to Jamaica on a private jet to be by Harry's side for the wedding of his close friend Tom Inskip. Pictured, the couple together at the ceremony

After months of keeping their relationship under wraps, Meghan Markle spoke about Prince Harry for the first time in a candid interview in the October issue of Vanity Fair, which was released at the start of September.

She admitted the pair are very much 'in love' and confirmed that the royal is indeed her 'boyfriend'.

She told the magazine's contributing editor Sam Kashner: 'We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time.'

Addressing their need for privacy, the actress added: 'This is for us. It's part of what makes it so special, that it's just ours. But we're happy. Personally, I love a great love story.'

First official engagement

September 2017: The couple both attend the Invictus Games opening ceremony but are seated rows apart. Harry, left, is next to Melania Trump while Meghan is next to?Markus Anderson

September 2017: The couple both attend the Invictus Games opening ceremony but are seated rows apart. Harry, left, is next to Melania Trump while Meghan is next to?Markus Anderson

May 2017:?Harry and Meghan make their first semi-official joint appearance at a polo match at Coworth Park, Berkshire. They were caught stealing a passionate kiss in the car park, pictured

May 2017:?Harry and Meghan make their first semi-official joint appearance at a polo match at Coworth Park, Berkshire. They were caught stealing a passionate kiss in the car park, pictured

Just weeks after Meghan's cover story was released, the couple made their first official joint appearance at the Invictus Games in Toronto.

They teased royal watchers by both attending the opening ceremony but sat 18 seats apart from each other. Prince Harry was sat next to US First Lady Melania Trump while Meghan was given a place next to their mutual friend Markus Anderson, the man who introduced them.

Just a day later, Harry and Meghan gave the world the photo they had been waiting for when they stepped out hand-in-hand for an Australia-New Zealand tennis match.

The love birds arrived, fingers entwined, to the semi-final, in full view of members of the public and photographers.

The couple sat at the side of the court together whispering and laughing as they cheered on the players.

At the closing ceremony, the couple were joined by Meghan's mother Doria in the VIP box. Harry was pictured kissing and tenderly embracing his girlfriend and was also seen chatting easily with her mother.

Rumours and the engagement

September 2017: Meghan and Harry make their first public appearance at the Invictus Games

September 2017: Meghan and Harry make their first public appearance at the Invictus Games

Speculation over an engagement has intensified in the weeks since the Invictus Games.

In mid-October it was reported that Meghan had 'quit' Suits in order to relocate to London full-time and begin the next chapter of her life with her royal beau.

A source told a US website at the time she was 'happy' to make the 'sacrifice' in order to make the relationship work.

Just last week her body double on the show, Nicky Bursic seemed to confirm the widespread reports when she posted a cryptic message of good luck to the actress.

In October it was also reported that Meghan and Harry had joined his grandmother the Queen for tea at Buckingham Palace.

Earlier this week Meghan was spotted shopping in London, visiting the Heidi Klein designer beachwear store and popping into skincare store Sarah Chapman.

There was speculation that Meghan was making one final stop before relocating to London permanently, however it appears she has already made the move.

As the couple are engaged, they will now be able to join the Royal Family for Christmas at Sandringham.

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A love nest fit for a Princess! Harry and Meghan will live in Nottingham Cottage - just a stone's throw away from Kate and Wills in the grounds of Kensington Palace

Meghan Markle is set to leave Toronto and move into a cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace with her husband-to-be,?Prince Harry.

The newly-engaged couple will live together in the modest royal residence Nottingham Cottage, in the grounds of Kensington Palace.

Dubbed ‘Nott Cott’ by palace insiders, the pair will enjoy their engagement in the pied-a-terre Harry made his bachelor pad some four years ago - before which it was Prince William and Kate’s first marital home.

The newly-engaged couple will be living together in a small royal residence, Nottingham Cottage, in the grounds of Kensington Palace

The newly-engaged couple will be living together in a small royal residence, Nottingham Cottage, in the grounds of Kensington Palace

The young couple were a picture of happiness as they made their way through the grounds of Kensington Palace, where they will now share a cottage

The young couple were a picture of happiness as they made their way through the grounds of Kensington Palace, where they will now share a cottage

It has previously been suggested the pair are hunting for a country retreat in either Norfolk, close to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's home Anmer Hall, or in the West Country.

But Nottingham Cottage is something of a starter home ideal for the newlywed couple - a two-bedroom property boasting rooms designed by Sir Christopher Wren, a couple of snug reception rooms and small yard.?

Self-contained, cosy and private, it is the smallest abode in the 17th century estate and formerly the home of Prince Philip’s private secretary, Brigadier Sir Miles Hunt-Davis, and his wife Gay.

It was also previously occupied by Princess Diana's sister Lady Jane Fellowes and her husband Sir Robert Fellowes, the Queen's former secretary.?

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lived in the cottage before moving in to the 20-room Apartment 1A inside the palace.

Prince William reportedly had to stoop to avoid hitting his head on the low ceilings of the historic property. ?

When Harry made it his bachelor pad in 2013, the first thing he reportedly did was install a hammock in the yard.?

Nottingham Cottage (circled) is something of a starter home ideal for the newlywed couple - a cosy two-bedroom property with a couple of snug reception rooms and small yard.

Nottingham Cottage (circled) is something of a starter home ideal for the newlywed couple - a cosy two-bedroom property with a couple of snug reception rooms and small yard.

Self-contained, cosy and private, Nottingham Cottage sits within the grounds of Kensington Palace

Self-contained, cosy and private, Nottingham Cottage sits within the grounds of Kensington Palace

Situated just steps away from William and Kate’s far grander establishment, Nottingham Cottage is sufficient for one, or two occupants.

One of the smallest properties on the estate, it has two bedrooms, a small living room, kitchen and bathroom.

Meghan has stayed at the property several times while visiting Harry over the past 12 months, and will no doubt be adding her own personal touches to her new home - after Kate repainted the walls and gave it a revamp when she moved in.?

William and Kate’s official London residence is in the next courtyard, at Apartment 1A, a 20-room home which was refurbished with £4.5 million from the public purse in 2011.

Kensington Palace has been a royal residence since 1689, when King William III and Queen Mary II bought Nottingham House for £20,000.?

It was subsequently remodelled into the palace by Christopher Wren, the architect behind St Paul’s Cathedral.

In the 18th Century, George I spent lavishly on new royal apartments there, including Apartments 8 and 9, but his successor, George II was the last reigning monarch to use the building.

It has always been considered one of the least stuffy royal residences.?

Princess Margaret, who lived there for 42 years, was known to entertain celebrities such as Vidal Sassoon, Mary Quant and Peter Sellers.

The palace’s rooftop garden and long passageways have led to it being described as a ‘children’s paradise’, and William and Harry are said to have many happy memories of playing in the grounds.?

After her marriage to Prince Charles, Diana, Princess of Wales moved into Apartment 9 where she raised Princes William and Harry.?

Diana lived in the apartment until her death in 1997.

If Harry and Meghan Markle are looking for?more spacious living quarters?they may look at Wren House, currently the home of the Duke of Kent, or Apartment 1, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married, the Gloucesters made the offer to vacate their home to make way for William and his new wife - and may do the same thing for Harry and Meghan.

Harry asked his grandmother the Queen for permission before proposing to Meghan after taking her for tea

Harry had to ask the Queen's consent to marry. The prince is very close to his grandmother and are shown here together promoting?the 2016 Invictus Games

Harry had to ask the Queen's consent to marry. The prince is very close to his grandmother and are shown here together promoting?the 2016 Invictus Games

Prince Harry had to ask the Queen's consent to marry.

Although the monarch is unlikely to have withheld her blessing, she would only have said 'no' on the advice of the Prime Minister, whom she will have informed.

Harry's grandmother will sign an Instrument of Consent - an elaborate notice of approval, transcribed in calligraphy, and issued under the Great Seal of the Realm - at a Privy Council meeting ahead of the wedding - just like she did for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Harry took Meghan Markle to meet the Queen for afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace in October to introduce her to the woman he wanted to wed.

For hundreds of years, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 required descendants of George II to seek the sovereign's consent before they wed, otherwise their marriages were deemed invalid.

But this law was repealed through the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which came into effect in 2015 when all the Commonwealth countries in which the Queen is head of state passed any necessary legislation.

Yet the new Act still requires fifth-in-line Harry to obtain the Queen's permission.

It restricted the consent to just the first six people in the line of succession: now the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Harry and the Duke of York.

If Harry failed to get the Queen's approval, he and his future descendants would have been disqualified from succeeding to the Crown.

The Act was a radical shake-up of the rules of royal succession, removing male bias.

Thanks to the new law, a member of the Royal Family can now also marry a Roman Catholic and not lose their place in the line of succession. But a Roman Catholic royal still cannot be king or queen.

King George III, George II's grandson, ordered the now repealed 1772 act after his younger brother the Duke of Cumberland secretly married Lady Anne Horton, deemed to be a highly disreputable widow of a commoner.

Labour peer Lord Dubs once branded the law 'the Dangerous Dogs Act of its day', saying it was 'passed in haste owing to George III's chagrin that his relatives were getting married without consulting him'.

There is no requirement that royals marry someone of royal or aristocratic blood.?

Self-contained, cosy and private, Nottingham Cottage was formerly the home of Prince Philip's private secretary, Brigadier Sir Miles Hunt-Davis, and his wife Gay.

It was also previously occupied by Princess Diana's sister Lady Jane Fellowes and her husband Sir Robert Fellowes, the Queen's former secretary.

Nottingham Cottage is something of a starter home ideal for the newlywed couple - a two-bedroom property boasting rooms designed by Sir Christopher Wren, a couple of snug reception rooms and small yard.

Situated just steps away from William and Kate's far grander establishment, Nottingham Cottage is sufficient for one, or two.

One of the smallest properties on the estate, it has two bedrooms, a small living room, kitchen and bathroom.

Meghan has stayed at the property several times while visiting Harry over the past 12 months, and will no doubt be adding her own personal touches to her new home - after Kate repainted the walls and gave it a revamp when she moved in.

Much of Kensington Palace is now offices, and the remaining royal apartments are occupied by such individuals as the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

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'Very happy indeed': Prince Charles says he's 'thrilled' to announce Harry and Meghan's engagement as he visits his model village in Dorchester?

Proud father Prince Charles said he was 'thrilled' about the prospect of a royal wedding during a visit to his 'model village' in Dorset.

His visit to Poundbury today comes just minutes after he and Camilla announced, via Clarence House, that they were 'delighted' about the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry to his actress girlfriend Meghan Markle.

The couple, who have been dating for a year and a half, are set to tie the knot next spring and will live together in Nottingham Cottage, Charles said.

Prince Charles told reporters today that the news was 'very good' and added: 'Thrilled for them both. They'll be very happy indeed.'

Work in progress:?Poundbury, which is built on Duchy of Cornwall land on the outskirts of Dorchester, is home to around 3,000 people

Work in progress:?Poundbury, which is built on Duchy of Cornwall land on the outskirts of Dorchester, is home to around 3,000 people

To kick off his visit, the prince visited Damers First School to meet staff, students and parents, and find out about their community and sustainability programmes

To kick off his visit, the prince visited Damers First School to meet staff, students and parents, and find out about their community and sustainability programmes

He spoke at the start of a series of engagements in Poundbury in Dorchester, Dorset, which is built on Duchy of Cornwall land.?

The prince visited Damers First School to meet staff, students and parents, and find out about their community and sustainability programmes.

He toured classrooms and went outside to meet children working in the school garden before unveiling a plaque to officially open the school.

While seeing children baking and peeling apples, Charles joked: 'No one's cut their fingers off yet.'

Addressing teachers, he added: 'I see you've done the risk assessment.'

Later, while watching children planting pansies in the raised borders, the prince told one girl: 'You're doing a very good job.'

The school, which moved to a new, purpose-built site in the village in April 2017, already holds the Eco-Schools' Green Flag award and is working towards being admitted into the global environmental schools programme's hall of fame.

Poundbury, which is built on Duchy of Cornwall land on the outskirts of Dorchester, is home to around 3,000 people.

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The dogs sent to UK, the body double's post and the bookie's panic: The TEN clues that Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle was imminent?

1. Body double's Facebook post reveals Meghan has quit?

‘You deserve it all!’ Meghan Markle’s Suits body double Nicky Bursic posts champagne emoji after actress quits show amid Prince Harry engagement rumours

'You deserve it all!' Meghan Markle's Suits body double Nicky Bursic posts champagne emoji after actress quits show amid Prince Harry engagement rumours

Personal message: She tagged her post with a champagne glasses emoji, and the hashtag 'you deserve it all' amid rumors of an engagement between Meghan and her boyfriend Prince Harry

Personal message: She tagged her post with a champagne glasses emoji, and the hashtag 'you deserve it all' amid rumors of an engagement between Meghan and her boyfriend Prince Harry

Meghan Markle's body double on Suits confirmed widespread reports that Meghan is to leave the show - by posting a message of good luck to the actress.

'It's been an absolute pleasure and honor being your 'STAND-IN' for the last 2 seasons,' wrote Nicky Bursic, a six-year veteran of the show.

'Though I've been on @suits_usa for 6 years , the latter 2 has been my most memorable. Wishing you all the happiness in the world Bella.'

2. The dogs are coming to London

Meghan Markle is thought to be moving her dogs to the UK in the clearest sign yet that she is planning to live in London with Prince Harry

Meghan Markle is thought to be moving her dogs to the UK in the clearest sign yet that she is planning to live in London with Prince Harry

Meghan Markle is moving her dogs to the UK in the clearest sign yet that she is planning to live in London with Prince Harry.

The 36-year-old US actress, who has been dating the prince since last summer, is known to be extremely fond of her labrador-shepherd Bogart and beagle Guy.?

Prince Harry, 33, is also said to have become very attached to the dogs while visiting Miss Markle, who lets them sleep on her bed and feeds them on an organic diet.

'The fact she's started the process of moving them to England is the clearest hint yet that she sees her future living in London with Harry,' a source said.?

3. Bookies stop taking bets

Harry made his first public appearance with her at the Invictus Games where they had a kiss

Harry made his first public appearance with her at the Invictus Games where they had a kiss

Bookmakers have now decided to pull all bets on if and when the engagement will take place.??

Last night Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: 'We have closed all betting on Harry and Meghan following rumours an announcement is imminent.

'With Meghan residing in London now it looks like their engagement announcement is coming sooner rather than later.'

Paddy Power was still offering odds of 2-1 on a 2018 wedding, and a spokesman said: 'It looks like the Prince is in a hurry to marry, the way he and Meghan Markle are ramping things up.'?

4. Removal vans spotted outside her Toronto home?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, pictured at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September, are expected to announce their engagement imminently

Meghan Markle's plans to re-locate to the British capital emerged when she moved out of her apartment in Toronto, with removal vans reportedly seen outside.

According to the reports, Meghan will be moving into Harry's cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace.

5. BBC 'told to expect an announcement'

BBC sources were told to expect an announcement.

Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace was deluged with media calls seeking confirmation of a wedding.

Today a spokesman refused to comment and said they wouldn't give a running commentary on Harry's love life - minutes later it was announced.

6. ?NOT in US for Thanksgiving

Meghan Markle decided to head to Britain and missed Thanksgiving, pictured last year, believed to be her favourite holiday of the year

Meghan Markle decided to head to Britain and missed Thanksgiving, pictured last year, believed to be her favourite holiday of the year

Meghan Markle decided to head to Britain and missed Thanksgiving, believed to be her favourite holiday of the year.

The star has hosted a roast turkey dinner for family and friends for the past few years in Toronto, but is giving it a miss in 2017.?

Last year she decided to stay 2,000 miles away from Harry, on official royal business in the Caribbean.

The Suits star took to Instagram to share a throwback snap of her 'perfect' cooking from Thanksgiving a year earlier.

She suggested the 'pressure was on' to make an equally amazing dinner when she celebrates the American holiday,?

7. He's met the future mother-in-law?

The prince and Meghan a the Invictus Games - pictured with her mother, Doria Ragland

The prince and Meghan a the Invictus Games - pictured with her mother, Doria Ragland

In September Harry invited Meghan's mother to join him at the closing ceremony of his Invictus Games in Toronto.

The prince was captured deep in conversation with Doria Raglan, who?made the five-hour flight from her home in Los Angeles to Canada

She looked much younger than her 60 years, and enviably trim, in a lilac chiffon top and jeans, with her hair stylishly braided.

Harry was evidently delighted to see her, and from their smiles it was clear that the pair already get along famously.

They appear to be on such good terms that, at one point, she cupped her hand over her mouth conspiratorially as she whispered something to him.?

8. Tea with the Queen?

Harry has introduced his celebrity girlfriend to the Queen over tea at Buckingham Palace

Harry has introduced his celebrity girlfriend to the Queen over tea at Buckingham Palace

Meghan and Harry were swept into Buckingham Palace in a Ford Galaxy with blacked out windows last month for tea with the Queen.?

The actress was meeting Her Majesty for the first time and it is the Queen who must give Harry permission to marry because he is fifth in line to the throne.??

The prince had desperately wanted his grandmother to meet divorcee Meghan and it would suggest that the couple are making plans for a future together.

Everything about the teatime meeting was deliberately informal, the Mail learned, in part it was to settle any nerves Meghan might have felt but also to ensure it was not widely publicised within the palace.?

9. Meghan's car is in London and her possessions shipped

The ex-Suits star has bought herself a VW Golf to drive around London as she prepares for life in the UK.

She also brought clothes and important possessions but the remainder of her furnitire and other belongings are being shipped over from Canada.

The last time an attractive young woman linked to a Prince was seen being driven through the streets in a flash car was when a certain Kate Middleton was pictured in an Audi A3 before her engagement to William in 2010.

10. Lands in London and goes straight for a facial?

Miss Markle was spotted in West London on Tuesday after a beauty treatment at an exclusive clinic

Miss Markle was spotted in West London on Tuesday after a beauty treatment at an exclusive clinic (left). She is also pictured on the way to a film set in Toronto last November (right)

Following a seven-and-a-half hour flight from Toronto, Meghan Markle treated herself to a touch of retail therapy and facial treatments at a very exclusive spa.

On Tuesday Meghan, 36, was seen carrying a bag from the Sarah Chapman spa in Chelsea and was accompanied by the celebrity facialist herself as she left the beautician's.

It is no wonder that Chapman's Skinesis Clinic was top of Meghan's list when it came to skin treatments with the spa boasting an all-star clientele including Victoria Beckham and Gigi Hadid.?

Meghan also pops to Mayfair salon Nails & Brows, which is also a favourite of Princess Beatrice.

The beauty treatment could be a clue that she was preparing herself for an official statement and perhaps an official photoshoot with Harry.?

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Introducing the Duchess of Sussex! The royal title Meghan Markle is expected to take when she weds her prince (but she will NOT join the line of succession)?

In April 2011, Kate Middleton walked into to Westminster Abbey and walked out as the Duchess of Cambridge.

And following the announcement of Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle, many royal fans will be wondering what title the actress will take on.

While many would presume that Meghan would take on the title of Princess having married a Prince, this is not the case.

It is likely that the couple will, like Kate and William, be awarded a dukedom by the Monarch on the occasion of their wedding, with?Vogue?reporting that the newlyweds will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.?

It is likely that the Queen will grant the couple a dukedom and Sussex is a likely title for the pair having not been in the royal family since 1843.?

Meghan Markle is expected to become a Duchess when she marries fiance Prince Harry with a princess title only given to those born into royalty?

Meghan Markle is expected to become a Duchess when she marries fiance Prince Harry with a princess title only given to those born into royalty?

Under the British Monarchy, the title is only given to those who are born into royalty, meaning that if Meghan and Harry were to have children they would be referred to as princes and princesses.?

The same went for Kate and William at their wedding six years ago with Wills adding Duke to his own title after the Queen granted the couple with a 'dukedom'.

Kate is only bestowed the royal title in reference to her husband known as Princess William, and once he inherits his father's title she can then be referred to as Princess of Wales.

The same goes for Meghan and Harry. The 36-year-old US actress may be referred to as HRH Princess Henry.

It is likely that the couple will too be awarded a dukedom by the Monarch on the occasion of their wedding with Vogue reporting that the newlyweds will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The magazine reports that the county of?Sussex has not been filled since 1843, making it a strong candidate for the couples new title.??

Prince Harry is currently fifth in line to the throne and will move down to sixth when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome their third baby, expected to arrive in April.

However, while marrying Harry will give Meghan a royal title she will not join the line of succession.??

Marriage to a royal does not put you in line to the throne and you are in only if you have succession rights in your own right.

For example, Prince Philip is in Line of the Succession in his own right, as descendant of Queen Victoria.

Meghan will not join the line of succession  as marrying into royalty does not earn you a right to the throne and the couple are unlikely to marry before William and Kate have a third child

Meghan will not join the line of succession as marrying into royalty does not earn you a right to the throne and the couple are unlikely to marry before William and Kate have a third child

A right royal Christmas for Meghan! Prince Harry's fiance expected to join the Queen for traditional festive celebrations at Sandringham following engagement?

A right royal Christmas for Meghan! Prince Harry's fiance expected to join the Queen for traditional festive celebrations at Sandringham following engagement?

There is no doubt that the royal family will be dying to congratulate the newly engaged Prince Harry and fiance Meghan Markle.

And they will get the perfect opportunity to do just that when the US actress joins the family for Christmas at Sandringham.

It is thought that the 36-year-old will secure an invite to the traditional festivities following the announcement of the engagement.

Meghan Markle is expected to join fiance Prince Harry at Sandringham estate for Christmas this year?

Meghan Markle is expected to join fiance Prince Harry at Sandringham estate for Christmas this year?

Meghan was not invited to join the royal family's celebrations last year with it considered unprecedented as the invite usually reserved for close family.

But with a wedding on the way Meghan is expected to be welcomed to the three day celebrations in the Norfolk home.

It would breakaway from tradition however, as Kate was not invited to join Prince William for Christmas in 2010 despite announcing their engagement a month before, however, it does seem to be on the cards.

According to Closer magazine, Meghan is 'thrilled' at the prospect of joining her Prince for Christmas.

A source told the magazine that Kate is willing to offer Meghan a hand to hold through her first experience.

?'Kate's offered to put Doria (Meghan's mother) up in a guest bedroom at Anmer Hall,' said a source, in relation to the property on the Sandringham estate Kate shares with William.

The invitation from the Queen (pictured during last year's Christmas speech) is reserved for close family members?

The invitation from the Queen (pictured during last year's Christmas speech) is reserved for close family members?

The royals enjoy a deeply traditional three day celebration from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. Pictured: Members of the Middleton family arrive at church in Sandringham on Christmas day

The royals enjoy a deeply traditional three day celebration from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. Pictured: Members of the Middleton family arrive at church in Sandringham on Christmas day

'Kate was a bag of nerves the first time she did Christmas with the royals, so she knows exactly how daunting it must be for Meghan,'

If Meghan was to join the family at the Norfolk estate she would be welcomed into a Christmas steeped in tradition.

The royal family join the Queen and Prince Philip at their Sandringham residence from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day and everything from their arrival time to when they eat breakfast, walk the dogs, sit down to lunch and retire to bed is strictly timetabled. Even lunch on Christmas Day is pencilled in for just 50 minutes.?

Over three days, the royals celebrate a deeply traditional Christmas with a personal touch including 'cheap and cheerful' gifts given on Christmas Eve and a liking for charades.

Prince Philip leads the family on the 330-yard walk to the 16th Century church of St Mary Magdalene on Christmas morning. The Queen, however, is driven. The service is always about 45 minutes, the Queen having received Communion privately in the morning.?

The Royals enjoy bespoke Christmas crackers made by Dorset company Celebration Crackers. Everyone wears paper hats except the Queen. Party games are popular, as are cards.

For lunch on Christmas Eve, the men wear suits and the women wear smart silk dresses, but they change into black tie and glamorous gowns for dinner. It's the one time the women wear their most expensive jewellery and almost all wear tiaras.

On Christmas Day, they come down for breakfast dressed in their church outfits – usually a day dress or a smart suit with pearls for the women. For the traditional walk to church, the men don warm overcoats.??

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The matching bracelets that gave the royal couple's secret affair away after months of being in the same place at the same time

A blue, black and white bracelet worn by Harry gave away the relationship when Meghan Markle posted several images of her own matching one Instagram.

Before that moment only Harry's closest family and friends knew he had fallen in love with the LA-born star.

Miss Markle?posted a picture of herself wearing the distinctive bracelet at a celebrity retreat in Oxfordshire in September last year - two months before it became official.

She then posted several more photos of it on her wrist on social media as Harry attended a series of royal engagements wearing the same one.

Harry reportedly picked them up during one of his trips to Africa - and he was also on the continent at the same as Meghan in their first few months as a couple.?

A blue, black and white bracelet worn by Harry gave away the relationship when Meghan Markle posted several images of her own on Instagram
One of Meghan's social media images

A blue, black and white bracelet worn by Harry gave away the relationship when Meghan Markle posted several images of her own on Instagram

It later emerged that Meghan had been spending long periods in London, again given away by her Instagram account.?

Her posts revealed that they had probably been together since May and the actress had enjoyed near-monthly visits to London ever since then.

In May 2016, Harry was in the Canadian city to promote his Invictus Games for wounded servicemen and met the divorcee actress, who spends long periods filming hit TV show Suits there.

It seems she repaid the visit and according to her Instagram account she was in London in June, July, August, September and October that year.

After their Toronto meeting, Meghan was seen in the Royal Box at Wimbledon on June 28 - the same day Harry appeared on stage with Coldplay in west London.

Miss Markle posted several pictures of recent trips to London, including a view that appears to be of Kensington, where Harry lives, in July, and a picture of his grandmother's house, Buckingham Palace.

In August she was back in London sightseeing near Tower Bridge and in September she also posted a picture of herself at the luxury Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire with friend Millie Mackintosh.

In October she posed with a panda mask, reportedly in Harry's local Sainsbury's while her husband-to-be was in London.

By then she was wearing a distinctive beaded friendship bracelet with blue, white and black beads - Harry has been wearing an identical one since April this year - and this eventually gave them away.

MAY 2016: The Prince, pictured meeting well-wishers in Toronto, charmed the Canadian public and it appears he had the same effect on the Suits actress, right at the Toronto Eaton Centre
MAY 2016: The Prince, pictured meeting well-wishers in Toronto, charmed the Canadian public and it appears he had the same effect on the Suits actress, right at the Toronto Eaton Centre

MAY 2016: The Prince, pictured meeting well-wishers in Toronto, charmed the Canadian public and it appears he had the same effect on the Suits actress, right at the Toronto Eaton Centre

JUNE: Meghan spent periods in London and made several visits to Wimbledon, left in the Royal Box on June 28 . On the same day Harry appeared on stage with Coldplay at a charity gig next to his Kensington Palace home
JUNE: Meghan spent periods in London and made several visits to Wimbledon, left in the Royal Box on June 28 . On the same day Harry appeared on stage with Coldplay at a charity gig next to his Kensington Palace home

JUNE: Meghan spent periods in London and made several visits to Wimbledon, left in the Royal Box on June 28. On the same day Harry appeared on stage with Coldplay at a charity gig next to his Kensington Palace home

JULY: Meghan visited Buckingham Palace, the home of Harry's grandmother the Queen, and posted this photograph, which also coincided with a period Harry was in London

JULY: Meghan visited Buckingham Palace, the home of Harry's grandmother the Queen, and posted this photograph, which also coincided with a period Harry was in London

JULY: Meghan posted this image of the London skyline over what appears be Kensington, earlier this year with the caption: 'The sun came out to play #London'

JULY: Meghan posted this image of the London skyline over what appears be Kensington, earlier this year with the caption: 'The sun came out to play #London'

AUGUST: Meghan returned to the capital and posted this image of Tower Bridge

AUGUST: Meghan returned to the capital and posted this image of Tower Bridge

SEPTEMBER: Meghan, right, also posted a picture of herself at the Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire with friend Millie Mackintosh

SEPTEMBER: Meghan, right, also posted a picture of herself at the Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire with friend Millie Mackintosh

OCTOBER:  Meghan donned a panda mask in Sainsbury's, believed to be in London. Harry was also in London, right, and was seen at a Metropolitan Police Service of Remembrance in Hendon
OCTOBER:  Meghan donned a panda mask in Sainsbury's, believed to be in London. Harry was also in London, right, and was seen at a Metropolitan Police Service of Remembrance in Hendon

OCTOBER: Meghan donned a panda mask in Sainsbury's, believed to be in London. Harry was also in London, right, and was seen at a Metropolitan Police Service of Remembrance in Hendon, north-west London

Harry's future in-laws... and the rest of Meghan's family

Meghan Markle is close to her 'free-spirited' mother and her 'thoughtful, inspiring' father. The actress has written lovingly of her relationship with both.

But it is the star's extended family which has hit the headlines, with one newspaper describing it as a 'motley collection of individuals who, between them, have a long record of boozing, bust-ups and bankruptcies'.

From a gun crime arrest to a Twitter rant accusing the Suits actress of hypocrisy, Markle's step-relations have already proved controversial so far.

Here's a look at Prince Harry's future in-laws:

Doria Ragland joined her daughter and Harry to watch the Invictus Games closing ceremony in Toronto in September

Doria Ragland joined her daughter and Harry to watch the Invictus Games closing ceremony in Toronto in September

:: MOTHER: Doria Ragland

Miss Markle has described her mother as a 'free-spirited clinical therapist'.

Writing on her lifestyle blog, she told how her mother took her to visit the slums of Jamaica and to see poverty in Mexico when she was just 10.

'My mother raised me to be a global citizen, with eyes open to sometimes harsh realities,' Miss Markle revealed.

Ms Ragland, who is African-American, met Miss Markle's father, Thomas Markle, on the set of the US soap General Hospital, where he worked as a lighting director when she was a temp in the studio.

'I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques,' Miss Markle wrote.

They divorced when Miss Markle was six. Although she lived with her mother in Los Angeles, Miss Markle also spent a great deal of time with her father.

Ms Ragland has worked at a day centre for adults with memory loss and as a yoga therapist.

Ms Ragland, who filed for bankruptcy in 2002, has kept her daughter's counsel despite the press interest.

She was mentioned in the Kensington Palace statement which attacked the media over its treatment of Markle, saying that her mother was 'having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door'.

Ms Ragland also joined her daughter and Harry to watch the Invictus Games closing ceremony in Toronto in September.

:: FATHER: Thomas Wayne Markle

Thomas Markle is a former TV lighting director who worked on shows such as hit sitcom Married... with Children and popular US drama General Hospital.

He won two Emmys for his team's work on General Hospital and was nominated for countless others.

Markle is his only child from his second marriage to Doria Ragland. He has two older children from his first marriage to Roslyn Markle.

He lives a quiet life in Mexico and filed for bankruptcy in 2016 after reports he failed to pay his debts.

Markle is close to her father, who is of Dutch and Irish descent, and has described him as hardworking and caring and believing in her 'grand dream' of becoming an actress.

She has paid tribute to 'the blood, sweat and tears this man (who came from so little in a small town of Pennsylvania, where Christmas stockings were filled with oranges, and dinners were potatoes and spam) invested in my future so that I could grow up to have so much'.

She added: 'It's safe to say I have always been a daddy's girl - he taught me how to fish, to appreciate Busby Berkeley films, write thank you notes, and spend my weekends in Little Tokyo eating chicken teriyaki with vegetable tempura.'

She recalled how one Christmas he created a Barbie family for her when they were only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls

Her new collection of dolls had 'a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each color. My dad had taken the sets apart and customized my family'.

When Markle was confronted with a tick box form to fill in at school about her ethnicity and found she did not fit in to just one category, she revealed: 'My dad said words that will stay with me forever: 'Draw your own box'.'

Miss Markle (left) with (left to right) nephew Thomas Dooley, father Thomas Markle, her nephew Tyler Dooley and Tyler's mother Tracey Dooley

Miss Markle (left) with (left to right) nephew Thomas Dooley, father Thomas Markle, her nephew Tyler Dooley and Tyler's mother Tracey Dooley

:: HALF SISTER: Samantha Grant

Samantha Grant - also known as Samantha Markle - describes herself as a writer, a mental health counsellor and a 'blabbermouth'.

She is Miss Markle's half sister from her father's first marriage. A one-time actress and model, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and uses a wheelchair.

Based in Florida, she is 17 years older than Markle and sells jewellery to raise money to fund the feature films she writes.

Twice-divorced, she has three children - Ashleigh, Christopher and Noelle.

Like her father, she filed for bankruptcy and is estranged from her mother Roslyn - Thomas Markle's first wife - and brother Thomas Jr.

Ms Grant has been an outspoken critic of Miss Markle since news of her relationship with Harry broke, describing her in interviews as a 'shallow social climber' and claiming she shunned her since making it in Hollywood.

'The royal family would be appalled by what she's done to her own family,' she said.

She said Markle had barely spoken to her she was diagnosed with MS nearly a decade ago. She later maintained she never made the critical comments of her half sibling.

Ms Grant claimed she raised Miss Markle for 12 years while she was growing up in California but her ex-husband, Scott Rasmussen, disputed this.

While she has described Markle as 'very beautiful and conservative, very real, very giving', she has also attacked her on Twitter for her lifestyle website The Tig, which Markle has since ended.

'There is so much more to focus on in the world than shoes and handbags,' she said, accusing Miss Markle of 'hypocrisy' for presenting herself as a humanitarian activist.

When Markle wrote an article for Time magazine about period poverty across the world for International Women's Day, Ms Grant retorted: 'But what did she donate to them to make real change come about? Money for toilets, maxi pads, or just a photo op?'

As rumours Harry was engaged to Markle mounted, Ms Grant, in a television interview with Good Morning Britain, denied there was a rift between her and the actress, describing her as 'absolutely lovely', 'very strong', very graceful' - and also 'very lively'.

She insisted she was not writing a 'slamming tell-all' book, but confirmed the work was called The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister.

:: HALF BROTHER: Thomas Markle Junior

Thomas Markle Junior, 50, has been bankrupt once, divorced twice and faced trial on gun charges before the case was dropped.

The father-of-two lives in Grants Pass, Oregon, and works as a window fitter.

He was arrested in January 2017 for allegedly holding a gun to his girlfriend Darlene Blount's head during a drunken argument.

Charged with unlawful use of a dangerous weapon and menacing domestic violence, he faced jailed for up to five years if convicted. The charges were later dismissed. He apologised for his actions and said he was seeking help for his drinking problems.

Mr Markle Jr is not thought to be in contact with his famous half-sister but has given interviews about her and shared family photos with the media.

He claimed Harry had met his girlfriend's father Thomas, but older sister Samantha denied this, tweeting: 'My father hates Tom Jr. And will not talk with him. The articles are B.S. My dad has NOT met Harry.'

Thomas has two sons, Tyler and Thomas Markle III, with his ex-wife, florist Tracy Dooley, whom he divorced in 2001. His second marriage, to Iohannes Rawha, ended in 2009.

:: FATHER'S FIRST WIFE - Roslyn Markle

Rosyln Markle is Thomas Markle's first wife and mother to Samantha Grant and Thomas Jr

Roslyn has said of her estranged daughter: 'Everything she has said about Meghan is a lie.'

The 71-year-old lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has been complimentary about Ms Markle.

'Meghan is very pretty, very nice, very polished and very classy. I never hear anything but good about her from my son Thomas (Jr),' she said.

She also has a younger son, Bobby Lucero.?

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The ones that got away! As Prince Harry pops the question to Meghan Markle, the pop stars, society girls and lingerie models who missed out?

He's regarded as one of the world's most eligible bachelors and as Prince Harry is taken off the market, there's little doubt he's broken the hearts of women across the nation.

But none will feel the hit quite as much as the roll call of exes that the red-headed royal has accumulated over the years.

The party-loving Prince has stolen the hearts of a plethora of genetically-blessed women over the years.?

From sports presenter Natalie Pinkham to long-time love Chelsea Davy, we look back at the ones that got away - and lost out on the tiara to Meghan Markle.?

As Prince Harry pops the question to Meghan Markle, we look back at the pop stars, society girls and lingerie models who missed out on his heart

As Prince Harry pops the question to Meghan Markle, we look back at the pop stars, society girls and lingerie models who missed out on his heart

2016: ELLIE GOULDING

Prince Harry was spotted getting very close to popstar Ellie Goulding at the Audi Polo challenge in Coworth Park, Berkshire, in 2016.

Onlookers said the pair were 'all over each other' and one claimed they appeared to share a kiss under a blanket.

Prince Harry was spotted getting very close to popstar Ellie Goulding just before he and Meghan became an item

Prince Harry was spotted getting very close to popstar Ellie Goulding just before he and Meghan became an item

The insider, who is close to Harry's social circles, said that after the polo there was a late night party where picture-taking was banned to put the celebrities at ease.

'Harry was really going for it after the polo – he was drinking and dancing,' the source told The Sun.

'They were part of a wider group including Tom Hardy but Harry and Ellie only had eyes for each other all night – they spent a lot of time sitting together under blankets.

'They were seen having a kiss before Harry had to go because he was playing polo the next day. Ellie left about five minutes later.'

Harry and Ellie have been friends since they met after Harry's Invictus Games in 2014 but are said to have been exchanging flirtatious texts.?

She was asked to perform at Harry's 30th birthday in September and before singing at the Royal Wedding in 2011 said of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge: 'I'm friends with them, so it's not like it's awkward because I don't know them. So that's fine.'?

Harry and Ellie have been friends since they met after Harry’s Invictus Games in 2014

Harry and Ellie have been friends since they met after Harry's Invictus Games in 2014

2015: JENNA COLEMAN

Prior to Meghan, Prince Harry's last rumoured fling was Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman, who he was alleged to have enjoyed a 'flirty' night with in a 'tactile' after-dark encounter during an A-list polo party.

Witnesses said the royal took the 29-year-old actress by the hand for a private chat after the Audi Polo Challenge at Coworth Park in Ascot on Saturday.

Photographs of their meeting showed Harry with his hand on her knee while the pair leant in on a number occasions and shared several jokes.

One onlooker told The Sun: 'It looked like they were really enjoying each other's company.'

While Harry had been single for almost two years after splitting with actress Cressida Bonas, Miss Coleman was dating Game of Thrones star Richard Madden.

A witness said Harry and Jenna were 'sitting very close, laughing lots and touching each other. I had no idea she had a boyfriend until afterwards, but I don't think he would have been very happy to see this'.

Harry had earlier been playing polo in aid of three charities, Centre Point, Child Bereavement UK and WellChild. Harry stayed on and went to the star-studded party afterwards.??

2014: CRESSIDA BONAS

As Prince Harry's most recent serious ex, actress and society girl Cressida Bonas was the woman presumed to become Prince Harry's wife.

However, in 2014, the pair split and the thespian chose to remain dignified about why exactly the pair parted ways.?

The months leading up to her split from Harry saw rumours hit fever pitch that the pair would imminently announce plans to marry.

Cressida Bonas was the woman presumed to become Prince Harry's wife before they split in 2014

Cressida Bonas was the woman presumed to become Prince Harry's wife before they split in 2014

With a wedding thought to be on the way, the Duchess of Cambridge was even said to be helping shy Cressie learn how to handle to the intensity of the Royal spotlight.

But the actress later dismissed all that as mere 'noise', explaining in an interview: 'All that stuff is not real. It's really important to remember that all it is noise, noise that can be very loud at times.'

Cressida certainly had all the makings of a princess; she is friends with both Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, joining the former in the world record attempt to complete the London Marathon in a human caterpillar in 2010, while the latter is said to have introduced her to Harry.

She is the daughter of renowned Sixties It girl Lady Mary Gaye Curzon (whose father was the 6th Earl Howe) and Old Harrovian Jeffrey Bonas (her mother's third husband) owns a fabric company called MacCulloch & Wallis.

Her parents have racked up six marriages between them so Cressida has a number of half brothers and sisters including soon-to-be a Branson, Isabella, who was once admired by Prince William, and Gabriella Wilde, a model for Burberry.

Cressida certainly had all the makings of a princess; she is the daughter of renowned Sixties It girl Lady Mary Gaye Curzon and Old Harrovian Jeffrey Bonas

Cressida certainly had all the makings of a princess; she is the daughter of renowned Sixties It girl Lady Mary Gaye Curzon and Old Harrovian Jeffrey Bonas

Following her parent's separation, Cressida continued to enjoy a privileged upbringing as her bohemian mother then married multi-millionaire Christopher Shaw.

Cressida attended £30,000-a-year Stowe School in Buckingham where she showed a flair for acting as well as sport.

She was said to be one of the most popular girls at the sixth form because of her zest for fun and free spirit.

She then attended Leeds University where she studied for a degree in dance and had another boyfriend with royal connections - Harry Wentworth-Stanley – whose stepfather, George Milford Haven, is a cousin of the Queen.

Dancing is the blonde's passion and she went on to study contemporary dance at The Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Greenwich.

Having grown up surrounded by a family of what she calls thespians and drama lovers, becoming an actress has long been Cressie's dream.

Now, after studying drama and dance, she bagged herself a role in Tulip Fever, alongside Judi Dench, and supermodel-turned-actress Cara Delevingne, and has taken the fashion world by storm.?

2012: MOLLIE KING

Mollie and Harry first met at a polo match in 2010 and were pictured partying together at Public nightclub and karaoke bar Bunga Bunga in London.

The 24-year-old singer - who split from male model David Gandy earlier that year - and Harry were allegedly set up by his cousin Zara Phillips, who is a friend of the pop star's Saturdays bandmate Una Healy.

Mollie had previously remained very cryptic about the reports that she was in a relationship with the royal.??

Mollie and Harry first met at a polo match in 2010 and were pictured partying together at nightclubs

Mollie and Harry first met at a polo match in 2010 and were pictured partying together at nightclubs

2010: FLORENCE BRUDENELL-BRUCE

According to friends, Miss Brudenell-Bruce, who was Harry's first girlfriend following his split from Chelsy Davy in 2011, found the attention that came with dating a royal hard to deal with.

'Henry has been around a long time,' a source was quoted as saying at the time. 'Harry was more of an affair. Flee hated all the press attention she got when she was dating Harry.

'She really liked him but she was embarrassed by being splashed all over the papers.'

Ms Brudenell-Bruce was Harry's first girlfriend following his split from Chelsy Davy in 2011

Ms Brudenell-Bruce was Harry's first girlfriend following his split from Chelsy Davy in 2011

The lingerie model and society star also had a high profile romance with Formula 1 star Jenson Button.

The 32-year-old is the daughter of Ernest Brudenell-Bruce, 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury, and was romantically linked to Prince Harry before marrying Mr St. George in June 2013.?

2009: CAROLINE FLACK

X Factor host Caroline Flack told how she was once 'Prince Harry's bit of rough', revealing that she dated the royal before her romance with One Direction star Harry Styles.

The television presenter said she began seeing Prince Harry in 2009 after the pair were introduced via a mutual friend.

However, she said that they were forced to call off their relationship after the 'story got out', and two years later she shocked fans by dating a then 17-year-old Harry Styles, who was 14 years her junior.

Details of her romances with both Prince Harry and the One Direction emerged in her autobiography, Storm in a C Cup.

X Factor host Caroline Flack told how she was once 'Prince Harry's bit of rough'

X Factor host Caroline Flack told how she was once 'Prince Harry's bit of rough'

In an extract, the Norfolk-born star reveals how she 'perked up' after being introduced to Prince Harry, 31, by their mutual friend Natalie Pinkham, a Formula One correspondent for Sky Sports.

The pair met during an organised night out by Ms Pinkham, which came just after Flack had split from a former boyfriend.

She said: 'I knew she was friends with Prince Harry, and I'd never met him, so I thought, 'Oh that's quite exciting', and for a moment I perked up.

'To meet a prince is so unlikely it would be weird not to acknowledge it.'

She said the pair began seeing each other, being photographed out together and that on a personal level she 'really liked him'.

But she added: 'However, once the story got out, that was it. We had to stop seeing each other.

'I was no longer Caroline Flack, TV presenter, I was Caroline Flack, Prince Harry's bit of rough.'?

2004-2010: CHELSEA DAVY

As one of his longest-standing girlfriends, Chelsea was also lined up to be Prince Harry's wife before they split in 2010.

The 32-year-old businesswoman, currently promoting an ethical jewellery brand, recently lifted the lid on what it feels like to date the prince, calling the intense media interest 'scary'.

Chelsea Davy was also lined up to be Prince Harry's wife before they split in 2010

Chelsea Davy was also lined up to be Prince Harry's wife before they split in 2010

On and off with Harry for the best part of seven years, Zimbabwe-born Davy revealed that she 'couldn't cope' with the attention and eventually retreated back to Africa for calm.

In an interview with the Times, Davy revealed that being chased by photographers desperate to capture images of the couple together was terrifying.

Harry and Chelsea were on and off again for the best part of seven years

Harry and Chelsea were on and off again for the best part of seven years

When the couple split in 2010, she says she retreated once again to her native Zimbabwe

When the couple split in 2010, she says she retreated once again to her native Zimbabwe

She said: 'It was so full-on: crazy and scary and uncomfortable. I found it very difficult when it was bad. I couldn't cope.'

The former lawyer describes herself as 'just a normal kid' and says it was 'tough' to go through such chases at such a young age, saying: 'I was trying to be a normal kid and it was horrible.'

After first meeting while she was a teenager at Cheltenham and then getting together during Prince Harry's gap year in Cape Town, Davy returned to the UK to study in Leeds and be closer to the young royal.

Despite going on to establish a highly prized career at solicitor's firm Allen & Overy, Chelsy was branded 'a party girl' by the media for her love of socialising.

She concedes she did nothing to correct the image and admits to 'going out and partying a lot'.?

When the couple split in 2010, she says she retreated once again to her native Zimbabwe unable to handle the break-up headlines. 'It was nuts,' she says. 'That's also why I wanted to go back to Africa. Now it's calm, it's fine.'

Chelsy, whose mother Beverley Donald is former Miss Rhodesia 1973, now divides her time between Zimbabwe, where her family is based, her jewellery mine in Zambia and west London - where she has a home in Chelsea.

She says she'll always 'be good friends' with Harry and indeed remained so much a part of the royal circle that she was invited to William and Kate's wedding in 2011.

She's happy to be back in the media spotlight once more though, this time launching her new venture, an ethical beauty range.

The African-based jewellery company, Aya, making pieces with gems mined in Zambia. Of the range, she has said: 'Aya is not a charity, it is a luxury brand of beautiful top quality stones and solid gold. But it won't neglect the communities from where they are sourced.'??

2003: NATALIE PINKHAM

Rumours of Natalie and Harry's liaison started to whirl in 2006 after pictures surfaced of the pair and a source reported at the time that Harry was 'absolutely infatuated with Natalie'.

Yet the relationship didn't blossom further and she went on to marry Endemol executive Owain Walbyoff and the pair have a one-year-old baby boy.

The duo, who mix in the same circles, have remained close friends ever since.?

Rumours of Natalie Pinkham and Harry's liaison started to whirl in 2006 after pictures surfaced of the pair

Rumours of Natalie Pinkham and Harry's liaison started to whirl in 2006 after pictures surfaced of the pair

2009: ASTRID HARBORD?

Party-loving Astrid - who with her sister Davina has been dubbed one half of the 'The hardcore sisters' - was spotted in the back of a car with Harry entering Clarence House by a rear gate in the early hours of the morning in 2009.

A month later it emerged that Harry had attended an illegal rave with the Harbord sisters and 400 other revellers in a repossessed office block in Whitechapel, East London, and the prince left the 'Dress2Sweat' event at 1.30am with Miss Harbord.

Astrid, a history graduate from Bristol University who works in hotel PR, is also at the centre of William and Harry's set and was a guest at the royal wedding.?

Party-loving Astrid Harbord was spotted in the back of a car with Harry entering Clarence House by a rear gate in the early hours of the morning in 2009

Party-loving Astrid Harbord was spotted in the back of a car with Harry entering Clarence House by a rear gate in the early hours of the morning in 2009

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Could THESE be Meghan's bridesmaids? Following the announcement of the royal proposal meet the women who could be poised to walk Miss Markle down the aisle

Following the announcement of Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle royal fans will be eagerly anticipating the royal wedding to follow.

And while Meghan's dress is anyone's guess those holding the train are less of an enigma with the US actress championing several female friends on social media.??

From the Wimbledon champion she now considers a close friend to the Star Wars actress she has known for 15 years FEMAIL reveal the possible bridesmaids-to-be in Miss Markle's arsenal.

Prince Harry isn't Meghan Markle's only high profile companion with the Suits actress boasting an impressive arsenal of high flying friends including Star Wars actress Janina Gavankar?

Prince Harry isn't Meghan Markle's only high profile companion with the Suits actress boasting an impressive arsenal of high flying friends including Star Wars actress Janina Gavankar?

JANINA GAVANKAR

Janina is one of Meghan's oldest friends with the pair having met 15 years ago and still remaining close today.?

In a recent snap she shared on Instagram, the US based actress gushed about her friendship with Janina writing: 'Couldn't be prouder of how far we've come, and couldn't be more grateful for being able to share every step of it with you'.

Janina is a fellow actor with her most acclaimed role as Iden Versio in the recent Star Wars Battlefront II. The actress has also starred in True Blood as well as The Vampire Diaries.?

Meghan has clearly had a big impact on Janina's life having inspired her pal to launch her very own lifestyle website altfound after she disolved her own website The Tig in April this year.

Jessica Mulroney started out as Meghan's stylist but quickly became close pals with Prince Harry's girlfriend?

Jessica Mulroney started out as Meghan's stylist but quickly became close pals with Prince Harry's girlfriend?

JESSICA MULRONEY

Jessica has a heavy presence on Meghan's social media with the pair often sharing cheeky selfies together online, including their various trips together including a lavish holiday to Italy last year.

Jessica is a mother to Ivy who can also been spending time with Prince Harry's girlfriend and often joins her mother on trips to Meghan's house.

As well as providing services as a friend ?Jessica also acts as Meghan's stylist believed to have been employed three years ago to make sure her pal is perfectly preened for her public appearances.

Jessica features heavily on Miss Markle's Instagram account with the pair recently enjoying a trip to Italy together?

Jessica features heavily on Miss Markle's Instagram account with the pair recently enjoying a trip to Italy together?

Jessica, is the daughter-in-law of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and the pair met after Meghan moved to Toronto for her role in Suits.?

Jessica first came to the public's attention in November 2015 after she styled Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of current Canadian premier Justin Trudeau.

It was an appointment that raised eyebrows in Canada because of the political rivalry between Jessica's father-in-law and Justin Trudeau's father, Pierre, another ex-prime minister.?

HEATHER DORAK?

Heather Dorak is another of Meghan's hired help working as a fitness guru and ensuring her friend is in the best shape she can be.

Heather Dorak is another of Meghan's hired help working as a fitness guru but like Jessica she and Meghan quickly became close friends

Heather Dorak is another of Meghan's hired help working as a fitness guru but like Jessica she and Meghan quickly became close friends

But like Jessica, Heather and Meghan quickly became close and now spend much of their spare time together outside of the gym.

Heather is famed in Los Angeles for her company Pilates Platinum and her health and fitness tips saw her enlisted as well-being writer for Meghan's lifestyle website The Tig before it's closure.

The pair have far exceeded the boundaries of fitness instructor and client with Meghan even celebrating Christmas with Heather last December.

BENITA LITT?

Meghan is godmother to her friend Benita Litt's two daughters and is thought to have spent Christmas with the family last year

Meghan is godmother to her friend Benita Litt's two daughters and is thought to have spent Christmas with the family last year

Benita is one of Meghan's closest friends with the US actress acting as godmother to Mrs Litt's two daughters and even helping the family to decorate their Christmas tree last year.

Benita launched the bag company Legend of Lido based in Venice Beach?and also runs her own brand agency under her name where she helps others to start their businesses.?

MISHA NONOO

Fashion designer Misha Nonoo, who split from Alexander Gilkes last year after four years of marriage, and was believed to have introduced the loved-up pair over the summer.?

And while reports have since claimed that the pair were introduced by?by Soho House director Markus Anderson in London Misha is a mutual friend of both the prince and Meghan.??

Fashion designer Misha Nonoo?is very well connected in royal circles as her estranged husband went to Eton with Prince Harry and Prince William

Fashion designer Misha Nonoo?is very well connected in royal circles as her estranged husband went to Eton with Prince Harry and Prince William

Misha is very well connected in royal circles as her estranged husband went to Eton with Prince Harry and Prince William.

Gilkes was a guest at the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton back in 2011, and his younger brother Charlie dated Pippa Middleton for years.?

Misha remains close friends with Meghan today and the designer can be seen sharing photos of the actress in her wears on her Instagram account. ??

MILLIE MACKINTOSH?

While Meghan has a whole host of pals back in the US and Canada she has already made some firm friends on UK soil including former reality star Millie Mackintosh.

Millie Mackintosh has come somewhat of a go-to pal for Meghan during her visits to London with the pair enjoying a trip to Soho house together?

Millie Mackintosh has come somewhat of a go-to pal for Meghan during her visits to London with the pair enjoying a trip to Soho house together?

The pair spent time at Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire, last year, with Meghan gushing on Instagram: 'The best afternoon with Millie Mackintosh. So proud of you darling.'

Meghan?lists the former Made in Chelsea star as one of her go-to workout buddies and has previously said that she can't wait to join her healthy pal at Russ Bateman's Skinny B**** Collective class.

SERENA WILLIAMS

Also in the British set is tennis champion Serena Williams who Meghan counts as a close friend after meeting at a charity football game in 2014.

Following their Meghan wrote on The Tig: 'We hit it off immediately, taking pictures, laughing and chatting not about tennis or acting but about good old-fashioned girly stuff. So began our friendship.'?

Serena Williams who Meghan counts as a close friend after meeting at a charity football game in 2014

Serena Williams who Meghan counts as a close friend after meeting at a charity football game in 2014

She has said of Williams: 'She quickly became a confidante I would text when I was travelling, the friend I would rally around for her tennis matches, and the down-to-earth chick I was able to grab lunch with a couple of weeks ago in Toronto.

'We are both the same age, have a penchant for hot sauces and adore fashion, but what connects us more than those things is perhaps our belief in exceeding expectations — our endless ambition.'

On her visit to London in 2016, Meghan watched Williams at Wimbledon and sat a few rows away from Pippa Middleton.

Since then, she has plugged the tennis player's fashion show at New York Fashion Week — 'so proud of your new collection'. She has also contributed to a flattering profile of the sports star in America's glossiest celebrity magazine, Vanity Fair.?

LINDSAY ROTH ?

The TV producer and author is easily vying for the best friend title in Meghan's friendship circle having recently enlisted the actress as Maid of Honour at her wedding in Greece last August.

The pair first met when they took the same Toni Morrison literature class at Northwestern University and have remained close friends ever since.?

Meghan met producer Lindsay Roth when they took the same Toni Morrison literature class at Northwestern University

Meghan met producer Lindsay Roth when they took the same Toni Morrison literature class at Northwestern University

Lindsay is easily vying for the best friend title in Meghan's friendship circle having recently enlisted the actress as Maid of Honour at her wedding in Greece last August

Lindsay is easily vying for the best friend title in Meghan's friendship circle having recently enlisted the actress as Maid of Honour at her wedding in Greece last August

Lindsay recently paid tribute to her 'generous and supportive' pal in an interview with People magazine.

'I think people assume that when someone gains notoriety that they change. But she's still the same girl I met years ago, with the same values and priorities,' she said.

'She's selfless, and that's just a part of who she is and who she was raised to be.'?

She said she's not surprised by how well Meghan has handled the attention since her relationship with Prince Harry came to light, saying everyone can learn from how she deals with life's challenges 'gracefully, smartly, elegantly, positively, realistically and graciously'.

Referring to her close pal as 'Meg' she said that the pair have a shared motto that they've relied on over the years, which is: 'I choose happiness'.??

PRIYANKA CHOPRA ?

Crowned Miss World at the age of 18 in 2000, Priyanka Chopra is a hugely successful film actress. A tireless social networker, she met Meghan at a party in Toronto two years ago.

After Meghan interviewed her for her blog, The Tig, Priyanka Chopra and Meghan quickly became friends?

After Meghan interviewed her for her blog, The Tig, Priyanka Chopra and Meghan quickly became friends?

After Meghan interviewed her for her blog, The Tig, they became friends and Priyanka has publicised photos of them together — including one where they drank cocktails together in a dimly-lit bar in Los Angeles.

For her part, Meghan shared a picture of herself and the Indian actress (who has made more than 50 Bollywood films) at Soho House in New York and hanging out by a pool.

Priyanka is a Unicef ambassador and recently returned from Jordan, where she highlighted the plight of Syrian refugees. She lives between Mumbai, where she grew up, and Toronto and celebrated her 30th birthday with a party at U2 star Bono's house. Rockers Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen are also among her friends.?

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