Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have made their first public appearance as an engaged couple since their upcoming nuptials were announced to the world this morning.
“Trying to roast a chicken and it [was] just - just an amazing surprise,” Markle said. “It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee.”
“I said - can I say yes now?” Markle added.
The official date for the wedding has not been announced, but when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got engaged, it took a week before the date was revealed.
However, Downing Street said this afternoon that there are “no plans” for a public holiday to mark the occasion.
The nervous-looking pair - who are set to tie the knot next Spring - posed for an official photo call in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Gardens this afternoon.
In an unusual move for the Royals, Harry and Markle appeared extremely affectionate during the outing, holding hands and walking arm-in-arm during the event.
Suits actress Markle used the opportunity to show off her diamond engagement ring to the cameras.
According to Kensington Palace, the ring was designed by Prince Harry and made with a 4 carat diamond from Botswana, where the couple travelled together earlier this year.
It also features two diamonds which belonged to Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, and was made by the Queen’s jewellers.
Markle, 36, opted for a belted white coat from Line The Label for the outing, with fans reportedly crashing the brand’s website within an hour of the photos emerging as they tried to replicate her style.
Speaking to journalists after the photo call, Prince Harry said he was “thrilled” to announce the news.
“When did I know she was the one?” he said in response to one reporter’s question. “The very first time we met.”
While the couple did not discuss the proposal, Hollywood star Markle described it as “very” romantic.
“That will come later,” Harry added.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh “are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness”.
Her 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.”
In a statement, Clarence House said: “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”
Speaking in Poundbury in Dorset, the Prince of Wales said he was “thrilled” and “very happy indeed” for the pair.
There were rumours that 33-year-old Harry spoke to the Queen in the summer while at Balmoral to ask for the opportunity to introduce Markle.
It was also reported that the couple took tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace in October, which some suggested may have been used as an opportunity to ask for her blessing for an engagement.
Markle has already met the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, who are reportedly fans.
The pair will live in Kensington Palace’s Nottingham Cottage after the wedding, it was announced this morning.
Congratulations for the pair began to roll in following the announcement...
Outside Buckingham Palace this afternoon, tourists and Londoners alike shared their joy about the engagement, with many celebrating the fact that the marriage will mark an important step towards the Royal Family representing the diversity of modern Britain.
Anna Marie from Bristol told HuffPost UK: “I’m so pleased for them - I think it’s lovely to have someone with darker skin joining the Royal Family.
“We’re such an integrated society now - I have mixed race children of my own and I think it’s great that the Royal Family will represent that.”
Chris and Emma from Liverpool added: ”“Harry’s down to earth anyway, so you wouldn’t expect him to go for someone of Royal descent.
“It’s all changing - they’re not stuck in the mud anymore, are they?”
Meanwhile, a number of Americans visiting London expressed their excitement about one someone from the USA joining the Royals.
“Meghan is amazing - she is beauty, joy and grace personified and I could not be happier for them,” said Aimee Williamson, a tourist visiting from Florida.
Texans Lindsey, Brittney and Daniella added: “It’s so exciting that there’s going to be an American in the Royal Family. They’re very public from what I have seen and it’s so nice to have some diversity.”
Following the wedding, Markle will become an HRH (Her Royal Highness).
The 36-year-old actor, who has been married once before, is best known for her role in television legal drama Suits.
Markle spoke publicly for the first time about the relationship in September, when she told Vanity Fair: “We’re two people who are really happy and in love.
“We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception.”
Harry first confirmed the two were dating in November 2016 when he delivered a statement regarding alleged press and paparazzi harassment and online abuse Markle was subjected to as a result of the relationship.
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At the time, Harry was “worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” the statement said.
After that public confirmation, the two attended weddings together and reportedly lived together in Canada, where Markle’s television show “Suits” is filmed, and have been able to maintain some level of privacy.
Aside from her work as an actor, Markle is known for her activism and charitable work. She has served as an advocate for UN Women and an international ambassador for Global Vision, a relief, development and advocacy organisation that helps provide access to clean water in over 50 countries.
Markle has spoken openly about finding her confidence being biracial (her mother is African-American and her father is Caucasian), writing that although her mixed heritage “may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, 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”.