Britain’s Prince Harry declared he was “thrilled” as he and bride-to-be Meghan Markle made their first appearance in public since the announcement of their engagement.
Harry and American actress Ms Markle stepped out briefly in front of the cameras hand in hand at an open-air photocall in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London.
Their long-anticipated engagement was announced by the Prince of Wales on yesterday morning with a statement saying that the couple, who have been dating for 16 months, will marry in the spring.
A beaming Ms Markle, in a white belted coat, clutched Harry’s hand with both of her hands as they posed briefly for the press, and showed off her diamond engagement ring.
Ms Markle said she was “so very happy, thank you” to be engaged to Harry.
The prince, meanwhile, said that he was “thrilled, over the moon” adding: “Very glad it’s not raining as well.”
The couple were smiling and giggling throughout their appearance.
Harry revealed that he knew Ms Markle was “the one” from the first moment they met.
“When did I know she was the one? Very first time we met,” the prince said.
The couple braved the cold and answered a number of questions from the waiting press, before waving at the cameras and walking back through the garden arm in arm.
The Sunken Garden is poignantly the site of the memorial garden created in memory of Harry’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales to mark the 20th anniversary of her death this year.
It was one of the princess’s favourite parts of the palace grounds.
Ms Markle’s white coat was by Canadian brand Line the Label, and her dress by P.A.R.O.S.H.
It appeared as if the ‘Meghan Effect’ was already under way, with Line the Label’s website crashing yesterday because of the numbers of people trying to access its site.
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 the couple met through mutual friends in London, and the pair have been almost inseparable in recent months.
The much-anticipated engagement news was confirmed by Harry’s father, Prince Charles, in a brief statement issued by Clarence House.
Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh said they were “delighted” for their grandson and his bride-to-be, and “wish them every happiness”.
Harry’s brother William and his wife, Kate, said: “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.”
Ms Markle’s parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland wished their daughter and Harry “a lifetime of happiness”, adding: “We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry.”
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