Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
London, United Kingdom (4E) – Prince Harry, fifth in line to the British throne, and his fiancée, Meghan Markle, a divorced American actress who has taken up humanitarian causes, announced their engagement yesterday to the delight of the British Royal Family and the United Kingdom.
The prince, 33, and Markle, 36, will marry in the spring of 2018. Markle will become the first mixed race royal in British history.
“The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle,” said a statement from Clarence House, the official residence of the Royal Family.
Prince Harry, whose official title is Prince Henry of Wales, and Markle will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after they marry. Markle may be known informally as Princess Meghan.
The couple dated for a year and a half before announcing their engagement. They met on a blind date.
The announcement of the engagement was quickly followed by messages of congratulations. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip said they were “delighted” and wished Prince Harry and Markle “every happiness.”
Prince Charles, Harry’s father, said he was “thrilled,” while Prime Minister Theresa May said the engagement marked “a time of huge celebration and excitement.”
Prince William (Prince Harry’s elder brother) and Catherine (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) said they were “very excited for Harry and Meghan.” Kate’s third child is due in April and Harry and Meghan’s wedding might take place before this event.
Markle’s parents, Doria Ragland (an African-American) and Thomas Markle (who is Caucasian) said they were “incredibly happy” for their daughter and Prince Harry.
Apart from being an actress on American television, Markle is notable for her charitable work, and is a global ambassador for World Vision Canada. She’s also worked for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Harry and Meghan have been compared in the British media to King Edward VIII who caused a constitutional crisis in 1936 before he abdicated to marry the American socialite and divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Markle was in a relationship with actor and producer Trevor Engelson from 2004 to 2011. They married on September 10, 2011 but divorced in August 2013.
Prince Harry designed the engagement ring, which consists of three glittering diamonds: a central stone from Botswana and two others from the collection of the Prince’s mother, Princess Diana, who died in 1997.
The ring is yellow gold, which is Markle’s favorite combination, said Prince Harry.
“It’s incredibly special to be able to have this, which sort of links where you come from and Botswana, which is important to us, and it’s perfect,” said Markle to Prince Harry.
Just weeks into their relationship, Prince Harry invited Markle on a five-day trip to Botswana.
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