Meghan Markle poses in a yellow bikini and trilby hat

‘He proposed while roasting a chicken’

Prince Harry: It happened a few weeks ago, earlier this month, here at our cottage; just a standard typical night for us.

Meghan Markle: Just a cosy night, it was – what we were doing just roasting chicken and having …

Prince Harry: Roasting a chicken, trying to roast a chicken.

Meghan Markle: Trying to roast a chicken and it just – just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee.

Prince Harry: Of course.

Was it a ‘yes’ straight away?

Meghan Markle: Yes, as a matter of fact I could barely let you finish proposing, I said – can I say yes now?

Prince Harry: She didn’t even let me finish, she said can I say yes, can I say yes and then were was hugs and I had the ring in my finger and I was like can I – can I give you the ring? She goes – oh yes the ring.

So no it was – it was a really nice moment, it was just the two of us and I think managed to catch – catch her by surprise as well.

Meghan Markle: Yeah.

How long did Harry wait to pop the question? 

Meghan Markle: Oh it would be a year and a half, a little bit more than that?

Prince Harry: No just about – it would be about a year and a half yeah.

Meghan Markle: Just about that?

Has it been a whirlwind romance? 

Meghan Markle: I don’t think that I would call it a whirlwind in terms of our relationship, obviously there have been layers attached to how public it has become after we had a good five, six months almost with just privacy, which was amazing.

But no, I think we were able to really have so much time just to connect and we never went longer than two weeks without seeing each other, even though we were obviously doing a long distance relationship. So it’s – we made it work.

How did they first meet?

Prince Harry: Ah yes, we first met – we were introduced actually by a mutual friend, who – we will …

Meghan Markle: We should protect her privacy and not reveal too much of that.

Prince Harry: We’ll protect her privacy yeah. And – but it was – it was literally – it was through her and then we met once and then twice back to back two dates in London, last July.

Meghan Markle: Yes.

Prince Harry: The beginning of July. And then it was I think about three, maybe four weeks later that I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana. And we – we camped out with each other under the stars, we spent – she came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.

Meghan Markle: Just to take the – take the time to be able to go on long country walks and just talk.

Prince Harry: We’ve been – we’ve been all over the place.

Has Meghan met the Queen? 

Meghan Markle: I have, yes.

Prince Harry: A couple of times.

Meghan Markle: Yes, true, a couple of times. 

 It’s incredible, I think, you know, a) to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honour and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother, all of those layers have been so important for me so that when I met her I had such a deep understanding and of course incredible respect for being able to have that time with her. And we’ve had a really – she’s – she’s an incredible woman.

Prince Harry: And the corgis took to you straight away.

Meghan Markle: That’s true.

Prince Harry: I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at; this one walks in, absolutely nothing …

Meghan Markle: Just laying on my feet during tea, it was very sweet.

Prince Harry: … just wagging tails and I was just like argh.

Has Meghan brought her beloved dogs to London?

Meghan Markle: Well I have two dogs that I’ve had for quite a long time, both my rescue pups. And one is now staying with very close friends and my other little guy is – yes he’s in the UK, he’s been here for a while.

Int: Okay, let’s hope he adjusts well.

Meghan Markle: I think he’s doing just fine.

On introducing Meghan to the family

Prince Harry: What was it like? It was exciting I mean I’ve – you know I’d been seeing her for a period of time when I – literally didn’t tell anybody at all. And then William was longing to meet her and so was Catherine, so you know being our neighbours we managed to get that in a couple of – well quite a few times now and Catherine has been absolutely …

Meghan Markle: She’s been wonderful.

Prince Harry: … amazing, as has William as well, you know, fantastic support. And then my – my father as well, we had a couple of – no more than that …

Meghan Markle: We’ve had …

Prince Harry: … A handful of teas and meetings and all sorts of gatherings over at his place as well. So no the family together have been absolutely, you know, a solid support and my grandparents as well have been – have been wonderful throughout this whole process and they’ve known for quite some time. So how they – how they haven’t told anybody is – is again a miracle in itself. But now the whole family have come together and have been a huge amount of support.

Meghan Markle: They’ve been amazing.

Are the in-laws over the moon with with the engagement?

Meghan Markle: Yes.  Well I’m sure the onset, both my parents and my close friends were concerned, because we got very quickly swept up in a media storm that, as I shared, was not part of my life before that, but they also had never seen me so happy. And I think also once my friends – excuse me, were able to – to really meet Harry, and my mom, who we’ve spent a lot of time with, who is so much fun.

Prince Harry: Her mum’s amazing.

Meghan Markle: It was just – you know it was just obvious that no matter what we were being put through that it was just temporary and that we were going to be able to get through that. So everybody was really happy. And he’s talked to my dad a few times, hasn’t been able to meet him just yet, but it’s all been – it’s all been worth every effort.

Prince Harry: Yeah, yeah it’s been great.

Do they have plans for children?

Prince Harry: Not currently, no. No, of course, you know, I think one step at a time, and hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future. 

Meghan Markle: His family’s been so welcoming.

Prince Harry: You’ve met quite a few of them actually.

Meghan Markle: I have, on both sides of his family, his mom’s side as well, which has been really important to me too. But yes, the family has been great, and over the past year and a half we’ve just had a really nice time getting to know them and progressively helping me feel a part of, not just the institution, but also part of the family which has been really special.

Prince Harry: Trying to track them down and make sure that they’re around at the same time that she’s popping in without telling too many people … we’ve managed, we’ve actually done incredibly well to make sure that you’ve met all the key people.

The ring  

Prince Harry: The ring is – is obviously yellow gold because that’s what – her favourite and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana and the – the little diamonds either side are from my mother’s jewellery collection to make sure that she’s with us on this – on this crazy journey together. And …

Meghan Markle: It’s beautiful, and he designed it, it’s incredible.

Prince Harry: Yeah, make sure it stays on that finger.

Meghan Markle: Of course.

What does it mean to have Princess Diana’s stones on your finger?

Meghan Markle: I think everything about Harry’s thoughtfulness is – and the inclusion of that and obviously not being able to meet his mom it’s so important to me to – to know that she’s a part of this with us. And I think in being able to meet his aunts and – and also like Julia and just different people who were so important to his mom, I’m able to, in some way, know a part of her through them and of course through him. And it’s – it’s incredibly special. And you know to be able to have this which sort of links where you come from and Botswana which is important to us and it’s – it’s perfect.

What would Diana have thought of Meghan? 

Prince Harry: Oh they’d be thick as thieves, without question, I think she would be over the moon, jumping up and down, you know so excited for me, but then, as I said, would have probably been best friends – best friends with Meghan.

So no it’s – you know it is days like – days like today when – when I really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news. But you know with the ring and with everything else that’s going on I’m sure she’s …

Meghan Markle: She’s with us.

Prince Harry: I’m sure she’s with us yeah, you know, jumping up and down somewhere else.

They met on a blind date 

Meghan Markle: Yes, it was definitely a set-up. It was a blind date.

Prince Harry: It was definitely a set-up. It was a blind date for sure.

Meghan Markle: And it’s so interesting because we talk about it now and even then you know, because I’m from the States you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family. And so, while I now understand very clearly there is a global interest there, I didn’t know much about him and so the only thing that I had asked her when she said she wanted to set us up was, ‘I have one question’ which was, ‘Well, is he nice?’ cos if he wasn’t kind it just didn’t seem like it would make sense and so we went and we had a, met for a drink and I think very quickly into that we said, ‘well what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again.’

Prince Harry: What are we doing tomorrow? Let’s meet again. And then it was like, right, diaries. We need to get the diaries out and find out how we’re going to make this work, because I was off to Africa for a month, she was working. And we just said right where’s the gap? And the gap happened to be in the perfect place.

Had Harry watched Suits before they met? 

Prince Harry: No. I’d never even heard about her until this friend said Meghan Markle. I was like ‘right, okay, give me a bit of background… what’s going on here?’ So no, I’d never watched Suits, I’d never heard of Meghan before, and I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her. And there she was sitting there… I was like okay well I’m going to have to up my game … sit down and make sure I’ve got good chat.

Meghan Markle: I think for both of us though it was, it was really refreshing because, given that I didn’t know a lot about him, everything that I’ve learned about him, I learned through him as opposed to having grown up around different news stories or tabloids or whatever else… anything I’ve learned about him and his family was what he would share with me and vice versa, so for both of us it was just a really authentic and organic way to get to know each other.  

On Meghan’s new duties

Prince Harry: Of course, that sense of responsibility was essentially from day one or maybe a couple of months in, when I suddenly realised actually this is… I feel, I know that I’m in love with this girl, and I hope that she’s in love with me, but we still had to sit down on the sofa. I still had to have some pretty frank conversations with her to say, you know what you’re letting yourself in for, is …it’s a big deal and it’s not…it’s not easy for anybody. But I know that at the end of the day she chooses me, and I choose her, and therefore whatever we have to tackle together or individually we’ll always be us together as a team, so I think she’s capable…

Meghan Markle: That’s so nicely said, isn’t it?

Prince Harry: …She’s capable of anything

Meghan Markle: Thank you

Prince Harry: And together as I said there’s a hell of a lot of stuff and work that needs doing. At the moment for us it’s going to be making sure our relationship is always put first. But both of us have passions for wanting to make change, change for good, and with lots of young people running around the Commonwealth that’s where we’re going to spend most of our time hopefully.

Meghan Markle: And it was really one of the first things we connected on. It was one of the first things we started talking about when we met was just the different things that we wanted to do in the world and how passionate we were about seeing change. I think that was, that’s what’s got date two in the books probably (laughs).

Prince Harry: Plenty to talk about. 

On bonding over nights on the sofa

Prince Harry: Yes, we’ve had to sort of reverse the whole process, and cosy nights in, in front of the television, cooking dinner just the two of us by ourselves in our little cottage, rather than going out for dinner and being seen in public, so we have, we’ve reversed the whole process which … it’s provided different opportunities, and it’s made us a hell of a lot closer in a shorter space of time without question.

Meghan Markle: That’s true.

Prince Harry: So if anybody else at home is listening then maybe slow down on dates and maybe spend more time at home. But, for us, it’s an opportunity to really get to know each other without other people looking or trying to take photos on their phones and all that kind of stuff. That comes with the job, comes with the role.

Meghan Markle: And we were able to really get to know each other that way, but also then to go and have friends over for dinner or to go to his family’s for tea or…. any of those sort of things and even you know just to take the time to be able to go on long country walks and just talk.