Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have today announced they are engaged after the Queen gave her grandson permission to marry the star just a week after she celebrated her own 70th wedding anniversary.
The couple, who revealed they were an item a year ago after a six-month secret relationship, got engaged earlier this month in London and will marry in spring 2018, Kensington Palace said.
Harry, 33, and his American fiancee, 36, have not said where they will hold the ceremony but if they choose the UK most senior royals marry at Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral or the chapel at Windsor Castle.
They have chosen to state they are getting married just before they spend their first proper Christmas together.
Meghan, who is divorced, 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.
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
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
The Prince and Meghan snuggled up and the prince gives her a kiss during the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games at the Air Canada Centre in September
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.
Meghan and Harry became an item officially almost exactly 12 months ago, and the star couldn’t hide her smiles as the news emerged in November last year
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 are likely to 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.
Harry and Meghan made a number of secret trips to see each other and this is the moment Harry left her Toronto home undercover in November last year
Meghan was next seen shopping at Whole Foods just yards from Harry’s home inside Kensington Palace, where she is likely to move to
The couple were first pictured together in Christmas last year and again in London visiting Soho House hand-in-hand in February
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’.
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.
The pair were seen embracing following polo at the Audi Polo Challenge at Coworth Park, Berkshire in May
Harry and Meghan were pictured walking next to each other in March as they attended the wedding of one of his closest friends, in Montego Bay, on the north coast of Jamaica
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are seen arriving at the Closing Ceremony of the Invictus Games
African-American mother, a father of Dutch and Irish descent… and her half-sister’s controversial book
The prince and Meghan a the Invictus Games – pictured with her mother, Doria Ragland
The daughter of an African-American mother and a father of Dutch and Irish descent, Miss Markle spent time on film sets as a child.
Her father Thomas was a cinematographer, and worked on the hit US sitcom Married With Children; her mother is Doria Ragland – a social worker and yoga therapist.
Doria was just 20 years old, and temping in a TV studio, when she caught the eye of Meghan’s father.
At the time, Thomas was a 32-year-old divorcee with two children. They married in 1979, and Meghan was born two years later.
Meghan remains close to her mother, who divorced her father when she was six, and is often seen with her on the red carpet.
At Prince Harry’s Invictus Games in Toronto in September, Meghan brought Doria to the closing ceremony in a sign of their closeness.
Doria, who filed for bankruptcy in 2002 over a $52,750 credit-card bill, appears to be the one of the defining influences on her daughter’s life.
Meghan, who has described her childhood as happy and settled, has an older brother, Thomas Markle Jr.
She also has a wheelchair-bound estranged half-sister, Samantha Grant, 52 – who is writing a book about her sibling.
Grant’s book has the working title ‘The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister’ and it will talk in-depth about her family’s racist past, it was revealed in September.
The mother-of-three, who has multiple sclerosis, previously revealed that the last time she saw her half-sister – the siblings share the same father – was at her graduation in 2008.
The previously unseen book pitch suggests Grant will lift the lid on overt racism in her own family – but adds that the birth of Meghan in 1981 made her ‘forever colour blind’.
Meghan’s father Thomas (above) was a cinematographer, and worked on the hit US sitcom Married With Children; her mother is Doria Ragland – a social worker and yoga therapist. Doria was just 20 years old, and temping in a TV studio, when she caught the eye of Meghan’s father
WHERE WILL THEY MARRY?
WESTMINSTER ABBEY is usually the frontrunner for oryals. 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Meghan’s racy Suits scenes as ‘Rachel Zane’ – but she quit after getting serious with Harry
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.
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
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 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
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, 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
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
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 (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.
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
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
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 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 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.
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
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
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 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
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, north-west London
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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’
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
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
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
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
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
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 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, 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 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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’.
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, 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.