Buckingham Palace staff were briefed on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement in a secret meeting yesterday, a royal source has revealed.
The Queen was reportedly at the meeting in person as staff were told the couple plan on having a non-traditional wedding.
The source told the Daily Star that Harry and Meghan could make an official announcement at any time up until the New Year.
The source said: ‘They are engaged but they are trying to sort a few things out now, like house hunting for a retreat and other things.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, pictured at the Invictus Games in September, are rumoured to be about to announce their engagement sending fans into a spin
‘It will be up to them to decide when to announce it as they want to do it their own way, which Her Majesty agrees with.’
Kensington Palace has refused to comment on the matter.
Social media has already gone into overdrive amid claims Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could announce their engagement any day now.
Royal wedding fans are glued to news websites, TV, Twitter and Facebook, waiting to hear that the fifth-in-line to the throne has proposed to his actress girlfriend.
Sources had claimed that the announcement could come today and has led to feverish excitement online about a new royal wedding.
MailOnline can also reveal there are 11 good reasons why Prince Harry, 33, and Meghan Markle, 36, are likely to announce their engagement imminently, especially because the American-born divorcee appears to be moving to London.
Bookmakers have stopped taking bets on the couple getting married and say there has been a sudden burst of wagers on a May wedding.
Rumours swept across social media that it would happen today, including at 11am and 5pm
There was feverish guesses on social media as no official announcement came from Kensington Palace
Rob Young tweeted: ‘Rumour has it Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement will be announced at 5pm today’.
Aine McManus said: ‘I cannot cope with being sick – convinced the only thing that will cure me is an official announcement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement’
@MiajltF said: ‘We all are guessing for the announcement !! Harry and Meghan will announce it tomorrow 11am UK time!! It’s still unofficial but we all are betting on it’.
Katherine Findleys said: ‘Crosses fingers for Harry and Meghan engagement announcement. I LOVE a royal wedding’.
@RoyallyPetite said: ‘The rumours of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement have stepped up a notch with reports that a television announcement has already been recorded’.
Britain’s main bookmakers pulled all deals on when the engagement will take place when Meghan landed in London on Tuesday.
But there has been a flurry of specific bets about the wedding taking place in April or May, just after the due date of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child.
A Betfair spokesman said: ‘We saw some quite interesting betting on May 2018 to be the date for the wedding.
‘Originally the favourite months had been June and July but these bets were quite specific about May.
‘We don’t think there is anything suspicious but there had been lots of reports yesterday about the BBC being put on stand-by and also May would be the first opportunity after Kate has her baby.’
Intriguingly Windsor Castle is closed on April 20 this year and its state apartments will be shut on the day before and afterwards, but the castle told MailOnline they would not comment on private events.
Westminster Abbey is the favourite on the betting markets followed by St Paul’s Cathedral.
MailOnline has set out the 11 main reasons why their engagement is believed to be imminent.
Speculation has been ramped up in recent weeks that Harry could have proposed to the 36-year-old US actress, with the couple said to be ‘head over heels’ in love.
Today there were also unconfirmed claims online that Buckingham Palace had called in the majority of staff for an emergency meeting related to the prince.
Google even jumped the gun by referring to the Duchess of Cambridge as Meghan’s sister in law when search using the Suits star’s name.
Here are the 11 reasons in full:
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
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 have revealed they have been told to expect an announcement and they are said to have it prepared, although the exact timing is unclear.
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.
Rumours were that it would be at 11am – the traditional time for a royal announcement – then it was claimed it was put back to 5pm.
6. NOT in US for Thanksgiving
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
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.
11. Google jumps the gun
Google even jumped the gun by referring to the Duchess of Cambridge as Meghan’s sister in law when search using the Suits star’s name
Eagle-eyed royal watchers who Googled Meghan Markle today noticed that Google results referred to the couple as if they were already married.
People searching for news found that her biography said the Duchess of Cambridge was her sister in law.
The error is believed be generated by Wikipedia, whose entries appear automatically on the right hand side of a Google page.