The 33-year-old royal and the 36-year-old American actor, who have been dating since 2016, got engaged earlier this month, Clarence House said. The wedding is set to take place in Spring 2018. After the nuptials, the couple plan to reside in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.
’We are very excited for Harry and Meghan,” Prince William and the former Kate Middleton said in a statement. “It has been wonderful getting to know Meghan and to see how happy she and Harry are together.”
Harry’s father Charles, the Prince of Wales, said he was “thrilled.” Markle’s parents, Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland, said in a statement that they were “incredibly happy” for the pair. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh “are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said. British Prime Minister Theresa May called the news “a time of huge celebration for two people in love.”
Their relationship has been closely watched by royal enthusiasts and tabloids alike. Harry first confirmed the two were dating in November 2016 when he delivered a statement regarding alleged press and paparazzi harassment and online abuse Markle was subjected to as a result of the relationship.
At the time, Harry was “worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” the statement said.
After that public confirmation, the two attended weddings together and reportedly shacked up in Canada, where Markle’s television show “Suits” is filmed, and have been able to maintain some level of privacy.
Aside from her work as an actor, Markle is known for her activism and charitable work. She has served as an advocate for UN Women and an international ambassador for World Vision, a relief, development and advocacy organization that helps provide access to clean water in over 50 countries. In March, she penned a powerful essay about the stigma surrounding menstruation around the world.
Born and raised in California, Markle attended Northwestern University and earned a double major in drama and international relations. She has spoken openly about finding her confidence being biracial (her mother is African-American and her dad is Caucasian), writing that although her mixed heritage “may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.”
Markle has appeared on other television series including “Castle,” and in movies like “Horrible Bosses” and “Get Him to the Greek.” She was previously married to American producer Trevor Engelson, a union that ended in 2013, and will be the first American to marry into the British royal family since Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced socialite whose relationship with King Edward VIII prompted him to abdicate the throne. They married in 1937.
Harry, who retired from the military in 2015 and currently lives in an apartment in Kensington Palace, has devoted much of his time to charity work. He founded the Invictus Games, a Paralympics-style sporting event for wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women in 2014, works alongside Will and Kate on mental health initiatives and works to de-stigmatize HIV testing, too.
Can you say power couple? If you need us, we’ll be right here counting down the days until their big royal wedding.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the nonprofit for which Meghan Markle is an ambassador as Global Vision. It is called World Vision.