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Romantic Prince Harry knelt down to propose as dinner cooked

Harry to wed actress Meghan in the spring 16 months after blind date

By Laura Elston

Prince Harry proposed to fiancee Meghan Markle during a cosy night in as they cooked a roast chicken dinner, 16 months after the pair first met on a blind date.

Harry was the perfect romantic and got down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage and Ms Markle could not wait to say "yes".

Revealing the depths of his feeling for his bride-to-be the prince suggested they were destined to meet and fall in love, with the royal believing "the stars were aligned, everything was just perfect".

He described how "it was this beautiful woman just sort of literally tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life".

Harry's moving comments came in a joint interview with Meghan at Kensington Palace to mark their engagement announcement, and as the pair sat side by side they held hands.

They also discussed, with BBC broadcaster Mishal Husain, how Ms Markle has met the Queen twice, an individual she described as an "incredible woman".

Ms Markle's engagement ring features diamonds from Diana's personal collection, and a stone from one of their favourite places, Botswana.

Harry said: "The ring is obviously yellow gold because that's what - her favourite, and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana, and 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.''

Ms Markle added: "It's beautiful, and he designed it. It's incredible.''

The pair met after a mutual friend, who they declined to name, set them up on a blind date, with the prince having no idea who Meghan was but was left "beautifully surprised" when she walked into the room.

During the interview Ms Markle confirmed she is giving up her acting career after it was widely reported she had left the hit series Suits.

Asked about her "new role" Meghan suggested she would become a full-time royal, saying: "I'm excited to just really get to know more about the different communities here, smaller organisations that are working on causes that I've always been passionate about under this umbrella, and also being able to go round to the Commonwealth, I think it's just the beginning."

Harry said the proposal came a few weeks ago while they were at his home, Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.

Ms Markle added: "Just a cosy night, it was - what we were doing just roasting chicken..."

She described it as "just an amazing surprise. It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee".

The former actress went on to say: "As a matter of fact I could barely let you finish proposing, I said - can I say yes now?"

The pair are to marry in a church wedding in the spring next year.

While Harry admitted he had never seen Ms Markle before their blind date in the summer of 2016, Ms Markle confessed her knowledge about the prince was also limited.

Before their first meeting she asked the mutual friend who set them up: "'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 ... met for a drink and I think very quickly into that we said, 'Well what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again'."

They described their courtship, revealing that a few weeks after the blind date, and a follow-up outing, Harry persuaded her to go to Botswana for a five-day break, and once they were an item they worked at sustaining the long-distance romance.

A couple of months into the relationship Harry said he realised he still needed to have frank conversations with her, to say "you know what you're letting yourself in for".

He also talked about his belief in what they could achieve together as a royal couple, but said the priority was "making sure our relationship is always put first".

The prince added: "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'll spend most of our time."

Ms Markle highlighted her acting role with Suits, which has passed its 100th episode, and her future working together with Harry: "I thought 'You know what? I have ticked this box' and I feel proud of the work I've done there and now it's time to, as you said, work as a team with you."

It was also disclosed that Ms Markle had become a firm favourite with the Queen's beloved corgis.

Describing being introduced to the Queen by her grandson Harry, Ms Markle said: "It's incredible, I think, you know, 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.''

The prince also spoke about his own mother Diana, Princess of Wales, when asked what she would have thought of his bride-to-be, and replied: "Oh they'd be thick as thieves, without question."

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