Prince Harry, Meghan Markle make first appearance after engagement announcement

LONDON — Britain’s Prince Harry and the American actor Meghan Markle made their first public appearance since their engagement was announced earlier Monday.

The couple appeared at a photocall in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in London, where Harry told reporters he knew Markle was “the one” from “the very first time we met.”

The prince declined to elaborate on his proposal to Markle, but when asked whether it was romantic, he smiled and said, “Of course it was.”

Markle’s ring is made from three stones: One from Botswana, where the couple recently vacationed, and two diamonds the personal collection of Harry’s mother Diana.

The pair, who became engaged quietly earlier this month, will marry in the spring and live at Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace, where Harry currently resides.

Monday’s announcement of the forthcoming nuptials was made by Harry’s father, Prince Charles, in a statement released from his office at Clarence House.

Prince Charles said he was “delighted to announce” the engagement, adding that Harry had informed “The queen and other close members of his family.”

“Prince Harry has also sought and received the blessing of Ms. Markle’s parents,” the statement added.

Harry’s grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, are “delighted” for the couple and “wish them every happiness,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

Shortly after the announcement, Kensington Palace released a statement on behalf of Markle’s parents, Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland.

“We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person. To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents,” they said.

“We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together.”

Harry’s brother, William and his wife, Catherine, who also reside at Kensington Palace, shared their joy at the impending union on Monday.

“We are very excited for Harry and Meghan. It has been wonderful getting to know Meghan and to see how happy she and Harry are together,” they said in a statement.

Monday’s announcement ends persistent speculation over when the 33-year-old prince — who is now fifth in line to the British throne — would propose to the actor.

Harry and his fiancee made their first public appearance as a couple in September at the Invictus Games in Toronto.

The pair were introduced in July 2016 by mutual friends in London, Markle confirmed in September. Markle is best known for her role on TV show “Suits” as well as her philanthropic work.

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