Royal wild-child Prince Harry has finally met his match — an American actress who shares his passion for promoting humanitarian causes.


Harry, 33, and his betrothed Meghan Markle, 36, put on glittery display Monday when they posed for cameras outside of Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace following an official announcement of their engagement.


A slightly nervous Harry fiddled with his coat pocket and clutched Markle’s hand as they beamed at reporters and flashed her gorgeous ring.


The royal bling, designed by Harry, features a diamond from Botswana as well as two diamonds from the personal collection of his mother, Princess Diana.

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“When did I know she was the one? The very first time we met,” Harry said, in answer to a shouted question from a reporter.


The “Ginger Prince,” officially Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor, is fifth in line to inherit the British throne — behind his father, his older brother Prince William and his nephew and niece.


Harry’s distance from the crown is likely one reason it’s possible for him to marry a divorced American actress who until recently made a living playing a paralegal on a legal thrilled called “Suits.”


The lovebirds will exchange vows in a royal wedding in the spring of 2018.

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Harry’s proposal earlier this month at Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace did not feature any royal pomp and circumstance.


Markle, 36, recalled the “cozy night” when they were “trying” to roast a chicken — and then Harry took a knee.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to exchange vows in spring of 2018. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to exchange vows in spring of 2018. 

(DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)


“Just an amazing surprise. It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee,” Markle said. “As a matter of fact I could barely let you finish proposing. I said, ‘Can I say yes now?’”


During her elation Harry, 33, said he had to ask, “Can I give you the ring?”

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The pair were able to keep their relationship secret for around six months.


Markle, who grew up in California, said a mutual friend set up their first date.


They went out twice in London before Harry convinced her to spend five days camping under the stars in Botswana.


“We were able to have so much time to connect. We never went longer than two weeks without seeing each other,” Markle said.

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Harry said Diana’s diamonds on the ring were a way “to make sure she’s with us on this crazy journey together.”


“It’s days like these where I really miss having her around,” Harry said.


Diana, who died in a 1997 car crash, and Markle probably would have been “thick as thieves,” Harry added.


The pair couldn’t stop looking in each other’s eyes and holding hands during an interview on the BBC that had royal-watchers swooning.

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Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancée US actress Meghan Markle pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in west London on November 27, 2017, following the announcement of their engagement.
Britain's Prince Harry will marry his US actress girlfriend Meghan Markle early next year after the couple became engaged earlier this month, Clarence House announced on Monday. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

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Harry recalled some “frank conversations” with Markle about all that comes with marrying into the royal family. She said Monday she would end her acting career and focus on charitable endeavors with Harry.


“She’s capable of anything. And together, there’s a hell of a lot that needs doing,” Harry said.


The future husband’s sincere proclamation that “I’m in love with this girl” highlighted his own evolution from international play boy to a mature man ready to assume a larger share of royal family duties.


It was only 2012 when Harry’s nude partying in a Las Vegas hotel became a colossal royal scandal.

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And in 2005, Harry was photographed wearing a Nazi outfit to a costume party — just two weeks before Holocaust Memorial Day.


His relationship with Markle sparked different headlines.


In November 2016, he blasted hateful comments and negative press coverage aimed at his new love — much of it revolving around Markle’s education at a Catholic high school and her bi-racial roots. Markle’s father is white and her mother African-American. She was also married once before to producer Trevor Engelson.


The two tied the knot in Jamaica in 2011 but were amicably divorced two years later.

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There is a long-running custom barring royals from marrying Catholics and divorcees.


Harry in 2016 had his royal spokesperson issue a blistering statement warning the press to leave Markle alone.

Princess Diana with Prince William and Prince Harry, 1984

Princess Diana through the years


“The past week has seen a line crossed. His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment,” the statement said.


Markle admitted she was initially unprepared for such “discriminatory” scrutiny and called the coverage “disheartening.”

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Writer Sally Bedell Smith, who has written a number of biographies on the royal family, told Vanity Fair that Queen Elizabeth has an open-mind when it comes to the right match.


Harry and his fiancée on Monday said Markle had met the 91-year-old monarch several times and she and the Queen got on well.


The Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh said they are “delighted for the couple and wish them happiness.”


The couple are rumored to be planning a “non-traditional wedding” — unlike the lavish 2011 ceremony where his older brother, Prince William, tied the knot with Kate Middleton.

Tags:
meghan markle
prince charles
united kingdom
celebrity relationships
princess diana
prince harry

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