Spring wedding for Prince Harry and his American actress fiancee

Reuters
Britain's Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced yesterday they were engaged and would get married in spring next year.
Reuters
AFP

Britain’s Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle pose for photographs at Kensington Palace in west London yesterday, following the announcement of their engagement.

Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced yesterday they were engaged and would get married in spring next year.

Harry, 33, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and fifth in line to the British throne, and Markle, 36, best known for her role in the TV legal drama “Suits,” got engaged this month in London.

“Prince Harry has informed Her Majesty The Queen and other close members of his family. Prince Harry has also sought and received the blessing of Ms Markle’s parents,” a statement issued by Prince Charles said.

The queen, who had to give her assent for the union, and her husband Prince Philip are delighted, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

Harry and Markle, who is a divorcee, met in July 2016 after they were introduced through friends. The prince, the youngest son of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and his first wife Princess Diana, publicly confirmed their relationship months later in a rebuke to the media over its alleged intrusion into Markle’s private life.

But it was not until September that they made their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto, a sports event for wounded veterans.

“This is a time of huge celebration and excitement for two people in love and, on behalf of myself, the government and the country, I wish them great happiness for the future,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Twitter.

The wedding is likely to attract huge attention across the world, as did the marriage of Harry’s elder brother William to Kate Middleton in 2011.

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

In his office’s warning to the media, Harry referred to the sexism and racism directed at Markle, whose father is white and her mother African-American.

“We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person,” Markle’s parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland said. 

“To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents. We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together.”

Harry’s previous girlfriends included Zimbabwe-born Chelsy Davy, who he dated on and off for about five years, and actress Cressida Bonas.

Educated at the exclusive Eton College, Harry’s teenage years were overshadowed by negative press headlines, fostering an intense dislike which he and his brother harbored because of the way papers hounded their mother. She died in a Paris car crash in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.

Harry was portrayed as a royal wild child and playboy prince, and in 2002 he admitted smoking cannabis and getting drunk when underage in a pub near the royal family’s country estate amid suggestions he had fallen in with a bad crowd.

He later scuffled with paparazzi outside a London nightclub and drew outrage by dressing as a Nazi officer at a costume party.

But he turned around his image after joining the army, where he spent 10 years and included two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He said it was a role where he felt he could be himself without media scrutiny or any other trappings of his gilded upbringing.

Even when he was photographed partying naked and playing billiards in a private room in Las Vegas in 2012, the response was less critical and more understanding.

He left the army in 2015 to focus on royal duties and charity work, particularly the welfare of military veterans, and continuing his mother’s work helping those with AIDS, and mental health issues.

His easy-going manner with the public has made him one of the most popular members of the Windsors.

That has put him at the forefront of a rebranding of the monarchy as modern and relevant, a far cry from the perception of an out-of-touch institution following the 1997 death of Diana.

To coincide with the 20th anniversary of her death this year, Harry opened up about his own trauma at losing his mother at a young age, and was even quoted as saying he wanted out of the royal family altogether.

Markle was born in Los Angeles in 1981. Her father was a TV lighting director for soaps and sitcoms and her mother a clinical therapist.

She made her first TV appearance in a 2002 episode of medical drama “General Hospital” has appeared in a number of TV shows and films, such as “Horrible Bosses,” but achieved greatest fame for her starring part as Rachel Zane in the ongoing “Suits” series.

In 2011, she married film producer Trevor Engelson but they divorced two years later.


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