As it happenedended1511858687

As it happened: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engaged - Is this finally the modern bride the royal family needs?

The wedding will take place in spring 2018

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have announced their engagement

Prince Harry is to marry his American actor girlfriend Meghan Markle, Clarence House has announced.

The official announcement said: “His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle. The wedding will take place in spring 2018. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.

“His Royal Highness and Ms Markle became engaged in London earlier this month. 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. The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.”

The fifth in line to the throne has been dating Markle since last summer and the 36-year-old actor is rumoured to be moving to the UK after quitting the hit US show Suits which she rose to fame for.

Prince Harry said he was "delighted to announce" the engagement and had gained the blessing of Markle's parents in a statement.

Speculation of a major royal announcement has grown in recent weeks as rumours about the couple's engagement have mounted.

Markle's parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland celebrated news of the engagement in a statement issued by Kensington Palace.

"We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person," they 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."

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh “are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness".

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Welcome to The Independent's live blog on the news of Prince Harry and Markle's engagement.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement was officially announced by the Prince of Wales on Monday morning. Here is the statement in full:

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Prince Harry and the Suits actor will appear at a photo call at Kensington Palace later this afternoon.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated news of the engagement in a statement.

"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.

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The couple will take part in a broadcast interview to be broadcast this evening UK time.

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Markle's parents have wished their daughter and Prince Harry "a lifetime of happiness".

In a joint statement released by Kensington Palace, 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."

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British Prime Minister Theresa May offered her "very warmest congratulations" to the prince and bride-to-be.

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Markle opened up about her relationship with the prince in an interview with Vanity Fair this September.

She said: “We’re two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception.”

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Markle, who rose to prominence for playing ambitious and determined paralegal Rachel Zane on US legal drama Suits, has described herself as biracial and “half black and half white” on her website.

“My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African-American. 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 previously said.

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