Prince Harry Meghan Markle engagement: Barack Obama congratulates the couple while Trump remains silent

President Trump, who Markle has been an outspoken critic of, has yet to comment on the news 

Maya Oppenheim
Tuesday 28 November 2017 11:33
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have announced their engagement

Barack Obama has congratulated Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their engagement while the current US President Donald Trump has remained silent.

The former US president, who has forged a burgeoning friendship with the prince in recent years, wished the newly engaged couple a “lifetime of joy and happiness” together.

Prince Harry’s engagement to Markle, who rose to fame for playing ambitious paralegal on popular US show Suits, was announced on Monday. The couple will marry next spring and live at Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace in London.

“Michelle and I are delighted to congratulate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their engagement,” Obama said on Twitter. “We wish you a lifetime of joy and happiness together.”

President Trump has yet to comment on the news despite the fact Markle is set to become the first American to be bequeathed with the title of Her Royal Highness (HRH).

Markle is the first American to become engaged to a British royal since Edward VIII - one of the shortest reigning monarchs in British history who proposed to American socialite Wallis Simpson.

The engagement prompted a constitutional crisis and officials opposed the marriage because Wallis was divorced. After it became clear it would be impossible for him to marry the socialite and remain on the throne he abdicated in 1936. He married Simpson in France in June 1937 and although she became the Duchess of Windsor she was never given the title of HRH.

Instead of congratulating Prince Harry and Markle, President Trump, whom Markle has been a vocal critic of, spent the day venting his frustrations about US networks that he accused of falsifying news reports about him.

The world leader tweeted: “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favourite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”

Disparaging comments Markle made about Mr Trump are expected to receive renewed attention in the wake of their engagement. While members of the royal family are of course forced to remain impartial due to age-old protocol, in a 2016 interview - long before she was engaged to Prince Harry - the humanitarian and gender equality campaigner called the president a divisive misogynist.

“Yes of course Trump is divisive. Think about just female voters alone,” the 36-year-old actor said on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. “I think it was in 2012, the Republican Party lost the female vote by 12 points. That's a huge number and with as misogynistic as Trump is and so vocal about it, that's a huge chunk of it.”

“You're not just voting for a woman if it's Hillary because she's a woman, but certainly because Trump has made it easy to see that you don't really want that kind of world that he's painting.”

While it is considered unlikely President Trump will be invited to the royal wedding - which has yet to have a date or venue fixed - the Obamas are expected to be bestowed with a coveted invitation.

The 33-year-old prince, who is fifth in line to the throne, and Obama have become friends over the years. Last month, they surprised onlookers after they appeared in the wheelchair basketball arena at the Invictus Games together. In May, they met at Kensington Palace where they discussed mental health and the Manchester bombing which had taken place just days before.

Prince Harry has also fostered a friendship with Michelle Obama – the pair teamed up for a surprise visit to a school in Chicago’s South Side which is a stone's throw from the soon to be Obama Presidential Centre earlier this month.

Prince Harry has reportedly been critical of President Trump in private. In February, a source who is said to be close to the royal told US Weekly, the Prince “is not a fan” of the former reality TV star. They also said: “Harry thinks the president is a serious threat to human rights”.

A second source claimed the royal has “often been vocal” about his feelings towards Mr Trump since the Republican announced his presidential bid in 2015.

A palace spokesperson declined to comment on the matter to The Independent at the time, saying: “By long-standing convention, we never comment on reports from unnamed sources of purported private conversations involving members of the royal family.”

In a statement on Monday, Prince Harry said he was ”delighted to announce“ the engagement and had gained the blessing of Markle's parents.

“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,” read a statement from Clarence House.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments