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.”
Fifth in line to the throne, Harry, 33, has been dating the 36-year-old star, who found fame in the US legal drama Suits, since the summer of 2016.
Their 16-month relationship began when they met through mutual friends in London and the pair have been particularly close in recent months, with Markle staying regularly at Harry’s home at Kensington Palace.
In September 2017, Markle spoke publicly about her relationship with the prince for the first time, telling Vanity Fair magazine they were “really happy and in love”.
The actor also revealed the pair had been dating for six months before their relationship became public, since when the relationship “has had its challenges”.
In an unprecedented statement, Harry attacked the British press a year ago for introducing “racial overtones” into the reporting of their relationship, and condemned “the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments”.
Markle has written about her heritage on her website, describing herself as biracial and “half black and half white”, with her father, Thomas, being white and her mother, Doria Ragland, black.
In a statement Markle’s parents said they were “incredibly happy” with the couple’s engagement, adding: “We wish them a lifetime of happiness.”
“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.
“We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together.”
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh “are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness”, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.