The couple said they were first introduced by a mutual friend, whom they declined to name out of respect for her privacy, and went on two dates in London in early July 2016. Just a few weeks later, Harry, 33, managed to persuade Markle, 36, to join him on a trip to Botswana, Africa.
“We camped out with each other under the stars,” he recalled. “She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.”
The prince said he proposed to the Suits actress in early November at Kensington Palace’s Nottingham Cottage in London. “It was just an amazing surprise. It was just so sweet and natural and very romantic,” she gushed. “He got on one knee. As a matter of fact, I could barely let [him] finish proposing. I was like, ‘Can I say ‘yes’ now?’”
Though their engagement came about a year and a half after they began dating, Markle doesn’t describe their relationship as a whirlwind. “I think we were able to really have so much time just to connect and we never went longer than two weeks without seeing each other, even though were doing a long-distance relationship,” she explained. “We made it work.”
The pair also opened up about introducing one another to their families. The actress said she has met Queen Elizabeth II “a couple of times,” calling her “an incredible woman.” Meanwhile, Harry said it was “exciting” to introduce his bride-to-be to his brother, Prince William; his sister-in-law, Duchess Kate; and his father, Prince Charles.
“I’d been seeing her for a period of time when I literally didn’t tell anybody at all. And then William was longing to meet her and so was Catherine, so you know, being our neighbors, we managed to get that in … quite a few times now,” he said, adding that the royal family has been a “solid support” system.
Palace officials confirmed the couple’s engagement earlier on Monday, shortly before they appeared at the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace for a photo call. Their wedding is set for spring 2018.
The former Army helicopter pilot and the Los Angeles native made their first joint appearance this September at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto. She moved to London in mid-November after wrapping up her seventh and final season of her USA Network drama.