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Summary

  1. Prince Harry, aged 33, and Ms Markle, aged 36, are to marry in the spring
  2. He said the "stars were aligned" when they fell in love and he proposed over roast chicken
  3. Appearing for photos outside Kensington Palace earlier, Prince Harry said he was "thrilled"
  4. The couple secretly got engaged earlier this month
  5. The Queen and Prince Philip are "delighted for the couple"
  6. Ms Markle is an actress and humanitarian campaigner

Live Reporting

By George Mann and David Molloy

All times stated are UK

Evening summary

We're going to close our live coverage here, with a final recap for you.

Prince Harry, the fifth in line to the throne, is to marry to the American actress Meghan Markle.

The couple got engaged earlier this month, when Harry proposed during a night in at his Kensington Palace cottage.

They will tie the knot in Spring 2018.

Read our full story here: Stars were aligned when I met Meghan, says Harry

And watch some of the BBC's interview with the couple below. We'll have a full version up on the site as soon as possible.

Harry proposed over roast chicken

The view from across the pond

The New York Times story about the engagement has a lively introduction that highlights the extent to which the couple represent a changing monarchy.

It reads:

He is a flame-haired former wild child, who courted controversy in his youth by smoking cannabis and by once wearing a Nazi uniform to a party. She is a biracial, divorced actress from abroad. Together, they are taking the British monarchy - that most conservative of institutions - into a more modern era."

Social media hails 'mixed race princess'

Many people have hailed the engagement as a milestone for the Royal Family because of Ms Markle's ethnicity.

She was born to a white father and an African-American mother.

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Reaction to the roast chicken proposal

British viewers appear to have wasted no time honing in on the most important detail of the interview.

If you think it was the ring, the date, the feelings... you would be sorely mistaken.

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Watch the moment below.

Harry proposed over roast chicken

'Of course it's disheartening': Markle on coverage of her racial background

Back in November last year, Prince Harry spoke out against what he called a "wave of abuse and harassment" against Ms Markle from the media and others.

In a statement, he said there had been "racial undertones" in comment pieces and "outright sexism and racism" on social media.

Ms Markle spoke in the interview earlier about her reaction to the coverage.

"Of course it's disheartening. It's a shame that is the climate in this world, to focus that much on that, or that it would be discriminatory in that sense," she said.

"At the end of the day I'm really proud of who I am and where I come from and we have never put any focus on that, we just focus on who we are as a couple."

Eastenders updated to include engagement news

BBC
BBC

Tonight's Eastenders will feature a short scene, filmed earlier today, which will make reference to the engagement.

The scene is set in Kathy’s cafe.

The ring: Diana is 'with us on this crazy journey'

BBC
BBC

Prince Harry described the ring he gave to Ms Markle, which he designed and which includes diamonds from Diana's jewelry collection.

He said the inclusion of the diamonds was "to make sure she is with us on this crazy journey together".

Asked what it meant to her, Ms Markle said: "Not being able to meet his mother, it's so important to me to know that she's a part of this with us."

Harry said Diana would have been "over the moon, jumping up and down" at the engagement and "best friends with Meghan".

"It's days like this I really miss having her around," he said.

Markle: 'It was incredible to meet the Queen'

Ms Markle said she had met members of Harry's family on Charles and Diana's side, and described them as "so welcoming".

She said she had met the Queen "a couple of times".

"It's incredible to meet her through his lens... The love that he has for his grandma, all of those layers have been so important to me."

Asked about their own plans, Harry said: "One step at a time, hopefully we'll start a family in the near future."

Watch the interview live

You can watch the interview live now on BBC One using the player at the top of this page.

Meghan Markle on leaving acting for the Royal Family

Prince Harry described the couple as a "fantastic team" and said Ms Markle would easily take to the role of being a member of the Royal Family.

"The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was confirmation to me that all the stars were aligned," he said.

"This beautiful woman just tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life. I know that she will be unbelievably good at the job part of it as well."

She said she would "transition out of my career but into the role" of being in the family.

"I'm excited to really get to know more about the different communities here and smaller organisations that are working on the same causes that I've always been passionate about."

'I'm really going to have to up my game': The first date

The couple were introduced by a mutual friend in July 2016. Both knew they were being set up, but said they knew little about each other before the date.

Ms Markle said the only thing she asked their mutual friend was: "Is he nice?"

Harry said he had never heard of Ms Markle and never seen her TV drama, Suits.

"I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her," he said. "I was like, 'I'm really going to have to up my game here'."

Three or four weeks later, Prince Harry persuaded Ms Markle to join him in Botswana, he said, and the couple camped out under the stars for five days.

"We were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure we had a chance to get to know each other," he said.

'It was an instant yes': The night Prince Harry proposed

BBC
BBC

Prince Harry and his fiance Meghan Markle have described the night that he proposed to her, at the couple's shared cottage at Kensington Palace.

In an interview with the BBC's Mishal Hussein, they revealed they were having an ordinary night in and "trying to roast a chicken" when Harry got down on one knee.

"It was just an amazing surprise," said Ms Markle. "It was so sweet and natural and very romantic, he got on one knee."

It was an instant yes, she said.

"She didn't even let me finish," Harry said.

'The Last Jedi': Meghan's first outing?

Could the new Star Wars film be the newly-engaged couples first appearence?

Meghan Markle's first official royal engagement could turn out to be the premiere of the Star Wars movie The Last Jedi.

The European screening of the latest installment in the hit saga is set for 12 December at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The premiere will benefit the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, raising speculation that William, Kate and Harry could attend.

William and Harry are reported to have appeared in The Last Jedi in cameo roles as Stormtroopers.

The royals - both Star Wars fans - visited the set of movie in April 2016 and were rumoured to have filmed a scene in disguise.

Prince Harry and Chewbacca on set at Pinewood last year
Getty Images
Harry meets Chewie on the set of "The Last Jedi" last year

Could another royal wedding provide a tourism boost?

ourists take pictures outside Buckingham Palace after Prince Harry announces his engagement to Meghan Markle, in London, Britain, November 27, 2017.
Reuters

The head of one of the UK's tourism bodies thinks that the next royal wedding is a "potent mix" which could boost visitor numbers.

Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, said Ms Markle's American citizenship could generate even more interest than the marriage of William and Kate.

"The combination of Prince Harry's global fame, Meghan Markle's global fame as an actress, her being American, Britain being much more affordable than it was two years ago, really makes for a potent mix," he said.

"This is the first time an American actress has married a prince since Grace Kelly," he added.

'I left my identity blank – a question mark'

Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Radlan (L) at the Invictus Games in Toronto, 2017
Getty Images
Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Radlan (L) at the Invictus Games in Toronto earlier this year

Since the announcement of the happy couple's engagement this morning, everyone from royal correspondents to Twitter users have been passing comment on Ms Markle's mixed-race heritage.

In 2015, she wrote a first-person piece for Elle magazine laying out how she feels about it.

In part, she spoke of having to fill out a "census" for her English class, with the only options of black, white, Hispanic, or Asian.

You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other – and one half of myself over the other.

Her teacher told her to pick Caucasian, because - in the teacher's view - that's what she looked like. But a young Meghan refused.

So, I didn't tick a box. I left my identity blank – a question mark, an absolute incomplete – much like how I felt. When I went home that night, I told my dad what had happened. He said the words that have always stayed with me: 'If that happens again, you draw your own box.'

Read the full feature at Elle magazine's website.

Couple 'requires' new royal yacht, MP says

Royal couple need 'something to sail around the sea with'

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, noted there is no royal yacht and suggested the newly-engaged couple could make use of one.

During a debate on new aircraft carrier provision Mr Tugendhat pleaded "....with the royal wedding coming as early as next year, and with the absence of the yacht Britannia, is there not a possibility the new prince and princess will require something to sail around the sea with?"

Backbench Tory MPs have been leading the campaign for a new Royal Yacht.

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You too can wear a white shirt like Megan - Daily Mail

It's yours for around £138 the paper says.

Daily Mail webpage
Daily Mail

African-Americans react on social media

Meghan Markle's mixed-race heritage has attracted plenty of comment - her father is Caucasian and her mother is is African-American.

But among African Americans, the reaction seems firmly positive that "one of their own" is marrying a prince.

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Harry and Meghan face cameras

Meghan's Suits co-star Wendell Pierce gives his blessing

Colourful history of the previous Duke of Sussex

If Harry and his royal fiancee do become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they will no doubt be interested to know that the first and only previous Duke of Sussex was Prince Augustus, sixth son of King George III.

Suffering from asthma, he was considered to be not sufficiently strong to join the military and was instead was sent abroad, where he married Lady Augusta Murray - nicknamed by him as Goosy - in secret Rome ceremony in 1793, PA says.

"But the marriage was declared void by George III, who had not given his approval. It was later annulled on the grounds that it contravened the Royal Marriages Act 1772. The prince became the Duke of Sussex in 1801. Lady Augusta did not become the Duchess of Sussex. She called herself princess and demanded a peerage, but never received one."

The duke's second marriage was to Lady Cecilia Underwood, ninth daughter of the Earl of Arran. This was also deemed illegal because he did not seek permission from the king, so Lady Cecilia was also not styled the Duchess of Sussex. She was later made the Duchess of Inverness by Queen Victoria instead.

This means Meghan Markle could become history's first Duchess of Sussex, if Harry accepts this title from his grandmother.

History lesson over.

Prince Augustus Frederick (1773 - 1843), Duke of Sussex, 6th son of George III, in the full habit of the Order of the Thistle
Getty
Prince Augustus Frederick (1773 - 1843), Duke of Sussex, 6th son of George III, in the full habit of the Order of the Thistle

Press out in force

Photographers from around the world were at Kensington Palace to capture the first picture of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry following the announcement of their engagement.

Photographers at Kensington Palace
EPA

'A real representation of society'

Meghan Markle, who is of mixed African-American and white heritage, is set to become the first mixed-race member of the British Royal Family, with her and Prince Harry the first interracial royal couple.

But interracial relationships in general in the UK are nothing new.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the rate of mixed relationships has increased in the last few years, with one in 10 people being in them at the last census.

Meet some other interracial couples who have been telling the BBC about their personal experiences of being in a mixed relationship - and their thoughts on the royal couple.

French native Astrid and her partner of 10 years, Mike, who is Kenyan and Rwandan, live together in Birmingham.

Speaking about the royal relationship, Astrid says: "This will set a great example for England and it's an honest representation of British society."

Astrid, Mike and their daughter
Astrid Guillabeau

Meghan not me?

The comedian quips in a tweet...

It's news quiz time

1. Who is Doria Ragland?

2. Which country is expected to supply the gold to make Meghan Markle's wedding ring?

3. What title are Prince Harry and Ms Markle expected to take when they marry?

4. From which African country does the central diamond of Ms Markle's engagement ring come?

Answers (no cheating please)

1. Meghan Markle's mother

2. Wales

3. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

4. Botswana

(Courtesy: PA)

Ring designed by Harry

Meghan Markle's ring
AFP

Meghan Markle has shown off a three-stone engagement ring designed by Prince Harry.

The two outside stones came from the personal collection of his mother, Princess Diana.

At the ring's centre is a diamond from Botswana, which Kensington Palace said was a place that was special to the couple.

The prince is not the only royal to design his bride-to-be's engagement ring using jewels that belonged to his mother - the Duke of Edinburgh did the same for the Queen in 1947.

Praise for Forces 'champion' Harry

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson tells MPs...

May I start by congratulating on behalf of those who work in our Armed Forces, His Royal Highness Prince Harry, on his engagement to Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry has acted as a proud champion of servicemen and women in the Armed Forces - most notably with his commitment to the Invictus Games.

I am sure we would all like to echo your words Mr Speaker in wishing the two of them the very best in their shared future together.

Queen 'gave the go-ahead'

BBC News Channel

Being fifth in line to the throne, Prince Harry had to ask the Queen for permission to marry Ms Markle.

"But I'm sure the Queen's delighted by this," explains royal biographer Robert Hardman.

"Each time another royal baby comes along, Harry moves one step further down the pecking order," he goes on.

Robert Hardman
BBC

He added that it did not matter that Ms Markle had been married before.

"We've moved on - some years ago, yes, that would've been a major issue, but not any more.

"If Harry's happy, this is what he wants, then that's great."

'Marriage is a special and joyous commitment'

“I am absolutely delighted to hear the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are now engaged," says Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in a statement.

"I have met Prince Harry on a number of occasions and have always been struck by his commitment and passion for his charities, and his immense love for his family.

“Marriage is a special and joyous commitment, one that Jesus celebrated together with friends at the wedding in Cana. I am so happy that Prince Harry and Ms Markle have chosen to make their vows before God.

"I wish them many years of love, happiness and fulfilment and ask that God blesses them throughout their married life together."

Congratulations from the Commons

Speaker John Bercow: 'Very best' for Harry and Meghan

A short time ago, opening the day's business in the Commons, the speaker had a few words on the engagement.

Former PM offers his best wishes

'Boom!' - internet enjoys the news

The internet is having some fun with news of the engagement. One video uses the "boom" moment from a video of Harry and the Queen made for the Invictus Games.

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Meghan 'effect' crashes website

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
PA

It appears the Meghan effect is already under way. Her white coat was made by Canadian brand Line the Label, whose website has apparently crashed due to the numbers of people trying to access it.

Watch: Happy couple arrive for photocall

Nott Cott: 'bachelor pad' turned marital home

Kensington Palace with Nottingham Cottage circled
PA

The newly-engaged couple will live together in the modest royal residence Nottingham Cottage - circled above - in the grounds of Kensington Palace, the Daily Mail says.

"Dubbed ‘Nott Cott’ by palace insiders, the pair will enjoy their engagement in the pied-a-terre Harry made his bachelor pad some four years ago - before which it was Prince William and Kate’s first marital home."

Charity founder praises ‘very un-celebrity’ star

BBC News Channel

Kate Robertson
BBC

Meghan Markle has been involved in charity work for several years, including speaking about gender equality at a One Young World Summit in Dublin in 2014.

The organisation’s founder, Kate Robertson, remembers the actress for being “so eloquent, so erudite, just wonderful”.

“We’re very much hoping she will continue in some role with us,” she told BBC News.

She said Ms Markle was “very calm, very confident - ‘very un-celebrity’”.

Best wishes from Canada

The country's prime minister tweets...

'The kids will be Americans...'

US journalist jokes about the news...

When did Harry know Meghan was 'the one'?

Meghan Markle's hand
BBC

A bit more from that photocall a short time ago. Asked when he knew Meghan was special, Prince Harry said: "When did I know she was the one? Very first time we met."

Ms Markle said she was "so very happy" to be engaged to the prince.

Asked to give details on how he proposed, Ms Markle replied "save that", with the prince adding: "That will come later."

Hopefully we'll learn more in their interview with the BBC's Mishal Hussain at 6pm.