Britain's Prince Harry walks with Meghan Markle in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, London, Britain, November 27, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]
“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.”
“I would like to offer my very warmest congratulations to HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle upon their engagement.”
“This is a time of huge celebration for two people in love and, on behalf of myself, the Government and the country, I wish them great happiness for the future.”
At 2pm the smiling couple made it official by posing for photographs arm in arm in the Sunken Garden.
Harry looked nervous but happy and his fiancée stroked his arm lovingly as they spoke to reporters – with the actress calming his nerves rather than the other way round.
video video video The couple went on holiday together after two dates
Just weeks after they met, Prince Harry convinced Markle to join him on a trip to Botswana.
"We camped out with each other under the stars," the prince said.
"She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic."
He said being away allowed them to get to know each other without the usual pressures of royal life.
Harry designed the ring
The prince made sure his fiancee's engagement ring is personal to their relationship. Set in yellow gold - Markle's "favorite" - the central diamond is from Botswana, where they first spent significant time together.
It is flanked by two stones taken from the collection of Princess Diana, the prince's late mother. The couple spoke of how important it was to include Princess Diana in their engagement.
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."
Prince Harry said his mother 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 added.
They knew nothing about each other when they met
Ms Markle credited her American background - and lack of exposure to British tabloids - with allowing her to get to know Prince Harry naturally and organically.
For his part, the prince had never seen Suits, the American legal drama in which Markle stars, and had never even heard of her before they met.
They were both pleasantly surprised by their blind date.
"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'."
Ms Markle is leaving her acting career
The pair also announced that Ms Markle will not continue acting.
"I don't see it as giving anything up. I see it as a change. It's a new chapter…" she said.
"Now it's time to work as a team with you," she said as she turned to Prince Harry.
They talked about forging a new role for themselves as a couple, focusing on the humanitarian causes over which they first bonded.
The prince said Markle would easily take to the role of being a member of the Royal Family and said they were a "fantastic team".
Prince Harry proposed over a roast chicken
The couple described a quiet night at home, cooking a roast chicken together, when the prince surprised Markle by getting down on one knee.
Markle described the moment.
It was "just a cosy night... trying to roast a chicken and it just - just an amazing surprise."
"It was so sweet and natural and very romantic," she said.
And it was an instant "yes" from Ms Markle.
"I could barely let you finish proposing, I said - 'can I say yes now'?"
The corgis like Meghan
Markle confirmed that one of her two dogs has followed her to London.
And Prince Harry revealed the Queen's corgis took to her "straight away" when she met the monarch.
"I've spent the last 33 years being barked at," he said. "This one walks in, absolutely nothing... just wagging tails and I was just like argh."
Markle said the corgis were "just laying on my feet during tea, it was very sweet".
They are looking forward to having children
Prince Harry's brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child next year.
But Markle laughed when Prince Harry's answer to a question about their plans for having children was "not currently".
The prince added: "One step at a time and hopefully we'll start a family in the near future."