Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement on Monday and, like most of their courtship, his proposal was very low-key. The royal and his bride-to-be sat down with BBC News for a televised interview that aired Monday evening in the U.K. and revealed exactly how Harry popped the question.
“It happened a few weeks ago, earlier this month, here at our cottage; just a standard typical night for us. Roasting a chicken ... trying to roast a chicken,” the royal joked.
“She didn’t even let me finish, she said, ‘Can I say yes? Can I say yes?’" he explained. "And then were was hugs and I had the ring in my finger and I was like, ‘Can I—can I give you the ring?’ She goes, ‘Oh yes, the ring.’”
“It was a really nice moment, it was just the two of us and I think managed to catch her by surprise as well,” Harry said.
“Yes, it was just a cozy night ... I could barely let you finish proposing,” Markle replied. “Just an amazing surprise. It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee.” Swoon.
In the wide-ranging interview, the newly engaged couple also discusses how they first met, where they fell in love, and what it was like introducing Markle to the Queen of England. Keep scrolling for everything we learned about their fairytale romance from their first joint interview.
1. They’ve never gone more than two weeks apart.
“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 we were obviously doing a long distance relationship. So it’s—we made it work,” Markle said.
2. They wouldn’t call it a “whirlwind” relationship.
“I don’t think that I would call it a whirlwind in terms of our relationship. Obviously, there have been layers attached to how public it has become after we had a good five, six months almost with just privacy, which was amazing,” Markle said.
3. They fell in love in Botswana.
“We were introduced actually by a mutual friend. We’ll protect her privacy. But it was—it was literally—it was through her and then we met once and then twice back-to-back two dates in London, last July,” Harry said.
“And then it was I think about three, maybe four weeks later that I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana. And we camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.”
4. Markle loved meeting Queen Elizabeth.
“It’s incredible, I think, you know, to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother, all of those layers have been so important for me so that when I met her I had such a deep understanding and of course incredible respect for being able to have that time with her,” Markle said. “And we’ve had a really—she’s an incredible woman.”
5. Markle has met the whole family multiple times.
“William was longing to meet her and so was Catherine, so you know being our neighbors we managed to get that in a couple of—well quite a few times now and Catherine has been absolutely amazing, as has William as well, you know, fantastic support,” Harry said.
“And then my father as well, we had a couple of—no more than that—a handful of teas and meetings and all sorts of gatherings over at his place as well,” he added.
“So no the family together have been absolutely, you know, a solid support and my grandparents as well have been wonderful throughout this whole process and they’ve known for quite some time,” Harry said. “But now the whole family have come together and have been a huge amount of support.”
6. Markle says their relationship is worth all of the attention.
“Well I’m sure both my parents and my close friends were concerned, because we got very quickly swept up in a media storm that, as I shared, was not part of my life before that, but they also had never seen me so happy,” she said.
“And I think also once my friends were able to really meet Harry, and my mom, who we’ve spent a lot of time with, who is so much fun,” Markle said. “It was just obvious that no matter what we were being put through that it was just temporary and that we were going to be able to get through that. So everybody was really happy.”
“And he’s talked to my dad a few times, hasn’t been able to meet him just yet, but it’s all been—it’s all been worth every effort.”
7. Markle’s engagement ring pays respect to Princess Diana.
“The ring is obviously yellow gold because that’s her favorite and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana,” he said. “The little diamonds on either side are from my mother’s jewelry collection to make sure that she’s with us on this crazy journey together.”
“I think everything about Harry’s thoughtfulness is—and the inclusion of that and obviously not being able to meet his mom it’s so important to me to know that she’s a part of this with us,” Markle said.
“And I think in being able to meet his aunts and also like Julia and just different people who were so important to his mom, I’m able to, in some way, know a part of her through them and of course through him,” she added.
“It’s incredibly special. And you know to be able to have this which sort of links where you come from and Botswana which is important to us and it’s perfect.”
8. Only one of Markle’s dogs is in the U.K.
“Well I have two dogs that I’ve had for quite a long time, both my rescue pups,” she said, referring to her beagle named Guy and labrador-shepherd named Bogart. “And one is now staying with very close friends and my other little guy is in the U.K. He’s been here for a while.”
9. Prince Harry says Markle and Princess Diana would have been best friends.
“Oh, they’d be thick as thieves, without question. I think she would be over the moon, jumping up and down, you know, so excited for me. But then, as I said, would have probably been best friends with Meghan," Harry said. “It’s days like these when I really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news. But you know, with the ring and with everything else that’s going on, I’m sure she’s jumping up and down somewhere.”
“She’s with us,” Markle added.
10. Prince Harry didn’t watch Suits before meeting Markle.
“I had never even heard about her,” he said. “I had never watched Suits. I had never heard of Meghan before. I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her, and there she was sitting there. I was like, ‘OK well I really have to up my game.’”
11. Markle calls the public scrutiny “disheartening.”
Despite being on a TV show, she was not prepared for the level of public attention that she would receive as Harry’s girlfriend. “I tried to warn you as much as possible, but I think both of us were totally surprised by the reaction after the first five to six months that we had to ourselves, of what actually happened from then,” he said. “I think you can have as many conversations as you want and try to prepare as much as possible, but we were totally unprepared for what happened after that.”
“There’s a misconception that because I have worked in the entertainment industry that this would be something I would be familiar with. But even though I’d been on my show for I guess six years at that point and working before that, I’d never been part of tabloid culture. I’d never been in pop culture to that degree and lived a relatively quiet life even though I focused so much on my job,” Markle said. “So that was a really stark difference out of the gate. And I think we were just hit so hard at the beginning with a lot of mistruths that I made the choice to not read anything, positive or negative. It just didn’t make sense and instead we focused all of our energies just on nurturing our relationship.”
“Of course it’s disheartening,” she added about scrutiny of her race. “It’s a shame that that is the climate in this world to focus that much on that, or that that would be discriminatory in that sense. But I think, you know, at the end of the day I’m really just proud of who I am and where I come from, and we have never put any focus on that. We’ve just focused on who we are as a couple. So when you take all of those extra layers away and all of that noise, I think it makes it really easy to just enjoy being together and tune all the rest of that out.”