Prince Harry declared he was “thrilled” as he and bride-to-be Meghan Markle made their first appearance in public since the announcement of their engagement.
Harry and American actress Ms Markle stepped out briefly in front of the cameras hand in hand at an open-air photocall in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace.
Their long-anticipated engagement was announced by the Prince of Wales on Monday morning with a statement saying the couple, who have been dating for 16 months, will marry in the spring next year.
A beaming Ms Markle, in a white belted coat, clutched Harry’s hand with both of her hands as they posed briefly for the press, and showed off her diamond engagement ring.
Ms Markle said she was “so very happy, thank you” to be engaged to Harry.
The prince said he was “thrilled, over the moon” adding: “Very glad it’s not raining as well.”
The couple were smiling and giggling throughout their appearance.
When Harry was asked how he proposed, Ms Markle replied “Save that”, with Harry adding: “That will come later”. The pair are giving a television interview to be broadcast on Monday evening
Kensington Palace said the prince designed Ms Markle’s engagement ring himself – using two stones which belong to his late mother.
The two outside stones are diamonds from the personal collection of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle holding hands with the ring on show at Kensington Palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
At the centre is a diamond from Botswana, a country that holds special significance for Harry who has visited many times since he was a child.
It is also a place the couple has spent time together over the last year and a half, Kensington Palace said.
The band is made of gold and the ring was made by Cleave and Company, Court Jewellers and Medallists to Her Majesty The Queen.
Harry revealed he knew Ms Markle was “the one” from the first moment they met.
“When did I know she was the one? Very first time we met,” the prince said.
The couple braved the cold and answered a number of questions from the waiting press, before waving at the cameras and walking back through the garden arm in arm.
The sunken garden is poignantly the site of the memorial garden created in memory of Harry’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales to mark the 20th anniversary of her death this year.
It was one of the princess’s favourite parts of the palace grounds.
Harry and Ms Markle were separated from the media by several metres of water, standing on the other side of the large ornamental pond.
Ms Markle’s white coat was by Canadian brand Line the Label, and her dress by P.A.R.O.S.H.
It appeared as if the Meghan Effect was already under way with Line the Label’s website crashing because of the numbers of people trying to access its site.
Ms Markle’s shoes appeared to be strappy Aquazzura Matilde Crisscross Nude Suede Pumps
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 whirlwind romance blossomed when they met through mutual friends in London, and the pair have been almost inseparable in recent months.
The much-anticipated engagement news was confirmed by the Prince of Wales in a brief statement issued by Clarence House.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh said they were “delighted” for their grandson and his bride-to-be, and “wish them every happiness”.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said: “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.”
Ms Markle’s parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland wished their daughter and Harry “a lifetime of happiness”, adding: “We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry.”
The pair became engaged in London earlier this month, and modern man Harry sought the blessing of both of Ms Markle’s parents.
Harry and Ms Markle will have a church wedding, with the Archbishop of Canterbury saying they had ”chosen to make their vows before God”.
The couple are planning to make Harry’s current base, Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace, their marital home.
Ms Markle will become an HRH and a senior royal after marrying Harry and joining the Windsors.
She is expected to become a duchess – just like Kate Middleton did when she became the Duchess of Cambridge after saying her vows in 2011.
But unlike Kate, Ms Markle is not a future queen. With the arrival of the Cambridges’ children, Harry is too far down the line of succession to have a realistic prospect of being monarch.
Ms Markle will most probably become HRH the Duchess of Sussex, if Harry is made the Duke of Sussex by the Queen on the morning of his wedding.
The pair were secretly engaged earlier this month, and rumours a wedding was imminent stepped up a gear when Harry took Ms Markle to meet his grandmother the Queen for tea at Buckingham Palace.