Palace sources confirm the 32-year-old prince met with the Queen in a private meeting last week, where he asked for her approval – which she was ‘absolutely delighted’ to grant.
Harry has even chosen the engagement ring he will give to his bride-to-be– a priceless aquamarine ring belonging to his late mum Princess Diana.
‘Now that Pippa Middleton has married, Prince Harry is ready to announce his own engagement,’ says a Kensington Palace source. ‘He was very conscious of not stealing her thunder and upsetting the Middleton family, and so wanted to make sure that wedding was out of the way before releasing a formal statement.
‘But all the ducks are lined up and we believe an announcement is imminent. The Queen has given Harry and Meghan’s engagement her blessing and is already asking her team to work on timing and arrangements.
‘She believes Harry and Meghan are crucial to the monarchy and is just so happy about this wedding. She really adores Meghan and thinks she will make a lovely princess and ambassador.’
This news comes amid claims that Harry was ‘gushing’ about Meghan, 35, at Pippa’s wedding, telling fellow guests he ‘couldn’t wait’ for her to be his wife.
‘He was calling Meghan “My Princess”,’ says a guest. ‘He knew from the moment he met her that she was The One. He knows she’s going to make a wonderful princess and people will love her as much as he does.’
It’s also reported the couple have been given the green light to marry at Westminster Abbey – despite Meghan’s divorce.
Previously, the church barred divorcees from marrying at the historic place of worship – where the Queen and Prince Philip, and William and Kate, tied the knot – but since 2002 they have relaxed their rules.
‘This is a crucial piece of the puzzle for Harry, and he’s over the moon that he can marry at Westminster Abbey,’ says a close source. ‘Since he was a little boy, he imagined marrying his bride there and he is excited to watch Meghan walk down the aisle to him at Westminster.’
But Harry’s choice of ring was a tougher decision. Sources confirm he had the choice of several royal jewels, with the Queen even reportedly offering up her own ring as an option.
‘The Queen offered her own engagement ring because she thought it would be lovely to know it had been passed on to Harry’s bride,’ says the source. ‘She also offered him her diamond and sapphire ring, as well as the Queen Mother’s engagement ring.'
‘But in the end, Harry decided to go with his mother’s ring that has been his long-time favourite. It’s an emerald-cut aquamarine ring. He thinks it will be perfect for Meghan.’
Says another source: ‘At this point, this is looking like being a $42 million wedding. As well as the usual costs that come with a royal wedding... Harry is also hoping to use it as a chance to raise money for charity.
‘He wants to hold a series of galas around the wedding to raise money for his major causes – he wants his big day to help people.’
For the full story, see this week's New Idea - Out now.
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