READY TO PRO­POSE

The ‘smit­ten’ prince whisks Meghan Markle away for a birth­day sur­prise

WHO - - News - By Jen­nie Noo­nan

A smit­ten Prince Harry whisks girl­friend Meghan Markle away for a birth­day sur­prise.

Wear­ing­caps around and matchin­gone with an­other,their base­bal­larms Prince Harry Markle and strode ac­tress across Meghan­the tar­mac car­ry­ing their bags and with big smiles on their faces. Meghan also car­ried what looked to be a framed pic­ture cov­ered in bubble wrap as they ar­rived in Africa for a sa­fari get­away on her 36th birth­day on Aug. 4. “Harry has been plan­ning this hol­i­day for a long time,” a source told UK’S The Sun. “He’s made the trip in­cred­i­bly ro­man­tic. They’ll go on boats across the lake, walk in the bush at dawn and camp un­der the stars.”

The des­ti­na­tion is sure to raise some ques­tions—af­terWil­liam took then-girl­frien­dall, Africa is whereKate Mid­dle­tonPrince to pop the ques­tion seven years ago. “Who knows what will hap­pen when they’re watch­ing­sun­set to­gether?”a sen­sa­tion­al­said The African Sun’s source. “Maybe he’ll get down on one knee. Harry re­gards Africa as his spir­i­tual home and has of­ten talked of how he can get away from it all there.” In­deed, bet­ting agency Lad­brokes has cut the odds to 6–4 that Harry will pro­pose to his ac­tress girl­friend while on sa­fari. “It’s a case of when and not if Harry pops the ques­tion,” said a rep for the bet­ting com­pany. “And royal pun­ter­shappy cou­pleare con­vincedare on hol­i­day.”it will be while the Cer­tainly, their long-dis­tance ro­mance is pick­ing up pace—and rack­ing up kilo­me­tres. A week be­fore her birth­day trip to Africa, Meghan and her mother, Do­ria Rad­lan, hopped on a plane and headed to Lon­don for a week-long get­away. In ad­di­tion to sight­see­ing, “Do­ria, of course, spent time with Harry and Meghan to­gether,” a source told E! Meghan then re­turned to Toronto to wrap film­ing on her le­gal drama Suits be­fore mak­ing the jour­ney to Africa with her prince. “She is su­per ex­cited about their

“He’s made the trip in­cred­i­bly ro­man­tic” —A source to The Sun

hol­i­day to­gether and to see Africa though Harry’s eyes,” said The Sun’s source. “Of course, she’s vis­ited the con­ti­nent be­fore through her char­ity work, but this is her first ever sa­fari.”

For Harry, 32, Africa is a place “where I feel more like my­self than any­where in the world,” he told Town &

Coun­try for its Fe­bru­ary cover story. His first visit came just af­ter his mother Princess Di­ana’s death in 1997, when his fa­ther, Prince Charles, took him and his brother, Prince Wil­liam, to clear their heads af­ter the tragedy. “My dad told my brother and me to pack our bags—we were go­ing to Africa to get away from it all,” he said. Now, he makes a trip an­nu­ally. “I have this in­tense sense of com­plete re­lax­ation and nor­mal­ity here. To not get recog­nised, to lose my­self in the bush with what I would call the most down-to-earth peo­ple on the planet.”

A sense of nor­mal­ity is also what he has tried to cre­ate for Meghan since they met in May 2016. “If or when I do find a girl­friend, I will do my ut­most ... to en­sure that me and her can get to the point where we’re ac­tu­ally com­fort­able with each other be­fore the mas­sive in­va­sion that is inevitably go­ing to hap­pen into her pri­vacy,” Harry lamented in the months pre­ced­ing his in­tro­duc­tion to Meghan. Go­ing public last Novem­ber, he took the ex­tra­or­di­nary step of re­leas­ing a state­ment to pro­tect his new girl­friend from “a wave of abuse and ha­rass­ment,” and it be­came clear this re­la­tion­ship was too pre­cious not to pro­tect. “De­spite the dis­tance, the me­dia at­ten­tion and

ev­ery­thing else, there’s a real ease to their re­la­tion­ship,” a source tells WHO. “It just works. They are deeply happy.”

And poised for the next step: “Harry is ready to set­tle down and Meghan feels the same way,” a source tells E! “They are both in this for the long haul; they’ve known pretty much from the start. Ev­ery­thing has just fallen into place. It comes down to tim­ing,”

A pro­posal this month, says an Us Weekly source, would be a gift to the ac­tress and him­self, not­ing that Harry gen­er­ally feels down in Au­gust—the month his mother died. “He feels get­ting en­gaged will lift that gloom for­ever,” says the source. “Be­cause he will be able to as­so­ciate Au­gust with some­thing joy­ful.” No mat­ter the tim­ing, “Harry wants to get mar­ried and have kids,” a source tells WHO. “He’s smit­ten.”

“En­gage­ment talk isn’t just be­tween the two of them,” says a source of Meghan and Harry (in St Lu­cia on Nov. 25). “Harry’s clos­est aides are qui­etly ex­pect­ing news be­fore the end of the year.”

Meghan (with mum Do­ria Rad­lan on Dec. 28 in Toronto) “is try­ing to keep her head down,” says a source.

The pair at­tended a friend’s wed­ding in Ja­maica on March 3.

LOW-KEY LOVE Meghan has faced “ups and downs” with the “amount of at­ten­tion on her fu­ture with Harry,“a source tells E! “She’s hop­ing that if this is some­thing that hap­pens, they can keep the news pri­vate for a while.”

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