The Mail on Sunday

The Palace is primed, the nation awaits . . . so do hurry up, Harry!

The waiting’s nearly over with courtiers set for an announceme­nt as early as Tuesday – over to you, Harry...

- By Sarah Oliver

PRINCE HARRY and Meghan Markle are set to bring months of fevered speculatio­n to an end by announcing their engagement this week, Royal sources have indicated.

The couple’s plans appear to have been finalised at a series of lastminute meetings between senior courtiers at Kensington Palace. An official announceme­nt is expected in the next few days, with Tuesday thought to be the most likely date.

This is the same day of the week that Harry’s brother, the Duke of Cambridge, and his father, the Prince of Wales, chose to share their engagement news with the nation. Downing Street has refused to comment but a Cabinet meeting is, as usual, scheduled for that day – providing Theresa May with the perfect opportunit­y to inform her Ministers.

Details of the ceremony, the date and the venue would follow swiftly – along with huge speculatio­n about the guest list for what is set to be the wedding of 2018.

Royal insiders say there has been a growing sense of urgency in Palace corridors since American actress Meghan, 36, and 33-year-old Harry appeared together at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September.

In the two months which followed, there have been multiple hints that the couple are set to formalise their 18-month transatlan­tic relationsh­ip.

Her role in US TV drama Suits has now come to an end, and her apartment in Toronto is standing empty. Last week, Meghan arrived in London and was spotted looking relaxed during a shopping trip. Her beloved dogs, Bogart and Guy, are understood to be in quarantine in London.

In the past few days, a senior official from Buckingham Palace has been seen at Kensington Palace, in a breach of normal protocol.

Over the summer, it became clear Meghan’s legal affairs were being looked after by Royal solicitor Harbottle & Lewis, while planned building works at Kensington Palace raised the possibilit­y of a new home in one of the apartments. At present, Prince Harry lives in Nottingham Cottage in the Palace grounds.

It has also been suggested the couple are hunting for a country retreat in either Norfolk, close to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s home Anmer Hall, or in the West Country.

This year Meghan has spent time with Kate and William, met the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and been introduced to the Queen who must give the marriage her blessing. In terms of Royal protocol, it is unlikely that all of these things would have happened if Meghan was not set to marry into the House of Windsor.

‘Senior aides have been locked in meetings’

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