Justin Welby, the archbishop Of Canterbury, has congratulated Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle on their engagement and said he is “so happy” the couple has chosen to “make their vows before God.”
After it was announced that the prince, 33, proposed in London earlier this month to the 36-year-old Markle, Welby said he was “absolutely delighted” by the news.
“I have met Prince Harry on a number of occasions and have always been struck by his commitment and passion for his charities, and his immense love for his family,” he said in a statement from Lambeth Palace.
“Marriage is a special and joyous commitment, one that Jesus celebrated together with friends at the wedding in Cana. I am so happy that Prince Harry and Ms Markle have chosen to make their vows before God.
“I wish them many years of love, happiness and fulfilment and ask that God blesses them throughout their married life together.”
The couple, who began their 16-month relationship after meeting through mutual friends in London, made their first appearance as an engaged couple on Monday morning, briefly posing for photographers on the grounds of Kensington Palace, hours after their engagement was announced.
Harry said he was “thrilled” and that details about his proposal would come out later. He was then asked if the proposal was romantic, and he replied: “Of course!”
Markle also showed off her ring, which Harry designed himself. According to People, the center stone is from Botswana while the two diamonds are from his late mother Princess Diana.
The couple are expected to wed in spring 2018, Kensington Palace announced on Monday. The statement said the couple will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace, and the upcoming wedding will be the first grand royal wedding since Prince William and Kate Middleton got married in 2011.
Markle, an actress on the show “Suits,” is an advocate for UN Women, the United Nations office for gender equality and the empowerment of women, and a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, a Christian humanitarian organization.
She spoke about her relationship with Harry in a Vanity Fair interview published in September.
“We’re a couple. We’re in love. I’m sure there will be a time when we have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time,” she told the magazine.
“This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.”
The fifth in line to the U.K.’s throne, Harry is also known for his charitable activities, including his “Heads Together” campaign promoting mental health, for which he has appeared alongside Prince William and Princess Kate.
Earlier this year, spoke about his own mental health struggles, admitting that he had come “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions.” He said that for years, he endured “total chaos” due to his inability to deal with his grief over the death of his mother in 1997 when he was 12 years old.
Prince William and Princess Kate, who are expecting their third child, said in a statement they were excited for the couple, adding “it has been wonderful getting to know Meghan and to see how happy she and Harry are together.”