Harry 'had to propose in UK' due to royal rules…but William proposed to Kate in Africa


The first three episodes of Prince Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary series have been released with the couple sharing their side of the story. During one episode the couple spoke of how they became engaged with Harry revealing that he had wanted to pop the question abroad, but as he had to ask the Queen’s permission to do so, he could not ask Meghan outside the UK. However, Prince William asked Kate to marry him while they were abroad seven years prior – so why did Harry say this? 

Both Prince William and Prince Harry had to ask the late Queen’s permission before they could propose. Under the Royal Marriages Act 1772, all descendants of George II must have the sovereign’s agreement before they can wed, otherwise, the marriage is invalid.

Prince Harry, speaking in the documentary, revealed that he had wanted to ask Meghan to marry him abroad, but could not do so as he needed to ask the Queen’s permission. 

The interviewer asks Harry to talk about the proposal during the second episode of the bombshell Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan.

He said: “I wanted to do it earlier. Like I was… because I had to ask permission from my grandmother, I couldn’t do it outside of the UK.”

The couple were eventually engaged at their home, Nottingham Cottage, in the grounds of Kensington Palace, in 2016, with the Queen’s permission. 

The official letter from the Queen said: “I declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle, which Consent I am causing to be signified under the Great Seal and to be entered in the Books of the Privy Council.”

However, eagle-eyed royal watchers recalled another royal engagement that contradicted Harry’s account of his own: Prince William, who also had to ask the Queen’s permission, proposed to Kate Middleton while the couple was on holiday with friends in Africa in 2010. 

In 2019, William told of the romantic moment he got down on one knee. He said: “The African continent holds a very special place in my heart. It is the place my father took my brother and me shortly after our mother died. And when deciding where best to propose to Catherine, I could think of no more fitting place than Kenya to get down on one knee.”

It is not thought that Harry – further down in the line of succession – would have been subject to a different set of rules for his engagement to his brother, the future king. 

Harry, speaking on the documentary released on December 8, also revealed how he felt as Meghan was perfect for him, she too would be perfect for the role. He continued: “From my perspective, I fell head over heels in love with her because my heart told me that she was the one that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. 

“And then once I got to know her even more, my head then told me ‘well she’s absolutely perfect for the role as well’. When it came to Meghan that was, I guess the case of finding a needle in a haystack.”

READ MORE: Prince William ‘furious’ at Meghan and Harry over Diana footage

The couple had been having a quiet night together, roasting a chicken, when Harry popped open a magnum bottle of champagne in anticipation of what he was about to do. 

He continued: “I did pop a bottle of champagne whilst she was roasting a chicken and that kind of slightly gave the game away. She was like ‘you don’t drink champagne? What’s the occasion?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know. Just had it lying around here, whatever.’”

When explaining why he opened the bottle before proposing, he said: “It wasn’t that I knew she’d say yes but she’d already moved [her dog] Guy over. So I had Guy as a hostage.” 

Surrounded by 15 electric candles in the North Garden of Kensington Palace, Harry got down on one knee “of course” and Meghan consequently said yes, describing it in the documentary as a “joyful” and “exciting” moment.

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Several of the Duke and Duchess’s close friends were interviewed as part of the documentary with Lucy Fraser recalling how the couple celebrated by throwing a small party where everyone wore animal onesies – Meghan and Harry each donned a penguin outfit. Another friend, author and producer Lindsay Jill Roth, said at that time Meghan felt as though the pair could “take on the world” together. 

Ms Fraser said: “They were so happy and they were going to keep it quiet because it was going to be announced a few weeks later. We had a little engagement party and everyone was dressed in animal onesies. And Meg and Harry were in matching onesies because penguins mate for life and they were so sweet and we had so much fun.”

The Duke and Duchess then announced their engagement on November 27, 2017, before formally being interviewed about their engagement by the BBC, just as William and Kate had done in 2010. 

However, Meghan told the documentary that she found the interview with Mishal Husain akin to an “orchestrated reality TV show”. Meghan explained that it was “rehearsed” with both her and Harry adding that they have “never been allowed to tell their story”. 


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