Prince Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II who is fifth in line to the throne, is engaged to Meghan Markle, his American girlfriend, the royal family said on Monday.
The prince, 33, got engaged this month to Ms. Markle, 36, a statement from Clarence House said, adding that the wedding would be next spring.
The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle.
The relationship of Prince Harry and Ms. Markle, an actress, has been the subject of intense media scrutiny, which last year prompted the prince to denounce the “racial undertones” of news coverage of Ms. Markle, whose mother is black and whose father is white.
The pair have dated for more than a year, and made their first official outing together in September in Toronto at the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style competition for wounded or sick members of the military.
He has gotten into trouble in the past, once wearing a Nazi costume at a party, but he has since become a vocal advocate for mental health awareness and has spoken about the difficulties he faced after the death of his mother, Princess Diana. He has also taken an H.I.V. test, broadcast live on the royals’ Facebook page in 2016, to promote the importance of testing for the virus.
He has also come to be the face of a new generation of royals — modern, down-to-earth and more in touch with the public. This year, he even suggested that no one in the royal family actually wants to sit on the throne.
“We are involved in modernizing the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people,” he said in an interview with Newsweek.
“Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”
In another unusual break from palace protocol but one that drew praise, he divulged to a newspaper that he had suffered for years after the death of his mother in 1997, before finally getting help about three years ago at the urging of his elder brother, Prince William.
The candid statement by the Prince Harry, in a podcast released by The Daily Telegraph, was the latest indication of a shift within the British monarchy toward greater openness, led by a younger generation. The two princes, along with Prince William’s wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, are leading a campaign called Heads Together to end stigma around mental illness.
Prince Harry said that not dealing with the trauma had contributed to years of “total chaos” in his late 20s.
“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” he said.
He added: “I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle.”
It was his public statement in defense of Ms. Markle that effectively confirmed their relationship, while also taking on the British newspapers that have long hungered for news of the royals and their foibles.
In the unusually blunt rebuke, Prince Harry, through his spokesman, called out “the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”