The Countdown Is On For Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Engagement

It’s the news the nation has been on tenterhooks for – now a royal insider has told Grazia that it’s ‘an open secret’ among family and friends that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be announcing their engagement shortly.

Harry, 32, whisked Meghan away to South Africa at the beginning of the month for her 36th birthday and it’s here that he presented her with a Zulu commitment bracelet representing betrothal. A source said, ‘Harry had their matching bracelets commissioned by the same person who made the blue, white and black bands that the couple already wear. His mother, Diana, had many tribal bracelets and taught Harry about the meaning behind them, which is where he got the idea from. It’s his way of confirming their commitment without having to make it official just yet.’

Harry has been dating Suits actress Meghan since last summer and, according to the source, he has been open about his engagement plans with his inner circle. ‘Friends are joking it’s the worst-kept secret, as Harry and Meghan have considered themselves unofficially engaged for a while now. Harry hasn’t been shy about telling people he knows Meghan is The One, and even though he’s slightly broken protocol, it’s a totally personal way of him declaring his intentions.’

WATCH: Everything You Need To Know About Meghan Markle

He wouldn’t be the first in his family to propose in Africa – his older brother William asked Kate Middleton to marry him in a Kenyan cabin in October 2010. It’s also been suggested that the ill health of Harry’s grandfather, Prince Phillip, 96, could soon see the pair announcing their engagement officially, with a view to getting married early next year. The insider said, ‘Harry would be devastated if Phillip were unable to make his wedding, so this is at the forefront of his mind as he plans his future.’

The couple are said to be house-hunting in the Cotswolds, looking for a country escape away from Kensington Palace, just outside Chipping Norton – not far from Soho Farmhouse and the Beckhams’ new barn conversion. The source added, ‘It’s all very exciting – Harry and Meghan hope to share the news properly soon.

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Grazia magazine cover