December 15, 2017 / 1:13 PM / 9 months ago

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry on May 19

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Prince Harry and his American fiancée, Meghan Markle, will marry on Saturday May 19, his office Kensington Palace said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Harry poses with Meghan Markle in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, London, Britain, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, fifth-in-line to the throne, and Markle, who stars in the U.S. TV legal drama “Suits”, announced their engagement last month with the marriage to take place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

“His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle will marry on 19th May 2018,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.

The couple said they had chosen to marry in Windsor, west of London, because it was “a special place for them”, having spent time there regularly since they met in July 2016 after being introduced through a mutual friend.

Harry’s 91-year-old grandmother, Elizabeth, will attend the ceremony. However, the date they have chosen clashes with English soccer’s FA Cup Final which is usually attended by Harry’s elder brother Prince William who, as President of the Football Association, awards the trophy to the winners.

“The couple of course want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family,” Harry’s Communications Secretary Jason Knauf said last month.

“They also want the day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too and are currently working through ideas for how this might be achieved.”

The wedding is likely to attract huge attention across the world, as did the marriage of William to his wife Kate in 2011 which was watched by an estimated two billion people.

The royal family have said they will pay for the core aspects of the wedding, such as the church service and reception.

Markle, 36, who attended a Catholic school as a child but identifies as a Protestant, will be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England before the wedding.

She intends to become a British citizen, though she will retain her U.S. citizenship while she goes through the process.

The Gothic St George’s Chapel is located in the grounds of Windsor Castle, which has been the family home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years. Within the chapel are the tombs of ten sovereigns, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I.

On Wednesday, Kensington Palace announced Markle would join the queen and other senior Windsors for their family Christmas celebrations at her Sandringham estate in eastern England in what commentators said was a break with royal protocol under which such an invitation would normally only be extended to Markle after the wedding.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison

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