Are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a step closer to announcing a royal engagement?

Tea with the Queen is certainly a good sign...

From the editors of People

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s road to engagement just hit another milestone.

The couple visited Buckingham Palace for a private tea with Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth, according to a new report in the Daily Mail by authoritative royals columnist Richard Kay.

The couple, who have been dating for at least 15 months, arrived in a Ford Galaxy station wagon with blacked-out windows for the discreet appointment last Thursday. They were then ‘whisked up to the Queen’s private sitting room’ for the hour-long meeting, Kay reports. (We assume her no-fail, go-to jeans were not her choice of attire for this particular occasion!)

Later that evening, Prince Harry was on top form as he accepted a posthumous award honouring the HIV/AIDS activism of his mother, Princess Diana, at the Attitude magazine awards.

Spokespeople at Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the report.

prince harry and meghan markle engagement

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There is critical significance in Markle’s meeting with the Queen. Harry is fifth in the line of succession (he’ll be pushed to sixth after William and Kate welcome their third baby this spring), meaning he has to have the monarch’s permission to wed.

There had been rumours that the Suits star and the Queen may have met earlier – during a visit to Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Last month, Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, made their public debut as a couple at the Invictus Games in Toronto, where they held hands at a wheelchair tennis event and spent time with her mom, Doria. Before the games, Markle had spoken in a way that no other royal girlfriend or boyfriend had done so before, saying they were ‘two people who are really happy and in love.’

And if there is any doubt that Harry would need to worry about securing his grandmother’s approval, one inside source tells People he would be in the clear. ‘If Harry asks for something, she would say yes as she adores him,’ the source says.

If they are to wed, there are suggestions it would take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Last week was a busy one for the royals: The Queen, 91, returned from her annual Scottish summer getaway, and Harry helped host a party for mental health professionals in the palace on Tuesday. This week has been active as well, with Harry joining his grandmother on Tuesday for a private reception of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, a fledgling charity. Harry—who features on the organisation’s new website—has taken a prominent role in several projects for the Commonwealth, especially based around young people and the environment.

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