World

Meghan Markle to prepare for new life as British royal

LONDON: Meghan Markle will embark upon her transition from American actress to British royal by getting baptised in the Church of England ahead of her marriage to Prince Harry in Windsor Castle in May next year. She will also apply for British citizenship, royal officials said on Tuesday.

"She intends to become a United Kingdom citizen. The process for that takes a number of years. She will retain the US citizenship during that process," Prince Harry's spokesman Jason Knauf told reporters at a briefing.

Mr Knauf said the couple planned to put their personal stamp on the wedding, adding: "They will be making sure it reflects who they are as a couple."

The couple will go to Nottingham in central England tomorrow for their first joint visit since announcing their engagement on Monday.

Mr Knauf said Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II's weekend residence near London, was a "very special place" for Prince Harry, and he and Markle, 36, had spent time there together during their 16-month romance.

Prince Harry, 33, was also baptised in the St George's Chapel there.

The chapel has been the scene of numerous royal marriages, in particular during and after the more than 60-year reign of Queen Victoria, starting in 1837.

Kensington Palace, Prince Harry's official residence, said in a statement that the royal family would pay for the wedding and the Queen "had granted permission for the wedding to take place in the chapel".

Prince William's wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry's sister-in-law, said she and her husband were "absolutely thrilled".

"It is a really happy time for any couple," she said.

Being American, a divorcee, an actress, a vocal feminist and of mixed-race heritage, Markle has an unusual background for a member of the British royal family, and this has drawn extensive commentary.

The palace said Markle would also be discontinuing her UN work on gender equality and other campaigning activities as an actress and would instead concentrate on her charity activities as a royal. - AFP

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