opinion

Please Prince Harry, keep that ring in your pocket.

Prince Harry has given Meghan Markle a DIAMOND ring but it’s for the WRONG finger, headlines have lamented.

Oh, and did you hear about the Cartier Love Bracelet that requires a screwdriver to unlock? He’s given her one of those, too. Surely it’s true love and what does the Queen think and why, why, with all this jewellery, aren’t they engaged yet?

The tabloids won’t stop the ring hunt.

Markle can’t do anything – answer her phone, reach for her handbag, take a sip of coffee – without the whole world (through a swarm of paparazzi) watching her third finger and wondering: Has it happened yet?

Please, please don’t let it have happened yet.

Two quick reminders:

One: Meghan Markle is more than her ring finger. She is an actress and an activist. She’s a public speaker and a businesswoman.

Since 2011 she has held one of the leading roles – paralegal Rachel Zane – in the legal drama Suits. She has starred in a long list of television shows, a handful of movies.

She is a Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada. She has travelled to Rwanda to campaign for clean water. She has worked with the United Nations, fighting for the Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

In 2014, she spoke at a summit for international charity One Young World. She fronted the podium to talk about gender equality and modern-day slavery.

Actress Meghan Markle attends P.S. Arts' The pARTy at NeueHouse Hollywood on May 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Getty Images)
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Before her acting took off, Markle worked as a freelance calligrapher. She founded her own lifestyle website The Tig and, in 2016, she and Canadian clothing company Reitmans released a line of women's fashion work-wear.

She has also interned at the US embassy in Buenos Aires.

She has a double major in theatre studies and international relations.

She has a previous life married to television producer Trevor Engelson, who she split with in 2013.

This is a woman who does much more than answer phone calls and rummage through her handbag and drink sips of coffee wondering about a ring-in-a-box and when it might arrive.

Please, Prince Harry, hold out for a little longer. Give us all time to remember there are so many interesting things about Markle other than her dating the His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales.

Prince Harry attends a reception on June 9, 2015 in London, United Kigndom. (Photo by Getty Images)

Secondly, it doesn't work.

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A quick review of royal history suggests the later the engagement, the better off the marriage.

According to media reports, Markle and Prince Harry have only been in a relationship since 2016. In November last year, Harry confirmed the relationship in a rare statement defending Markle against criticism. Markle herself also alluded to love, with an Instagram photos of two bananas cuddling... History tells us: this is too soon for an engagement.

There was Prince Andrew (third child of Queen Elizabeth II) who married Sarah 'Fergie' Ferguson in July 1986. They began their relationship after a party at Windsor Castle in August 1985. They were engaged in March 1986 and married in July the same year: eleven months after their relationship first began.

What happened to Prince Andrew and Fergie? They had two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and were separated in 1992. Their divorce was made official in May 1996, just shy of their 10 year marriage anniversary.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana during their honeymoon at Balmoral In Scotland. (Photo by Getty Images)

Then there was Prince Charles and Princess Diana. A couple famous for their rumoured affairs, their unhappiness, Diana's 'rebellion' and her tragic, tragic end. Again, it was a quick engagement.

The pair met during the summer of 1980 when they were guests at a country weekend lodge and Diana watched Prince Charles play polo. A courtship ensued: he invited her sailing; then to Balmoral Castle in Scotland; then to several dinners in London. Six months after that polo-playing weekend, it was February 1981 and the couple were engaged.

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"Yes, we are marrying for love," Diana told media at the time. "Whatever love means," the Prince added. They were married in July of 1981. Their wedding was dubbed the 'Wedding of the Century' and, 15 years later, the pair announced their divorce.

The Princess Myth is BS. If Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry, will she rescue us from the ivory anti-feminist Princess tower?

The opposite is also (seemingly) true.

The 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton came 10 years after the pair first got together.

They met while they were undergraduates at St Andrews University in Scotland. They both lived at the same college during their first year of university and then shared accommodation in the town for two years after that.

william and kate matching outfits
Kate Middleton and Prince William on the day of their graduation ceremony at St Andrew's University in St Andrew's on June 23, 2005 in Scotland.(Photo by the Middleton Family/Clarence House via GettyImages)

Still, even living together, the pair were not ready for an engagement and refused to bow to tabloid pressure and speculation.

Headlines followed them relentlessly - were they cheating? Were they back together? Were they off for good? Finally, in November 2010, they announced their engagement and were married the following spring. (Arguably the 'Second Wedding of the Century').

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The story of Princess Mary Donaldson from Tasmania and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark is similarly cautious.

Danish Crown Prince Frederik and his bride Crown Princess Mary leave Copenhagen Cathedral after their wedding ceremony May 14, 2004 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Getty Images)

The unlikely pair met in Sydney during the 2000 Summer Olympics. They worked through long distance. In November 2001 Mary was named by tabloids as the Prince's 'girlfriend'. She moved to Denmark in December of that year and it wasn't until October 2003, three years after they first began their relationship, that their engagement was officially announced. They were married the following May.

Quite clearly, nothing good comes from rushing into an engagement. And lasting happiness (plus adorable children) is guaranteed if you will just wait, Prince Harry. Just wait. (#science).

The only, only, positive outcome of this whole "will-Harry-propose?" speculation is the knowledge that the royals are just like any other couple. It seems pressure to become engaged after one year of dating is not just the reality of mere mortals. Royalty, too, can fall victim to the nagging voices of grandmothers and pestering aunts and impatient cousins... except this time it's in the form of tabloid media.

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