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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry arrive at Sandringham Church after crowd treated to a shock marriage proposal

PUBLISHED: 11:57 25 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:06 25 December 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at Sandringham. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at Sandringham. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Meghan Markle joined the royal family for their traditional Christmas Day service at the Queen’s Sandringham estate after an unexpected marriage proposal warmed the hearts of the waiting crowd.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Wearing a light brown coat and brown hat, boots and bag, Ms Markle walked arm-in-arm with fiance Prince Harry as they made the short journey from Sandringham House to St Mary Magdalene Church.

She seemed at ease as they smiled and chatted as they walked alongside William and Kate, who is pregnant with her third child.

The Queen arrived in a car and joined the group from the house which also included the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.

Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to catch a glimpse of the royal family, with some calling out “Merry Christmas” as they walked past.

The Duchess of Cambridge (left) and Meghan Markle arriving to attend the Christmas Day service. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire The Duchess of Cambridge (left) and Meghan Markle arriving to attend the Christmas Day service. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

American couple Mike Metz and Ashley Millican, both aged 20 and visiting their UK-based relative from Wisconsin, were waiting to see the Queen, Prince Harry and his fiancee attend St Mary Magdalene Church on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate for the Christmas Day service when Mike got on one knee.

Asked by Sky News royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills why it was so important for them to come and see the royals on Christmas morning, Mr Metz got on one knee and said: “I want to spend the rest of my Christmases with you Ashley, so I don’t know if you want to marry me?”

Putting her hand to her mouth and fighting back tears, she replied: “Yes. Oh my God.”

Taking the ring from the little white box and weeping, she said: “Yes, yes, yes.”

Michael Metz asked Ashley Millican to marry him as they visited the Queens Sandringham Estate on Christmas Day. Picture: Sam Russell/PA Wire Michael Metz asked Ashley Millican to marry him as they visited the Queens Sandringham Estate on Christmas Day. Picture: Sam Russell/PA Wire

Mills, who had been tipped off about the proposal, asked how them both how they were feeling, to which Mr Metz said: “I’m feeling great, excited.”

Ashley, who said she was not expecting it, replied: “Good, it’s my grandmother’s ring, it’s very pretty.”

Presenter Kay Burley, in the studio, said: “Unbelievable, fantastic and thank goodness she said ‘yes’.”

Mr Metz said the couple planned to tie the knot in around 18 months’ time and would “absolutely” watch the royal wedding.

(Left-right) The Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Edinburgh, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire (Left-right) The Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Edinburgh, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Burley ended the item saying: “That’s amazing, and thank goodness she had her nails done as well.”

Miss Millican, from Texas, told the Press Association the proposal came as a complete surprise.

“I had no idea,” she said, adding: “I was definitely very surprised. I never thought he would ask me right before we were about to see the Royal Family for the first time.

“It was a big surprise.”

Michael Metz and Ashley Millican after Michael asked her to marry him as they visited the Queens Sandringham Estate on Christmas Day. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Michael Metz and Ashley Millican after Michael asked her to marry him as they visited the Queens Sandringham Estate on Christmas Day. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

She said she did not hesitate to say yes.

It is her first holiday outside America and she said they had a two-week trip planned in which they would visit London.

Mr Metz, of Wisconsin, said he started to plan the proposal in August, asked Miss Millican’s parents in September and was nervous ahead of the day.

“It was pretty tough to keep secret as I was so excited,” he said.

Members of the public wait for the royal family to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Members of the public wait for the royal family to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

He added: “It’s memories to cherish forever.”

The Queen, who was wearing a flowery dress and an orange coat, arrived with the Duchess of Cornwall by car as Prince Charles and Prince Andrew led the family down from the gates.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smiled and waved to well wishers as many visiting Americans congratulated them on their engagement.

Prince William was joined by the Duchess of Cambridge who is expecting her third child next year. But their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, were not with them.

Autumn Phillips (back left) and Peter Phillips (back second left) , Sir Timothy Laurence,(back third left), the Countess of Wessex (centre left), the Duke of Edinburgh and  Princess Eugenie (front)  arriving to attend and early morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Autumn Phillips (back left) and Peter Phillips (back second left) , Sir Timothy Laurence,(back third left), the Countess of Wessex (centre left), the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Eugenie (front) arriving to attend and early morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The crowds lining the road shouted Christmas greetings as they passed by.

Those waiting to see the royal family arrive at church included:

■ Phil Longwell 46, from Wells: “This is the first time that I have actually come to Sandringham on Christmas. I’ve never actually seen the Queen and living locally I thought I would treat myself to it and I got up early, did all the vegetables and came out. I have been waiting out here since 7.30am but I didn’t have to come far.”

■ Fawn Peralta, 35, Washington state, USAF Lakenheath: “We have just come to wish all the royal family a merry Christmas. I’d love to wish Harry congratulations on the engagement and I’m really hoping to see little George and Charlotte.

(Left-right) The Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales and Lady Sarah Chatto arriving to attend an early Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire (Left-right) The Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales and Lady Sarah Chatto arriving to attend an early Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2017. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“It will be amazing to see Kate’s little bump and wish them well.”

■ Ron Hatfield, 62, from Ohio: “We are over here visiting my son who is in the US airforce. We have come from Lakenheath. I have never seen a president so to see the royal family will be something else.”

Fawn Peralta from USAF Lakenheath waits with her family to see the Royals at Sandringham Church. Photo: Marc Betts Fawn Peralta from USAF Lakenheath waits with her family to see the Royals at Sandringham Church. Photo: Marc Betts

Phil Longwell from Wells waits to see the Royals at Sandringham Church. Photo: Marc Betts Phil Longwell from Wells waits to see the Royals at Sandringham Church. Photo: Marc Betts

Ron Hatfield from Ohio, USA, waits to see the Royals at Sandringham Church. Photo: Marc Betts Ron Hatfield from Ohio, USA, waits to see the Royals at Sandringham Church. Photo: Marc Betts

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