Earlier this month, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle traveled to Africa to celebrate her 36th birthday.
The continent is a place of temendous emotional significance to Harry, as he went on safari there with his father and brother shortly after the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
As Harry and Meghan engagement rumors have been circulating online for months, it was widely assumed that Meghan would return from Zambia with a massive rock on her finger.
But the couple returned home last week, and as just about every gossip outlet has breathlessly exclaimed, Meghan is not wearing a ring.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the couple hasn’t made concrete plans to get hitched.
Those who have studied the couple closely believe they’re simply holding off on going public with the news so as not to steal the spotlight from other royal events on the horizon.
First up is a somber anniversary.
August 31 will mark 20 years since Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris.
Darren McGrady, the personal chef and close friend of Diana’s during the last years of her life, says Harry and Meghan may be holding off on announcing their engagement so as not to overshadow such an important date in his family’s history:
“I really do think they would have been engaged by now. But Princess Diana’s 20th anniversary this month in August, they can’t trump that,” McGrady tells the U.K.’s Hello magazine.
“November is the Queen and Prince Philip‘s platinum wedding anniversary so they can’t trump that either, whereas December they can announce the engagement and they’d be free to marry next year. I think that’s what’s going to happen,” he continues.
“Meghan can join the royals at Sandringham at Christmas because she’ll be engaged and part of the fold.”
Yes, lots of important events coming up on Harry’s social calendar, so it makes sense that he and Meghan would opt to hold off on sharing their big news.
As for Meghan, she’s got the big season finale of Suits coming up, in which … the main guy, um … gets his suit back from the dry cleaners?
Meghan is successful in her own right, even if Suits has never been viewed outside of a bus station or hospital waiting room.
As for the impression that Ms. Markle is making on Harry’s inner circle, McGrady says that after some initial hesitance, the royals have embraced her with open arms.
“I think she’s amazing and I think Harry’s picked someone like his mum,” says McGrady.
“I think Kate (Middleton)’s beautiful, a hard worker, she looks stunning and she’s doing exactly what she needs to be doing, but I think Meghan is naturally like Diana.”
Wow. And dude slipped in a subtle Kate burn!
McGrady, if you’re ever looking to dive into the world of celebrity gossip, giving us a ring, old chap.