Is Prince Harry about to propose to Cressida Bonas?
Bookies slash odds of a royal engagement in 2014 as couple seen out in public twice in three days
RUMOURS of a royal engagement are growing after Cressida Bonas joined Prince Harry for her first official royal visit, followed by a second public appearance together at Twickenham yesterday.
Bookmakers have slashed the odds on the couple announcing their engagement in 2014 to 8/13.
Bonas, a 24-year-old Leeds University graduate, accompanied the Prince to the launch of the We Day UK young people's charity event on Friday at Wembley Arena, where the Prince addressed 12,000 students.
Then on Sunday, the couple made their second public outing in the space of just three days, turning up to Twickenham to watch the England rugby team beat Wales in the Six Nations.
"The couple, who have previously done their best to avoid being photographed together, will be aware that their public display of affection can only increase speculation that they are preparing the ground for a future royal wedding," says Gordon Rayner in the Daily Telegraph.
He adds that, at 29, Prince Harry is approaching the age at which most members of the Royal family were already married.
The couple have been dating for two years, but have in the past entered and left venues separately whenever possible in a bid to avoid being photographed together. Prince Harry has previously spoken of the difficulty of finding a girlfriend who would be prepared to take on the scrutiny of being a prospective member of the Royal family.
Bonas, who was introduced to the Prince by his cousin Princess Eugenie, works in Soho, where she has a job in marketing, and reportedly has a security pass for Kensington Palace, the Prince's London home, though she lives with one of her sisters.
According to the Daily Mail's Sebastian Shakespeare, the Prince is also planning to take Bonas to Balmoral this summer, her first visit to the royal Scottish retreat, and would likely involve a meeting with the Queen.
Balmoral is a "rite of passage for any royal bride-to-be", says Shakespeare, who notes that Kate Middleton and her parents were invited to join Prince William on a private shooting party at Balmoral in October 2010 – a month before their engagement was announced.