First comes love, then comes a royal marriage? What to know about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's next steps

PHOTO: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games, on Sept. 25, 2017, in Toronto.PlayChris Jackson/Getty Images
WATCH All eyes on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at close of Invictus Games

The question after Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s public appearance at the 2017 Invictus Games is not if but when the couple will announce the next step in their relationship.

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Reports surfaced last week in British newspapers that Markle, 36, flew to London to join Harry, 33, for tea with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

PHOTO: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the wheelchair tennis event at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Sept. 25, 2017Stephen Lock/i-Images via Polaris
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the wheelchair tennis event at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Sept. 25, 2017

PHOTO: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are seen at the Closing Ceremony on day 8 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 at the Air Canada Centre, Sept. 30, 2017, in Toronto, Canada. Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are seen at the Closing Ceremony on day 8 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 at the Air Canada Centre, Sept. 30, 2017, in Toronto, Canada.

The first six people in the line of succession to the British throne are required to ask the monarch for permission to marry under the Succession to the Crown Act.

Harry is currently fifth in line to the throne.

Vacation in Africa

When Markle and Harry visited Botswana and Victoria Falls in August for Markle’s 36th birthday, speculation swirled an engagement was imminent.

Harry has described Africa as his "second home."

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SLIDESHOW: Prince Harry: Through the Years

"This is where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world," he said earlier this year. "I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here."

Harry's brother, Prince William, proposed to Kate Middleton atop Mount Kenya in 2010 after a long courtship.

William and Kate lived together for several years before announcing their engagement.

Markle is expected to relocate to London after wrapping her shooting schedule for "Suits." She is expected to move into Harry's Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.

PHOTO: Royal couple Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle were spotted attending a friends wedding in Jamaica, March 3, 2017.SBMF/MiamiPIXX/Fameflynet Picture
Royal couple Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle were spotted attending a friend's wedding in Jamaica, March 3, 2017.

Engagement announcement

If Markle and Harry do get engaged, Kensington Palace will make a formal announcement, which will be followed by a public appearance of the couple.

William and Kate appeared before the press after their engagement was announced by Clarence House in 2010.

PHOTO: Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photographs in the State Apartments of St James Palace, Nov. 16, 2010, in London.Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photographs in the State Apartments of St James Palace, Nov. 16, 2010, in London.

Clarence House also announced the engagement of William's and Harry's father, Prince Charles, to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, but not before a British newspaper broke the news. The couple appeared in a photo op after the announcement.

Harry and William's parents, Charles and then-Lady Diana Spencer, also made a formal announcement of their engagement in 1981 and later spoke to the press.

PHOTO: Lady Diana Spencer (later to become Princess of Wales) reveals her sapphire and diamond engagement ring alongside Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace following the announcement of their engagement.Tim Graham/Getty Images
Lady Diana Spencer (later to become Princess of Wales) reveals her sapphire and diamond engagement ring alongside Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace following the announcement of their engagement.

Wedding timing

Royal engagements typically last no longer than five to six months.

William and Kate’s third child is due next April, leading royal watchers to believe that if Harry and Markle wed, it would take place after April 2018.

PHOTO: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the Coach Core graduation ceremony for more than 150 Coach Core apprentices at The London Stadium, Oct. 18, 2017, in London.Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the Coach Core graduation ceremony for more than 150 Coach Core apprentices at The London Stadium, Oct. 18, 2017, in London.

Markle's divorce not an impediment

Markle's status as a divorcée -- she was married to Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013 -- would not be an impediment to marrying Harry.

PHOTO: Actress Meghan Markle (R) and her husband Trevor Engelson arrive at the Anti-Defamation League Entertainment Industry Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton, on Oct. 11, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
Actress Meghan Markle (R) and her husband Trevor Engelson arrive at the Anti-Defamation League Entertainment Industry Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton, on Oct. 11, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Charles married Camilla, a divorcée, in 2005.

PHOTO: Prince Charles, and Camilla leave the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England. Tim Graham/Getty Images
Prince Charles, and Camilla leave the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England.

The royal family has evolved since the 1936 abdication crisis, when Edward VIII gave up the throne to marry divorced American Wallis Simpson and the 1950s when Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's sister, announced she would not marry Group Capt. Peter Townsend, who was divorced.

Earlier this year, a Westminster Abbey spokesman said the church, “follows the General Synod ruling of 2002. Since then, it has been possible for divorced people to be married in the Church of England.”

Wedding location

Where Harry's and Markle's hypothetical wedding ceremony would take place appears to still be an open question.

William and Kate were married at Westminster Abbey in 2011.

PHOTO:Prince William speaks to his bride, Catherine Middleton as she holds the hand of her father Michael Middleton at Westminster Abbey, April 29, 2011, in London. Getty Images
PHOTO:Prince William speaks to his bride, Catherine Middleton as she holds the hand of her father Michael Middleton at Westminster Abbey, April 29, 2011, in London.

Queen Elizabeth might prefer that Harry and Markle follow in Charles's and Camilla's path and have a civil ceremony at Windsor Castle followed by a less formal blessing and service in the castle's chapel, St. George’s Chapel.

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, with Prince Harry, and Prince Andrew,Duke of York, attend the first day of The Royal Ascot race meeting, June 14, 2016, in Ascot, England.UK Press via Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, with Prince Harry, and Prince Andrew,Duke of York, attend the first day of The Royal Ascot race meeting, June 14, 2016, in Ascot, England.

Engagement ring

William proposed to Kate with the 12-carat sapphire and 14-diamond ring Diana received from Charles.

PHOTO: A close up of Kate Middletons engagement ring as she poses for photographs in the State Apartments with her fiance Prince William of St James Palace, Nov. 16, 2010, in London.Getty Images
A close up of Kate Middleton's engagement ring as she poses for photographs in the State Apartments with her fiance Prince William of St James Palace, Nov. 16, 2010, in London.

Harry could select a piece of jewelry from his mother's collection -- which he and William inherited after her 1997 death -- or he could opt for an entirely new design.

Royal title

PHOTO: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games, on Sept. 25, 2017, in Toronto.Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games, on Sept. 25, 2017, in Toronto.

If they do get married, whether Harry and Markle receive a title is at the discretion of Queen Elizabeth.

Harry and Markle could potentially take the title of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex or the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham upon marriage.

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