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Prince Carl Philip announces his engagement to Sofia Hellqvist

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Prince Carl Philip of Sweden has announced his engagement to Sofia Hellqvist. The 35-year-old, who is the only son of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden and third-in-line to the Swedish throne, announced on Friday 27 June that he and Sofia will marry in the summer of 2015. 

Bride-to-be Sofia turned heads in a scarlet dress when she arrived at Drottningholm Palace, walking hand-in-hand with Carl Philip as they headed to a press conference in the Palace's garden where they shared their first public kiss. "I have the incredible honour of being engaged to this fantastic girl," an excited Carl Philip told the waiting journalists, while Sofia added "Carl Philip is the most humble person I have ever met, which is what made me fall for him in the beginning. He has one of the most beautiful hearts, he is very warm."

Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist

Sofia, whose left hand glittered with her new engagement ring, told reporters that Carl Philip had proposed on Friday morning, taking her completely by surprise as she had been preparing for a normal day at work. The newly-engaged couple were then joined on the lawn by Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI, who spoke of his joy at his son's engagement.

An official statement announcing the news was also released on the Swedish royal family's official website. "The Marshal of the Realm is delighted to announce the engagement between Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist," read the announcement. "After His Majesty The King of Sweden had given his consent to the marriage between Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist, His Majesty requested approval by the Swedish Government, in accordance with the procedures set out in the Swedish Constitution.

Carl Philip and Sofia, who met in a club in 2009, have been dating since 2010 and rumours that a royal engagement was on the cards have been rife for months. The couple have been living together in Djurgården, an affluent neighbourhood in Stockholm, for some time now and the prince's parents have warmly accepted their son's girlfriend, who spent New Year with the royal family in the Swiss Alps. 

Despite their long-term relationship, the couple have kept their union out of the limelight and due to royal protocol have not been permitted to sit together at official events. Sofia has long been at the prince's side, however, and was present at his sister Madeleine's wedding in June 2013 and Princess Leonore's baptism the following year. The 29-year-old also joined the Swedish royals for Queen Silvia's 70th birthday celebrations in December 2013.