Before wedding bells can ring for Prince Harry and girlfriend Meghan Markle, they’ll need to secure the Queen’s permission.
This is due to a law, first established as the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which gave the monarch the right to veto the marriage of a member of his or her family.
That law has since been repealed and was replaced by more relaxed restrictions.
Now, the law only applies to the first six in line to the throne, which as of now are Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew. Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie used to be included in that list, but were moved down the line of succession after George and Charlotte’s births.
An engagement is certainly one possible outcome between Harry and Markle, who stars in the USA show Suits, a royal source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. With that in mind, obtaining the Queen’s blessing could be something the couple is looking into in the coming months.
Markle is thought to not yet have met the Queen, but she’s been spending more time in London lately, as she’s on a shooting break from Suits and has spending more time at Harry’s London home, Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace. Last week, they were spotted together after having dinner at Soho House.
And the Queen, who returned home to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday after spending winter break at her estate at Sandringham, will remain in the city for upcoming engagements.
Princess Kate did not meet the Queen until several years into her relationship with Prince William, at the 2008 wedding of Peter Phillips, but of course, she and William started their relationship at a younger age than Harry and Markle.
With both women set to be in the same city at the same time, a meeting may be on the horizon, especially considering how close Harry and Markle have gotten in recent weeks.
As another source tells PEOPLE: They are really just enjoying spending time together.