On Oct. 6, James Middleton took to Instagram to announce he and girlfriend Alizee Thevenet are engaged! The happy couple posted a loved-up snap featuring them posing against a mountainous background. Alizee leans on Duchess Kate’s younger brother as she shows off her gorgeous engagement ring, which features a big sapphire in an emerald cut.
“She said OUI,” he wrote, including two heart emojis. “Our secret is out, but we couldn’t be happier to share the news. #jalizee.” He included emojis of two champagne glasses, a bottle of bubbly and the British and French flags.
But who is Alizee? She and James have kept their relationship pretty quiet since they started dating, so it’s no surprise royal watchers may be looking for more information about her. Here’s what we know!
She and James met last summer
In January, the Daily Mail reported Alizee’s father Gabriel said his daughter and James had been dating for about six months. While he didn’t reveal the way they met, an unnamed friend later told the publication they had met in a London bar.
“James offered her a drink and Alizee did not know who he was until a friend told her,” the woman said.
By then, the two had already spent time together at the Middleton family cottage and the friend said things were “getting serious.”
They were first seen together at the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund’s Christmas Carol Service at St. Luke’s Church in London last year, and have since gone on vacation together in St. Barts with Pippa Middleton and her husband James Matthews. But their first official appearances as a couple came this spring and summer when they attended Lady Gabriella Windsor’s wedding to Thomas Kingston at Windsor Castle, and when they stepped out to Wimbledon together looking very much in love in July.
She’s a financial analyst
Alizee went to school for accounting and finance in Brussels, and later travelled to London, where she finished a masters in investment and finance at Queen Mary, University of London.
She’s French – and she’s trilingual!
Alizee grew up in France, and has also spent time during her life in the UK, Belgium, Chile, Germany and Indonesia. During that time, she learned English and Spanish. She eventually settled down in the UK, where she’s lived and worked for a few years.
“Alizee spoke Spanish very well when we lived in Chile, although we always speak French as a family, but she did not realy speak English until she moved to London,” Gabriel told the Daily Mail.
Like James, she loves dogs
James is dog dad to several puppers, including Mabel, his golden retriever. Earlier this summer, he posted a picture of Alizee laughing hysterically while Mabel launched herself into a pool. James works with Pets As Therapy with his dog Ella, and has written about how his dogs have helped him with depression.
Earlier this year, the Evening Standard Insider asked James if Alizee liked dogs and if being fond of them was necessary to date him. “Fortunately she is… she loves dogs,” he said.
Her father loves James
Gabriel told the Daily Mail he was “very happy” his daughter and James were dating, and that he had been very impressed when he met Duchess Kate’s younger brother.
“James is a very charming man,” he told the publication. “I am very happy that Alizee is together with James. I know she is very happy. We keep our fingers crossed for them.”
“James and the Middleton family are very charming,” he continued. “We have a lot of admiration for the whole Middleton family – James, his sisters and his parents.”
What her name means
Gabriel told the Daily Mail his daughter was named after a sub-tropical trade wind known as the Alize.
“My daughter is named after my first love, which is wind-surfing, and the Alize wind that fills the sails,” he said.