THE 7th Earl of Erne and Baron of Fermanagh, John Crichton, is engaged.
The owner of Crom estate proposed to his intended, Miss Harriet Patterson, amidst the picturesque scenes of the boathouse at the ancestral home on Saturday evening.
Speaking to the Impartial Reporter, Lord Erne said he and his fiancée, who is originally from Scotland, “couldn’t be happier”.
And whilst plans for a wedding are still in the making for now, the happy couple are looking ahead to an engagement party, with close friends and the community of Fermanagh, to celebrate their special news.
“I have known Harriet for five years,” he explained, “We met in London through a mutual friend.
“She is from Scotland but works in the art world in London.”
Explaining that he and Miss. Patterson had been friends before becoming an item, Lord Erne said he had been thinking of proposing “for quite some time”.
“I made a journey privately to Scotland for the day to ask her father for her hand in marriage,” he said. “Somehow I managed to keep it a secret from her. I made some excuse to visit Scotland for the day, but the real reason I was going was to ask her father for permission to marry her.
“It was really important to me to do the right thing and ask him first. I think that meant a lot to him too.”
According to Lord Erne, after a beautiful day spent at Crom on Saturday, he got down on bended knee and proposed to Miss. Patterson.
“We were so lucky with the weather - it was just meant to be,” he said. “My grandmother always used to say: ‘If Crom wants you, the sun will shine’.
“My Jack Russell, Piglet, came along for the proposal too.”
His family are said to be “absolutely delighted” by the news.
“I told my four sisters and step father,” he said, “They are all very fond of her. So there was a wonderful reaction from my immediate family.”
Looking ahead to the future, Lord Erne says Miss. Patterson will play an integral role in running Crom Castle.
“She has a very important job in art world in London, and I am encouraging her to continue with that as well as supporting me at Crom,” he explained.
“I very much want her by my side to be involved. She has got to know the parish very well since she has been coming to church. And I know that they are deeply fond of her as well.
“She is going to be a big part of my life and I know that she adores Crom.
“I believe that in this modern day and age it is possible for her to have that dual life of continuing with her work in London too.
“Crom is incredibly important to me, it is a family tradition, and she will play a huge part in running the castle and particularly the business.
“I think it is fair to say that she is my best friend and we really couldn’t be happier.”
Lord Erne and Miss. Patterson have plans for an engagement party over the course of the coming months.
“We would like to share our news with close friends and the community in Fermanagh ,” he said.
“The last three days really have been a whirlwind, there is a lot to take in and think about.
“I would have so loved for my father to have seen this and I know my mother would be very happy too,” he added.