Bindi Irwin has announced her engagement to American beau Chandler Powell as she celebrated her 21st birthday.
The young conservationist was greeted with flowers and cards from fans as she rang in her milestone birthday with her mum Terri, brother Robert, and boyfriend, at Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland on Wednesday.
Just hours after the celebration Bindi and boyfriend Powell, 22, announced to the world they were engaged to be married, sharing a photo of her stunning diamond ring.
‘On my birthday I said ‘yes’ and ‘forever’ to the love of my life,’ Bindi said in a tweet.
She continued: ‘Chandler, close to six years ago I fell in love with you and every day since has been a whirlwind of adventure and true happiness. I’m so looking forward to spending our forever together as your wife.
‘Here’s to a lifetime of friendship, purpose and unconditional love. – Now let’s get married already!’
But despite the joyous occasion, she admitted it was a ‘bittersweet’ day celebrating without her father, who tragically died nearly 13 years ago.
‘I do really wish that dad was here to be able to celebrate with us as a family,’ Bindi told the Sunshine Coast Daily.
‘I think in some ways he is and his spirit lives on in everything that we do, and I always feel closest to dad here at Australia Zoo.’
The former Dancing with the Stars contestant, dressed in her iconic khaki-coloured shirt and blue jeans, gushed about all the ‘love’ and kindness she received, including a ‘stunning’ painted portrait of her dad from a fan.
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July 24th 2019 ❤️ On my birthday I said ‘yes’ and ‘forever’ to the love of my life. Chandler, close to 6 years ago I fell in love with you and every day since has been a whirlwind of adventure and true happiness. I’m so looking forwarding to spending our forever together as your wife. Here’s to a lifetime of friendship, purpose and unconditional love. — Now let’s get married already!
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The most beautiful surprise. Chandler and Robert worked together to capture the moment I said ‘YES’. We were in the gardens of Australia Zoo and it was beyond perfect. I never even knew Robert was there photographing and I’ll always be grateful to have these special memories of the most amazing day of my life. ❤️
‘People have been so kind and sharing so much love and that means so much to me,’ Bindi added.
Her mum Terri also revealed the touching gift family friend Russell Crowe gave her – a $25,000 Rolex watch which the Hollywood actor believed her dad ‘would have wanted’ her to have.
In last November’s issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly, Bindi said she felt ‘lucky’ to have found ‘the one.’
She met Chandler, a former professional wake boarder, in 2013 while giving him a tour of Australia Zoo.
The Florida-born athlete now works alongside Bindi, her mother Terri, and her brother Robert at the zoo.
Hundreds of fans have since taken to social media to congratulate the young star, saying her father would be proud of her.
‘Happy 21st Bindi! Thank you for sharing the day with us. Your dad would be brimming with pride to see you today as was so well put into words by Wes and your mum,’ one person tweeted.
‘This is beautiful. Steve is so proud,’ said another.
‘Congratulations. Your father would be proud,’ a third fan tweeted.
Steve Irwin, famously known as the ‘Crocodile Hunter’, tragically died from fatal stingray barb to the heart while filming footage for his daughter’s show in Batt Reef in 2006. He was 44 years old.
Irwin rose to international fame due to his quintessential Aussie accent, his lively presenting style on television, and his iconic catchphrase, ‘Crikey!’
In an emotional interview days before her birthday, Bindi revealed she still has moments where she breaks down over the loss of her dad.
‘Some days you feel the grief more than others. What gets to me are those moments when I’d love him to be here to share what we’re doing,’ she told Stellar magazine.
‘It could be when my brother is receiving an accolade for his photography, or it might be at the end of the day when we’re having dinner and laughing. I’ll think: ‘I wish Dad was here for this.’ But he’s just not there.’
Bindi added that recently, just seeing footage of her charismatic father doing what he did best left her in tears.
‘There’s old footage of dad with the crocodiles and, even though I’ve seen the video maybe 50 times, that day I started crying,’ she told the magazine.
Bindi captured the hearts of the Australian public, and all over the world, after she delivered a heartwarming eulogy for her father at his funeral when she was just eight years old.
The now 21-year-old has since grown up to follow in her dad’s footsteps, landing her own nature documentary series, Bindi the Jungle Girl at the age of nine.
She also hosted Bindi’s Bootcamp, a wildlife-themed game show in 2012.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Karen Ruiz