Charles Bronson, one of Britain's most notorious prisoners, has reportedly proposed to his actress girlfriend after she visited him in prison.

The convicted armed robber, who has been locked up for 41 years, had planned to ask Coronation Street and Emmerdale actress Paula Williamson to marry him on Valentine's Day by having a ring delivered to her house.

But instead, Bronson got down on one knee at HMP Wakefield to propose to 36-year-old Williamson, who told The Sun the couple were "so in love" and a "perfect match".

"I've had relationships with both men and women in the past but none of them come close to my love for Charlie," she told the newspaper.

"He's so eccentric, but so am I. It's a perfect match. I know he has a public image of being a violent prisoner, but in reality he is so different.

"He has done a lot of artwork for me and I really treasure each and every one. He can never change the things he has done in the past, but he is working so hard to put that behind him."

Bronson, born Michael Peterson, has become one of Britain's most notorious prisoners since the bare-knuckle boxer was sentenced for seven years in 1974 for armed robbery.

He has spent a total of 41 years behind bars, most of them in solitary confinement, after his violent attacks on fellow inmates and a habit for taking people hostage landed him with an ever-increasing sentence.

In 2014, twice-married Bronson changed his surname to Salvador in honour of his favourite artist Salvador Dali.

Williamson, who wore a red dress and a necklace spelling out Salvador during her visit to his prison on Monday 13 February, said the pair had been in a relationship for five months.

"There are obviously difficulties that him being in prison cause our relationship, but we feel so strongly about each other we're determined to make it work," she said.

The actress, from Stoke-on-Trent, appeared in Coronation Street between 2008 and 2012 as an unnamed nurse, and on Emmerdale as a stripper. She also featured as a doctor in Hollyoaks in 2012.

Bronson – whose life was made into a 2009 film starring Tom Hardy as the prisoner – was said by The Sun to be hopeful he could be released one day.

paula williamson
Paula Williamson has appeared in several British soaps, including Coronation Street and Emmerdale YouTube