When Harry met Meghan: it's all a bit of a real-life fairytale romance, isn't it? Ever since the prince and former Suits actress and lifestyle blogger got together, the couple have become a source of fascination (and inspiration) for millions around. Many have watched as they've defied royal traditions and welcomed their son Archie into the world, before stepping down from their senior royal roles entirely.
In such a short space of time (they met in July 2016), Meghan and Harry have already packed a lot in. Here, we look back at their relationship and chart their highs, lows and everything in between.
Meghan and Harry are introduced to one another by a mutual friend (rumoured to be Markus Anderson, who heads up membership at the swanky Soho House members club, which Harry is thought to be a part of). Although they've never confirmed exactly who it is that set them up, it's reported in Meghan and Harry: Finding Freedom (an unauthorised biography about the pair) that they had their first date in Soho's Dean Street Townhouse – one of Soho House's London spots. When they announced their engagement later down the line, Harry also said, "We were introduced actually by a mutual friend."
Rumours that Meghan and Harry are dating hit the headlines and the couple are spotted out together for the first time, on holiday and eating in London. Said photos were published in the tabloids and as public interest and commentary amped up (some of it being downright unpleasant towards Meghan), Kensington Palace released a statement about their new relationship. Part of it read: "His girlfriend Meghan has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment... Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle's safety... It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm."
Kensington Palace has issued a statement this morning about the harassment currently being experienced by Meghan Markle and her family. pic.twitter.com/EuFZ4fmUIj
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) November 8, 2016
25 September 2017
Meghan and Harry are officially pictured together at the Invictus Games in Ontario, a cause close to the Prince's heart which honours former servicemen and women through sport. Meghan's BFF, Jessica Mulroney, and mum, Doria Ragland, were also in attendance at the event's closing ceremony on 30 September.
For the first time, Meghan goes on record while speaking to Vanity Fair and discusses the ups and downs that accompany dating a royal. "It has its challenges, and it comes in waves—some days it can feel more challenging than others," she said. "Right out of the gate it was surprising the way things changed. But I still have this support system all around me, and, of course, my boyfriend’s support."
27 November 2017
Their engagement is announced! The joyous news was broken by Kensington Palace on social media, with a statement reading: "His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle are engaged to be married. The Prince of Wales made this announcement this morning: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle."
It continued on to say that the happy couple would be wed in the spring of 2018 and that Harry sought permission from Meghan's parents before popping the question earlier that month – n'aww! "The wedding will take place in Spring 2018. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course. His Royal Highness and Ms. Markle became engaged in London earlier this month. Prince Harry has also sought and received the blessing of Ms. Markle's parents. The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace."
An official photoshoot is also released:
1 December 2017
The newly engaged couple make their first royal-approved appearance together when they drop into a Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair in Nottingham. Crowds of people line the streets to catch a glimpse of them and offer up their congratulations.
25 December 2017
Meghan joins Harry and other key royals (including the Queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton) when she attends a church service with them on Christmas Day, held at Her Majesty's Sandringham Estate. It's reported that Meghan fitted in with the crew right away and nailed a joke gift for Prince William. The foursome seem unstoppable.
The nation (and let's be honest, the rest of the world too) gears up for the royal wedding, set to take place on the 19th. There's a lot of discussion around whether or not Meghan's father, Thomas Markle, who she's publicly had a difficult relationship with in recent years, will walk her down the aisle. In the end, that honour goes to Harry's father, Prince Charles.
19 May 2018
Ms Markle offically becomes Mrs Prince Harry (and the Duchess of Sussex)! The wedding ceremony is attended by a shedload of A-listers (including the Beckhams, George and Amal Clooney, Serena Williams and more) and is tuned into virtually by an estimated 11.5 million. Meghan wore a dress by Givenchy for the vows and later switched it up with a new hair do and Stella McCartney gown. They then move to Kensington Palace, right by Prince William and Kate Middleton.
15 October 2018
This was a very busy month for the two - as not only did they announce that they're expecting a child together, they embarked on a tour of Australasia together. The happy baby news was revealed in a statement on social media. It read: "Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019. Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public."
10 December 2018
Meghan surprises everyone with an appearance at the British Fashion Awards. While on stage, the Duchess cradled her growing bump and weirdly received a lot of flack from the tabloids for doing so afterwards.
They move into Frogmore Cottage, the ten bedroom venue (formerly five separate houses) that also played host to their wedding reception, ahead of the birth of their first child. Members of the public are later a bit *miffed* to hear that £2.4 million of taxpayer's money was put towards the renovations. This money is later paid back in full by the couple.
6 May 2019
Here's here! Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor makes his way into the world at 5:26AM the Portland Hospital. Meghan broke royal tradition by opting out of a post-birth photoshoot on the steps outside the building (fair enough really) and again when she and Harry decided their son would not be using the offered title from the Queen, Earl of Dumbarton. They posed for an official family portrait two days after Archie was born in St George's Hall, Windsor Castle, instead.
Summer of 2019
In a nutshell: Archie is christened but his godparents remain a secret and Meghan and Harry are criticised for flying in a private jet to go on holiday in France. Shortly after at a climate change conference, the Prince explains it was due to "safety" concerns but that usually the couple would fly commercial and that they take measures to offset their carbon footprint. Meghan Markle guest edits Vogue and the issue goes on to be one of the fastest-selling of all time.
23 September to 2 October 2019
The couple head back on tour, this time around Africa (a country close to their hearts – very early on in their relationship the Duke and Duchess spent time together in Botswana). It's during this series of engagements that they are followed by a documentary crew, who capture intimate moments for an ITV programme Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.
20 October 2019
The documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey airs, featuring *that* now well-known moment when Meghan confesses that she's not "okay" and looks visibly emotional. It becomes obvious that living such a public life and being regularly criticised is taking a toll on her mental health. Speculation surrounding whether or not the couple will look to break away from the monarchy ramps up and shortly after the programme airs, an official statement is issued and Harry says he can no longer be a "silent witness" to Meghan's "private suffering".
The same statement confirmed that Meghan had filed a claim against Associated Newspapers "over the intrusive and unlawful publication of a private letter" that she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, around the time of their wedding preparations.
Meghan and Harry fly out to Canada for Christmas, missing out on lunch and celebrations with the rest of the family at Buckingham Palace – thus breaking another royal tradition. Weeks later, they'll announce that they want out from their senior working roles within the family entirely.
8 January 2020
A post to their official Instagram account, @SussexRoyal, explains that after months of deliberation the couple will be "stepping back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family" and becoming "financially independent". The statement also says that the couple, along with their baby son Archie, will be splitting their time between both the UK and an undisclosed location in North America.
9 March 2020
After telling the world they were transitioning out of royal life, Meghan and Harry still had a few final duties to carry out – one of which was attending a ceremony for Commonwealth Day in London. Here, they were photographed with Prince William and Kate Middleton in an official capacity for the final time. They completed their last royal engagement on 9 March, flew back to LA and signed off from their social media accounts on 30 March. Sob.
After renting a home owned by actor Tyler Perry for a few months, Meghan and Harry sent a very clear signal that they've no plans to return to the UK when they purchased their first permanent home together in Montecito, a hillside community an hour or so outside of LA. We caught a glimpse of the interior for the first time in August too, when Meghan hopped on a video call as part of a virtual summit.
11 August 2020
Causing quite the stir, an unauthorised book about Meghan and Harry's relationship, Finding Freedom, is published. Authors Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie write about everything from the table names the couple used at their wedding, to their first date. They say that while Meghan and Harry did not contribute to the book directly, they had great access to sources close to them.
2 September 2020
News breaks that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have signed a mega deal with Netfix, thus enabling them to pay back the cost of renovations to Frogmore Cottage and cement themselves as being financially independent from the monarchy and UK taxpayers. Chief content officer at Netflix, Ted Sarandos says of the deal, "We’re incredibly proud they have chosen Netflix as their creative home and are excited about telling stories with them that can help build resilience and increase understanding for audiences everywhere."
25 November 2020
Meghan writes a brave essay for the New York Times, titled 'The Losses We Share,' revealing that she suffered a miscarriage earlier on in the year. Baby loss awareness charity Tommy's praise her for helping to start conversations around a taboo subject.
29 December 2020
After a difficult year, Meghan and Harry drop the first episode of their Archewell Audio podcast on Spotify. At the end of the episode, their one-year-old son Archie can be heard wishing listeners a "Happy New Year!". Cuteness overload much?
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