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A definitive timeline of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal love story

From top-secret dates to a high-profile wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have had one of the most intriguing royal relationships in modern history. Whether you're a lifelong fan of the British Monarchs or you religiously watched Meghan's character on Suits, Keep reading for a definitive timeline of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's awe-inspiring romance.

July 2016: Where it all started

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle first met in 2016 when a mutual friend set them up on a blind date. In a 2017 interview with the BBC, Markle offered insight into her prior knowledge of Prince Harry. "Because I'm from the States, you don't grow up with the same understanding of the royal family," she said. "I didn't know much about him, so the only thing that I had asked [our mutual friend] when she said that she wanted to set us up, was, 'Well, is he nice?' Cause if he wasn't kind, it just didn't seem like it would make sense."

October 2016: Rumors begin to fly

After seeing each other privately for months, the Sunday Express broke the news about the happy couple in late October. The publication reported that Prince Harry was “happier than he’s been for many years” while seeing Markle. Markle echoed this sentiment when she told The Vancouver Sun that "[her] cup runneth over and [she's] the luckiest girl in the world!" How cute.

November 2016: Things go public

In late 2016, Kensington Palace released a statement confirming Harry and Markle's relationship. The statement also slammed the "abuse and harassment" directed at Markle by the press. "Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is ''the price she has to pay' and that 'this is all part of the game'. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game — it is her life and his."

January 2017: Girl's day

At the beginning of 2017, Harry introduced Markle to his sister-in-law Kate Middleton, and his niece Charlotte. It is reported that  Markle "adored" Charlotte.

September 2017: First public appearance

Harry and Markle made their first outing as a couple at the annual Audi Polo Challenge in Ascot, England. Markle came to cheer for Harry, who was participating in the festivities. The pair were later spotted exchanging a hug and kiss in the tournament parking lot. 

November 2017: A royal engagement

Kensington Palace and Clarence House formally announced Harry and Markle's engagement in a statement issued on November 27.

The then-future Duke and Duchess of Sussex opened up about the royal proposal in an interview with the BBC. According to Markle,  "[We were] trying to roast a chicken and it just — just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee." Harry added that "She didn't even let me finish, she said 'can I say yes, can I say yes' and then were hugs. I had the ring in my finger and I was like 'can I — can I give you the ring?' She goes — 'oh yes the ring.'" 

May 2018: Tying the knot

The couple wed at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018. Markle wore a timeless Givenchy gown during the ceremony but changed into a Stella McCartney dress for the reception, at which they arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. The ceremony was attended by high-profile stars like Elton John and Oprah, and millions tuned in to watch the television broadcast of the wedding.

May 2019: It's a boy!

After announcing that they were expecting in late 2018, the newlyweds were overjoyed to welcome a healthy baby boy into their family on May 6, 2019. The child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, is seventh in line for the throne, as he is the great-grandson of the Queen and Prince Philip.

January 2020: Taking a break from Royal Roles

In January 2020, Harry and Meghan shared their decision to step back from their royal positions. 

"We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen," their statement read. "We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages."

At a private charity dinner, Harry expressed his feelings toward the change. "It brings me great sadness that it has come to this," he said. "I know I haven't always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option."

July 2020: Officially homeowners

Harry and Markle settled down in Santa Barbara, California with their son, Archie over the summer of 2020. They bought their home, which is roughly 14,500 square feet and in one of Santa Barbara's most exclusive neighborhoods, for $14.65 million. A spokesperson for the family said that "They have settled into the quiet privacy of their community since their arrival and hope that this will be respected for their neighbors, as well as for them as a family."

August 2020: Honoring Princess Diana

In August of 2020, Harry and Markle were spotted planting forget-me-nots in honor of the late Princess Diana on the anniversary of her death. They planted the flowers at the Preschool Learning Center in Los Angeles.

November 2020: "The Losses We Share"

Markle opened up about having a miscarriage over the summer in a New York Times essay titled "The Losses We Share." "I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second," she wrote. "Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband's hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we'd heal."

February 2021: Expecting their second child

In February, People Magazine reported that Harry and Markle are expecting their second child.  "We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child," according to a spokesperson for the couple.

February 2021: Officially independent

On February 19, Buckingham Palace issued a statement announcing that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were officially stepping down from their Royal positions. According to the statement, "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family,"  The statement concluded, "While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family." 
 

Images from @sussexroyal on Instagram.

What is your favorite part of Meghan and Harry's royal romance? Let us know by tagging us on social media @girlslifemag.

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by Claire Hutto | 3/3/2021
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