We can’t believe it’s been over two years since Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan Markle, 39, exchanged their vows and became husband and wife. In that time, so much has happened for this couple, who have become parents, made the decision to step back from their duties as senior royals, suffered both a great personal loss and an exalted joy. But it took time for Meghan and Harry to write their fairy tale, and they still have more chapters ahead.
As one of the most influential couples on the global stage, Harry and Meghan have shown that they are taking their own, unique path. But their relationship started out as one of the most exciting stories to follow in the modern monarchy. Take a walk down memory lane with us to relieve the couple’s romantic story.
First Public DateRomance rumors started in summer 2016 about Harry finding love with an American actress. People put two-and-two together after seeing Suits star Meghan walking around London, despite the fact that production for her hit show was in Toronto, CA. After laying low for several months and trying to keep their blossoming relationship under wraps, Kensington Palace confirmed their romance on November 8. They even said that they’d been dating for months!
In September 2017, Meghan accompanied Harry to the Invictus Games, the young royal’s philanthropy for veterans he founded in 2014. Upon reflecting on meeting Harry for the first time, Meghan shared that the most important quality she was looking for was kindness. Meghan confessed that she “didn’t know much about him – I just asked, ‘Is he nice?’ Because if he wasn’t kind it didn’t seem like it would make sense,” she told BBC News following their engagement announcement.
A Royal EngagementJust two months after their appearance at the Invictus Games, Meghan and Harry sent hearts aflutter when they, along with Kensington Palace, confirmed that they were engaged! “His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle,” the statement read. “The wedding will take place in Spring 2018.” In official photos captured on the November 2017 occasion, Meghan and Harry positively beamed. Meghan wore a stunning ring that included two diamonds from Harry’s mother, Princess Diana‘s, own personal collection. It was a beautiful way to pay tribute to her.
Harry needed his grandmother the Queen’s permission to marry, per the Royal Marriages Act 1772. It was amended in 2013 to include only up to the sixth in line to the throne, and Harry was fifth at the time. On March 15, 2018, Buckingham Palace released the monarch’s approval with the statement, “My Lords, I declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle, which Consent I am causing to be signified under the Great Seal and to be entered in the Books of the Privy Council.”
Meghan’s First Royal ChristmasFollowing their engagement, Prince Harry and Meghan stepped right into their royal duties and began making appearances with the rest of the royal family as a couple. In December 2017, Meghan spent her first Christmas with the royals on their Sandringham Estate. The entire family, including Prince Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife Duchess Catherine, were all in attendance. Fans even got to see Meghan courtesy to Queen Elizabeth II.
Following the holiday, Harry couldn’t help but gush about his bride-to-be and how well she adjusted to royal protocols. “It was fantastic,” the prince shared on the December 27 edition of BBC Radio 4 Today. “She really enjoyed it and the family loved having her there. There’s always that family part of Christmas, and there’s always that work element as well. Together we had an amazing time. We had great fun staying with my brother and sister-in-law and running around with the kids. Christmas was fantastic.”
A Royal Wedding Like No OtherMonths after celebrating the holidays, it was time for the big day. The United Kingdom was brimming with anticipation over the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan, and on May 19, the couple exchanged their ‘I dos’ in front of millions. The ceremony was a beautiful blend of royal tradition and Meghan’s African American roots. Upon leaving the ceremony and greeting thousands who came to wish them well, the Prince and Duchess shared a kiss on the steps of St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor.
Meghan & Prince Harry Continue Royal DutiesIt wasn’t long after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed that they announced they were expecting their first child. The news broke in October 2018, just five months after exchanging their vows. But while the couple was excited to begin this new journey, they continued on with their royal duties, attending events and making public appearances. They were often photographed, and fans had the opportunity to see Meghan’s stunning maternity wear, much like her gorgeous ensemble pictured above!
Meghan & Prince Harry Become ParentsAlmost exactly one year after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married, the couple officially became parents! Meghan and Prince Harry welcomed son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor on May 6, 2019. Days later, the happy little family attended a photocall, where Archie got his first brush with the cameras. The sweet baby boy even met his great grandmother and grandfather, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, along with grandfather, Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles.
Meghan and Harry positively gushed about their son. “It’s pretty amazing. I have the two best guys in the world, so I’m really happy,” Meghan shared at the photocall. “He’s just been a dream. It’s been a special couple of days.” Harry even added that becoming a father was “the most amazing experience [he] could ever possibly imagine.”
Meghan & Prince Harry’s Royal Duties ContinueMere months after welcoming son Archie, Meghan and Prince Harry returned to royal duties by taking a tour of South Africa in late September 2019. The couple even brought along their son, making the trip their first as a family. Four-month-old Archie even got to meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the family’s trip to Cape Town!
Meghan and Harry shared a sweet photo of Archie and the Nobel Peace Prize winner, captioning the image “Arch meets Archie! The Duke and Duchess were honored to introduce their son Archie, to Archbishop, Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Thandeka.” It was a very special moment for the family.
Stepping Back From Royal DutiesAlthough Meghan and Prince Harry’s life seemed idyllic, the truth couldn’t have been further from assumption. Away from the cameras, Meghan and Harry struggled with prying media attention and often racist attacks on Meghan from tabloid outlets. As such, the couple announced in January 2020 that they would be taking a step back as senior members of the royal family.
The couple subsequently moved to North America, closer to Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland. It was not a decision Prince Harry took lightly, but it was a choice he made know that “there really was no other option,” he said at an event in mid-January. On March 9, 2020, Meghan and Prince Harry made their final appearance as senior members of the royal family by attending Commonwealth Services at Westminster Abbey, pictured above.
The Queen released an updated statement in Feb. 2021. “Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service,” the statement from Buckingham Palace read. “The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family. While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family,” it also said.
Meghan and Harry responded with a statement of their own on Feb. 20, 2021. “As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to organizations they have represented, regardless of official role,” they said. “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
A Personal LossMonths after leaving the United Kingdom and settling in California, Meghan and Harry experienced a loss that so many have dealt with, but too few discuss openly. On November 25, 2020, an op-ed penned by Meghan detailed the miscarriage of her and Harry’s second child that she suffered in July. Meghan recalled changing her son, Archie’s, diaper, when she “dropped to the floor” and knew that something was not right.
After courageously detailing how she and Prince Harry reckoned with the “unbearable grief,” Meghan used her words as a way to de-stigmatize what she, and so many others, experience. “Some have bravely shared their stories; they have opened the door, knowing that when one person speaks truth, it gives license for all of us to do the same,” Meghan’s essay read. “We have learned that when people ask how any of us are doing, and when they really listen to the answer, with an open heart and mind, the load of grief often becomes lighter — for all of us. In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing.”
On Valentine’s Day 2021, Meghan and Harry shared the greatest of news: “We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother,” the couple said in a statement to HollywoodLife. Months after Meghan penned her Op-Ed about her heartbreaking miscarriage, the couple were “overjoyed” to announce that they were “expecting their second child.” The statement came with a stunning black-and-white photo, taken by Misan Harriman, of Megan lounging with Harry, her head in his lap and her hands cradling her baby bump.
A Powerful Decision
A year after Meghan and Harry’s groundbreaking decision to step down, the couple “have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family,” Buckingham Palace said in a Feb. 19 statement.
“Following conversations with The Duke [Harry], The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family, it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service. The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family. While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family.”
“As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world,” a spokesperson for Harry and Megan said to the BBC, “and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role. We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
Couple’s Interview With Oprah
After weeks of media hype, CBS aired an exclusive two-hour sit-down interview between Harry, Meghan, and Oprah Winfrey on March 7, a tell-all chat that delivered on the scandal — and then-some. During the interview, Harry and Meghan dropped some major bombshells about struggles as working members of the British royal family. Meghan claimed that while she was pregnant with her son Archie, there were “conversations about how dark his skin might be when born.” When Oprah pressed Meghan, who expressed those concerns, the Duchess declined, saying it “would be very damaging to them.” Oprah, on the following Monday’s CBS This Morning, revealed that Harry said it was neither Queen Elizabeth II nor Prince Phillip.
During the interview, the couple revealed that they secretly wed days before their public 2018 royal wedding. Meghan also refuted the rumor that she made her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, cry over an issue regarding Princess Charlotte’s flower-girl dress. Meghan said it was the other way around. “”I don’t say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding, and she was upset about something. But she owned it, and she apologized, and she brought me flowers and a note apologizing.” Meghan said that Kate “made me cry” and “really hurt my feelings.”
Meghan also revealed that she contemplated suicide due to the stress and pressures of royal life. “I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. But I knew that if I didn’t say it, then I would do it,” she said. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. That was a clear and real and frightening and constant thought.”
During the conversation, Meghan spoke about her falling-out with her father, Thomas Markle, after he collaborated with the British tabloids. She and Harry also said that Queen Elizabeth II has received some “really bad” advice from senior advisers within the “The Firm,” or the business-side of the British Royal family.
“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time,” Meghan said in a promo clip ahead of the interview’s airing, “we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The fi=Frm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” adding, “And if that comes with risk of losing things — I mean, there’s a lot that’s been lost already.”
Harry in a previous teaser hinted that the couple’s move from the U.K. to California was in part due to his late mother Princess Diana’s tragic fate. “By biggest concern was history repeating itself,” Harry said, alluding to his mother and her shocking death. “I’m really relieved and happy to be sitting here, talking to you with my wife by my side because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been for her going through this process by herself all these years ago,” he added, referring to Diana’s infamous 1995 Panorama interview with Martin Bashir where she openly talked about the pain of estranged husband Prince Charles’ alleged cheating throughout their marriage.
The interview wasn’t all drama and scandal. Meghan, who was pregnant with her second child when giving the interview, revealed that she and Prince Harry were going to have a girl.
As Harry and Meghan remain in California, their ardent admirers are so looking forward to seeing how the couple uses their platform. They’ve settled into their home in Santa Barbara and are continuing their philanthropic work, along with new ventures. Prince Harry and Meghan are truly a royal couple unlike any other, and we cannot wait to see what their journey brings them next.