ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s relationship was revealed in 2016, their romance has captivated the world. But for Harry and Meghan, their journey from full-time working members of the British royal family to Montecito-based media moguls and philanthropists has been a highly personal affair of the heart. Seven years later, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are the proud parents of Archie and lilibet, and cofounders of the Archewell Foundation and Archewell Productions. The timeline of their relationship charts their path from senior royals to California dreamers who are committed to their shared vision and each other. “Personally, I love a great love story,” Meghan told vanity fair in 2017.
I’m from we.
July 2016: Harry and Meghan’s First Date
In July 2016, Prince Harry and Meghan, an actor on the popular TV show suits, are set up on a blind date, likely by their mutual friend Misha Nonoo, who believes they both have “huge hearts.” Harry and Meghan meet at London’s exclusive Soho House, and he is immediately smitten with her beauty and intelligence. “I’m going to have to up my game here,” he thought to himself, according to a post-engagement interview. “Sit down and make sure I got good chat!” For her part, an amazed Meghan asked a friend the next day, “Do I sound crazy when I say this could have legs?”
Late Summer 2016: The Trip to Africa
In late summer 2016, Harry whisks Meghan off on a surprise trip to Botswana. The trip cements their relationship and compatibility. “It’s this love of adventure and sharing these exciting experiences that brought them so close together in the first place,” a close friend of the couple’s told the authors of Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family. “The fact that they’re both happy just throwing on a backpack and going out to explore…I honestly think these experiences will never stop for them.”
November 2016: Prince Harry’s Plea
In November 2016, media speculation over Harry and Meghan forces Kensington Palace to confirm their relationship. In the same statement, a furious Harry also accuses the press of harassing Meghan.
October 2017: Meghan Appears on the Cover of vanity fair
Meghan appears on the October 2017 cover of vanity fair and discusses her relationship with Harry for the first time, reportedly angering palace officials. “We’re a couple. We’re in love,” she says in the article. “I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand that this is our time. This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours.”
November 2017: The Engagement Announcement
Harry and Meghan announce their engagement on November 27, 2017. In their first joint interview, Meghan gushes about Harry’s proposal at Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace. “It was just so sweet and natural and very romantic,” she recalls. “He got on one knee. As a matter of fact, I could barely let [him] finish proposing. I was like, ‘Can I say yes now?’”
May 2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Wed
On May 19, 2018, the newly named Duke and Duchess of Sussex wed at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The star-studded ceremony is attended by everyone from Elton John and George and Amal Clooney to Harry’s ex-girlfriends Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas. The British royal family is out in full force, while Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, is the only member of her family in attendance.
May 2019: The Birth of Archie
On May 6, 2019, the Duchess of Sussex gives birth to the couple’s first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. “I have the two best guys in the world,” she tells reporters, “so I’m really happy.”
October 2019: The Cracks Appear
In October 2019, the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey is released, leading to extensive speculation that all is not well between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the rest of the British royal family. When journalist Tom Bradby asks how Meghan is handling her new life, she honestly answers: “Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, so that was made really challenging. And then when you have a newborn, you know.… So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed. And also, thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m okay. But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”
January 2020: Megxit
In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shock the world when they announce they intend “to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family and work to become financially independent.” a month later, queen elizabeth releases a statement emphasizing that “Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much-loved members of the family.”