“Personally, I love a good love story,” Meghan Markle told Vanity Fair back in 2017. And Vogue does, too—which is why we’ve compiled a definitive timeline of Markle’s romance with the oh-so-charming Prince Harry.
From their first meeting to their idyllic African getaway to the royal wedding itself, here are the biggest moments of the couple’s fairy-tale romance.
July 2016 The couple is set up through a friend. “I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her,” Harry said of their blind date. “I was like, I’m really going to have to up my game here.” A few weeks later, the couple jets off to Botswana, where their relationship really blossomed.
October 2016 The Sunday Express reports that Harry and Markle are dating. “The romance is in its early stages, but it’s no exaggeration to say he’s besotted with her,” a source tells the British tabloid. Harry and Markle stay mum, but she posts a cryptic Instagram of two bananas spooning with the caption, “Sleep tight xx”—which many take as a romantic gesture.
November 2016 In a statement via Kensington Palace, the royal confirms his relationship with the Suits actress. But it’s not a joyous one: Harry slams the press and public’s harassment of his new girlfriend. “Some of this has been very public—the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and Web article comments,” it read. “Some of it has been hidden from the public—the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriends; the bombardment of nearly every friend, coworker, and loved one in her life.”
A few weeks later, Prince William issues a statement supporting Harry’s. “The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him,” it read.
December 2016 We’ve got visual confirmation, people! The Sun publishes photos of the newly public couple holding hands in London. It’s reported the two went to see a West End play and maybe even bought a Christmas tree. How romantic!
February 2017 Another date night across the pond. Paparazzi catch Markle and Harry leaving Soho House.
March 2017 Harry and Markle go to Jamaica for the wedding of Harry’s friend Tom “Skipp” Inskip. They reportedly stay at the island’s glamorous Round Hill Hotel and Villas.
April 2017 Markle shuts down her lifestyle blog, The Tig. “After close to three beautiful years on this adventure with you, it’s time to say goodbye to The Tig,” she writes in her final post. “What began as a passion project (my little engine that could) evolved into an amazing community of inspiration, support, fun, and frivolity. You’ve made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy.”
May 2017 After months of “will she or won’t she” speculation, Markle attends Pippa Middleton’s wedding reception as Harry’s date (she wasn’t invited to the ceremony—but lest you perceive this as a slight, it’s a common English custom for plus ones or peripheral guests).
Reports also emerge that Prince Harry asked—and got—Queen Elizabeth’s permission to propose to Markle.
August 2017 The pair jets off to Africa for a romantic and reclusive getaway. The engagement rumor mill reaches a fever pitch—so much so that British bookmakers stop taking bets on whether or not they’re going to get engaged, because it’s no longer a question of if but when.
Reportedly, their visit is capped off by a trip to Victoria Falls.
September 2017 Markle graces the cover of Vanity Fair’s October issue. “We’re a couple. We’re in love,” she tells the magazine. “I’m sure there will be a time when we have to come forward and present ourselves, and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.”
Markle and Harry make their first official appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto. The initial spotting is at the opening ceremony, where they sit several rows apart.
Then comes the grand and PDA-filled rollout: The two sit front row at a wheelchair tennis match, laughing and embracing throughout. Later, they hold hands in front of the cameras.
November 2017 It's all happening! Markle quits Suits, flies to London and moves into Kensington Palace with Prince Harry. After a week of intense speculation, the couple finally announces their engagement on November 27.
December 2017 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend their first official royal event together in Nottingham. They met with crowds and visited a contemporary art center where they honored World Aids Day. "Prince Harry has been to Nottingham many times before and is delighted to be introducing the city to Ms. Markle," Kensington Palace wrote on Twitter. Weeks later, they set a wedding date: May 19, 2018.
March 2018 Details about the wedding begin to emerge. Like, wedding cake flavor (lemon elderflower), invitations (by London stationer Barnard & Westwood), and guests (the couple invite 2,640 members of the public to the Windsor Castle grounds). Queen Elizabeth also formally gives her blessing for their marriage—a requirement of the Royal Marriages Act 1772.
May 2018 The wedding is upon us. On the 19th of the month, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed at Windsor Castle while the world watched. The bride wore Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, and walked down the first half of the aisle alone—a powerful move after her father, Thomas Markle, publicly pulled out of the affair mere days before. 600 guests, including Serena Williams and George and Amal Clooney, sit in the pews as the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex recite their vows. Afterward, they take a triumphant carriage ride through the town streets.
Come evening, it's time for the evening reception at Frogmore House. The Duchess changes into a Stella McCartney evening gown and wears an aquamarine ring from the collection of Princess Diana. The affair is private, however, months later, their Christmas Card shows the two watching fireworks on the grounds.
June 2018 Harry and Meghan jet off on their honeymoon—the location of which is still unknown.
August 2018 The couple wraps up a jet-setting summer, which includes a reported trip to George and Amal Clooney's Lake Como Villa, as well as frequent jaunts to their rented home in the Cotswolds.
October 2018 Right before starting a whirlwind tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Fiji, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce some big news: they are expecting their first child, due in the spring.
November 2018 Kensington Palace announces that the two will move into Frogmore Cottage, a house on the grounds of Windsor Castle. “Windsor is a very special place for their royal highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate,” a statement read.
March 2019 After months of reports, Buckingham Palace makes it official: after operating under the same organizational umbrella as Prince William and Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will branch out on their own. "The Queen has agreed to the creation of a new Household for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, following their marriage in May last year. The Household, which will be created with the support of The Queen and The Prince of Wales, will be established in the spring." What will this new chapter bring for the Duke and Duchess? Only time will tell.