Prince and girlfriend 2012

Chelsy Davy, Meghan Markle and Cressida Bonas. Photo: Getty Images

Royal Inquiries is your comprehensive guide to everything you ever wanted to know about life under the crown.

Not to make this all about me, but we are all truly living in one of the most important times of my life. In less than two weeks, my lifelong ginger best friend Prince Harry will marry my Californian best friend Meghan Markle. I’m so happy and excited for me!

But were you aware that before Meghan came onto the scene, Prince Harry dated other women? It’s mind-blowing, I know. Luckily, as one of the world’s foremost royal experts (and the closest thing the prince has ever had to a sister) I obviously know each of Prince Harry’s mostly blonde exes quite well. Here, let me introduce you to all of them.

Prince Harry’s most significant ex-girlfriend:

Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy in 2008. Photo: CHRIS RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty Images

Name: Chelsy Davy
Hair color: Blonde
Length of relationship: 2004 to 2011, on and off.
What happened there? Chelsy Davy is not Prince Harry’s most recent ex, but she’s certainly his most significant ex. (She’s also my favorite one of his exes on Instagram: She’s from Zimbabwe, and often posts great and fun travel pics.) In all, Chelsy and Prince Harry dated for about seven years. By god, they were a great couple. If you Google Image search them right now (which I highly recommend), you’ll see pics of them laughing, being affectionate, and enjoying “nights out.” She was even his date to Kate Middleton and Prince William’s 2011 wedding! But Chelsy, a lawyer turned jewelry designer, didn’t like all the attention, so the relationship eventually ended.

His next most-serious relationship:

Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas in 2014. Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

Name: Cressida Bonas
Hair color: Blonde
Length of relationship: Two years: 2012 to 2014
What happened there? Cressida, a.k.a. Cressie, is Prince Harry’s next-most significant ex-girlfriend. They dated for two years after being introduced by Princess Eugenie. Like Chelsy before her, Cressie comes from a fancy family: Her mom is socialite Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon. And while dating Prince Harry, Cressie often worescrunchies, went to dance class, and focused on becoming an actress (like Meghan!) — but at the end of the day, she just wasn’t into the royal life, so they broke up.

He also dated her:

Florence Brudenell-Bruce. Photo: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Name: Florence Brudenell-Bruce
Hair color: Blonde
Length of relationship: A few months in 2011
What happened there? I’m going to be honest: Florence Brudenell-Bruce never stood a chance. She and Prince Harry briefly dated for a few months in between his relationships with Chelsy and Cressie. The timing simply means she was always destined to be his rebound (sorry if that’s rude). But Florence — who goes by Flee — fit the profile of being blonde and fancy. She was also a lingerie model, which is nice.

And yet another brief ex:

Mollie King. Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images

Name: Mollie King
Hair color: Blonde
Length of relationship: Some small amount of time in 2012
What happened there? Mollie King, a member of the pop group the Saturdays, briefly dated Prince Harry just before Cressie came along. Mollie and Prince Harry were even spotted dancing together at a club, can you imagine? But apparently, Mollie shot herself in the proverbial foot by being “too open” about the relationship (Prince Harry prefers his ladies be discreet). It’s been said that he cooled things off then, and Mollie later confirmed that they went out for a “drink.”

This is a maybe-ex:

Prince Harry and Ellie Goulding in 2014. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Name: Ellie Goulding
Hair color: Blonde
Length of relationship: Unknown!!!
What happened there? It’s really hurtful that Prince Harry never told me what happened between him and singer Ellie Goulding. All I know for sure is that they met at Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding reception. They then reportedly exchanged “flirty text messages” — and years later, everyone regards her as an ex. Ellie even once got awkward when a reporter brought up Prince Harry during a 2016 interview, which is very ex-like of her. The theory is that something happened between them — including “canoodling” — shortly before he met Meghan.

And finally, the last ex before Meghan:

Name: Sarah Ann Macklin
Hair color: Brown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Length of relationship: A few weeks in 2016
What happened with that?: Although it’s truly shocking that Prince Harry has a brunette among his roster of otherwise blonde exes, I suppose it makes sense that the last woman to come before Meghan also had dark hair. The prince secretly dated model Sarah Ann Macklin for a few weeks in the summer of 2016, and things fizzled after he met Meghan. The only important details I know about Sarah Ann are that she met Prince Harry at a party and that she used to date an underwear model named David Gandy.

I pray I will never have to add another woman to this list of Prince Harry exes, as his relationship with Meghan is the only thing that gives me hope that two rich, beautiful people can find love!!!!

A Detailed History of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Relationship

Prince Harry, Britain’s most eligible bachelor, is no longer quite so eligible following the announcement of his engagement to California-born actress and United Nations advocate Meghan Markle.

The newly-engaged pair, who revealed their engagement on Nov.27, dated for at least 15 months before Prince Harry popped the question. Despite having their relationship under heavy scrutiny by the international press, the couple has made a valiant attempt at keeping their romance as private as possible, appearing in public just a handful of times together since confirming their union.

Here’s what you need to know about the royal relationship on everyone’s lips:

How did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet?

Prince Harry, 33, and Los Angeles-born Markle, 36, met for the first time in London in July 2016, when they were introduced by a mutual friend, Markle confirmed in an interview with Vanity Fair in September.

How long have Prince Harry and Meghan Markle dated?

A close friend of Harry’s confirmed to PEOPLE in late October 2016 that the pair had been dating seriously for around two months, meaning as of Nov. 2017 the pair have been together for roughly 15 months.

On Nov. 8 2016, the Royal Kensington Palace released a public statement in which Markle was referred to as Harry’s girlfriend for the first time. The unprecedented statement condemned the “wave of abuse and harassment” Markle had been subjected to. “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” it said. “It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”

When have Prince Harry and Meghan Markle appeared together in public?

Prince Harry and Markle were photographed in public together for the first time in Dec. 2016, shopping for a Christmas tree at the Pines and Needles store in London. A few days later they were spotted while on a date to see the hit play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in London’s West End. The week before, Harry had made a 1,700-mile detour from his tour of the Caribbean to visit Markle at her Toronto home.

Markle attended her first public event with Harry in May this year, at the Coworth Park Polo Club in Ascot, England. Later that month, she attended part of the wedding of Kate Middleton’s sister, Pippa, to financier James Matthews. Harry was photographed driving the actress into the Middleton home later that day after picking her up from London after the ceremony. In March, Markle joined Prince Harry at a wedding in Jamaica for one of his close friends.

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The pair made their first public appearance together at the opening ceremony of the international Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, in September. They held hands at a wheelchair tennis event and spent time with Markle’s mother, Doria.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend wheelchair tennis on day 3 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 on September 25, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Samir Hussein/WireImage

What have they said about each other?

Markle commented on her relationship for the first time in September, in her interview with Vanity Fair in which she referred to Harry as her “boyfriend” numerous times. “We’re a couple,” she told the magazine. “We’re in love. 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 is that this is our time.”

She added: “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.”

Prince Harry has not commented about the relationship quite as candidly as Markle; however, he did tell competitors at the Invictus Games in September that his girlfriend was “loving” the event. “I asked him how his girlfriend was enjoying it and he said ‘she loves it, she’s loving the games,’ which is awesome,” former U.S. air force master sergeant Kyle Burnett told reporters. It was the first time the Prince publicly spoke about Markle following the strongly-worded statement the Kensington Palace issued in November.

The pair have hinted at their feelings towards each other in non-vocal ways. In February this year, Prince Harry was seen wearing his half of a matching His & Hers bracelet set on the cover of Town and Country magazine. The resemblance of the blue-beaded piece of jewelry to a bracelet Markle was pictured wearing on her Instagram page two months before was no coincidence.

What will Prince Harry and Markle’s wedding be like?

The event will take place in Spring 2018, but details about the nuptials remain under wraps. Prince Harry and Markle could opt for a large royal wedding like Prince William and Duchess Kate’s 2011 nuptials or choose a low-key ceremony somewhere outside of London, such as St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where Harry’s father, Prince Charles, had a service of blessing with his second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, in 2005.

As for the honeymoon, Antigua’s Prime Minister invited Harry to spend his honeymoon on the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda during a visit in Nov. 2016 (making the royal turn “bright red,” according to sources on the ground). Sadly, the islands were badly hit by this year’s hurricane season so the royal couple might have to look elsewhere.

Write to Kate Samuelson at [email protected]

What Does Meghan Markle Have That Prince Harry’s Other Girlfriends Didn’t?

While there is a great deal of speculation about whether Kate Middleton is jealous of Meghan Markle or if she’s driving a wedge between Harry and William, the one thing no one can deny is that she is the light of her husband’s life.

Long before Harry and Meghan started dating, Harry had multiple long-term relationships with women many felt were perfectly right for him. So, what does Meghan Markle have that Prince Harry’s other girlfriends didn’t?

What Meghan Markle had that Prince Harry’s other girlfriends didn’t

Meghan Duchess of Sussex | Tim Rooke/REX/

Meghan Markle is beautiful, she’s talented, and she is a warm person, but so were most of Harry’s previous girlfriends. One of the big things that really set her apart from the women he dated in the past was her humanitarian efforts.

Long before she met Harry, Markle was a firm believer in doing everything in her power to make the world a better place. When it comes to completely selfless humanitarian efforts, Harry’s previous girlfriends can’t touch Markle with a ten-foot pole.

Prior to meeting her prince, Markle was active with:

  • The Myna Mahila Foundation
  • World Vision
  • One Young World

Markle has always been passionate about gender equality and voting.

Her acting career was one of the things Markle gave up when she agreed to become Prince Harry’s wife, but instead of seeming to resent the sacrifice, she embraced how working as actor would provide her with even more opportunities to do good deeds and promote organizations that promote a healthier, happy, and more harmonious world.

The various charities Meghan Markle supports

While Markle has always wanted to change the world, and had made great strides in that direction, her new position as the Duchess of Sussex is allowing her to dive into humanitarian efforts in a way she was never able to before she fell in love with her handsome prince.

She is currently the patron to no less than four different organizations, which include:

  • The National Theatre
  • The Association of Commonwealth Universities
  • Mayhew
  • Smart Works

While those four organizations certainly benefit from Markle’s patronage, they are far from the only organizations she helps with and endorses. Markle appears to have a special place in her heart for programs that promote equality, feminism, and children. She is an active supporter of

  • Children’s HIV Association (CHIVA)
  • Crisis
  • Scotty’s Little Soldiers
  • Surfer’s Against Sewage
  • Myna Mahila Foundation
  • StreetGames
  • The Wilderness Foundation UK

Before marrying Prince Harry, Markle would speak about the causes she held dear, visit and help at various events, and even wrote well-received papers that outline the challenges people, particularly children and women, face in less privileged parts of the world.

There’s every reason to believe that as a duchess, she’ll become more important than ever to various humanitarian causes.

Prince Harry isn’t a slouch on the humanitarian front

While his wife’s good deeds seem to draw the most attention, it’s worth noting that Prince Harry has never been a slouch when it comes to good deeds and humanitarian work. Inspired by how hard his mother, Princess Diana, worked to improve the world, he has always strived to follow her example. His humanitarian efforts include:

  • Canine Partners
  • Children in Crisis
  • Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund
  • Dolen Cymru
  • Free the Children
  • Global Angels
  • HALO Trust
  • Help for Heroes
  • Joining Forces
  • National AIDS Trust
  • PeyBack Foundation
  • Prince’s Rainforests Project
  • SkillForce
  • The Countryside Foundation for Education
  • The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry
  • The Warrior Programme
  • Tusk Trust
  • UNICEF
  • Walking with The Wounded
  • WellChild

Given the pair’s interest in humanitarian work, it’s easy to understand why this couple works so well together! It will be exciting to see what humanitarian work they take on in the future.

Why are Prince Harry’s exes Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas at Princess Eugenie’s wedding?

Talk about friendly exes!

Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy arrived at the royal wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank on Friday, and a short while later, his other well-known ex Cressida Bonas turned up.

Davy, who dated Harry on and off for seven years, grinned as she arrived in a navy, three-quarter sleeve dress with lace details. She wore a matching navy fascinator, which she grasped onto as she walked into St. George’s Chapel on the windy day.

Bonas, meanwhile, was snapped laughing as she made her entrance in a Tory Burch patterned blue dress with black accents.

Davy also memorably donned a navy dress to the May wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan.

More:Royal wedding 2.0: Guests arrive for Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank in Windsor

Harry first met Davy, who was born in Zimbabwe during his gap year in 2004. The couple split after seven years, with Davy telling the Sunday Times in 2016 that she and Harry “will always be good friends” but that she struggled with the invasive media attention during their relationship.

“I found it tough. … It’s not something you get used to,” she said. “That part was quite hectic, it’s not like that any more.”

So what are Davy and Bonas doing at the wedding of Harry’s cousin? The women have long been close friends with Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.

According to the Daily Mail, Eugenie and Davy have remained close as they overlapped in the same social circles.

Royal fans were excited this weekend after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended their first event together, albeit sitting metres apart, at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

It’s a handy location for the 36-year-old actress; Meghan lives in Toronto, where she plays Rachel Zane in legal drama Suits.

It’s the first time the couple have attended a public event together, an occasion that’s been highly anticipated ever since rumours of the couple’s relationship emerged in October last year. The pair reportedly met while Prince Harry was in Canada promoting the Invictus Games, a competition for injured servicemen and women, which he founded.

Meghan Markle attends the Invictus Games

The relationship wasn’t confirmed, however, until Prince Harry issued an unprecedented statement through Kensington Palace in November 2016, attacking the invasion of his girlfriend’s privacy.

The statement said: ‘The past week has seen a line crossed. His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment.’

‘Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.’

MORE: 24 PHOTOS THAT SHOW WHAT THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE USED TO WEAR

The couple tried to keep their relationship low-key in the following months, with Meghan making trips to London, where she has reportedly met the Queen and Prince Charles, and the pair enjoying an African safari together.

In fact, palace insiders say the Prince is ‘besotted’ with Meghan and many people in the media expect an engagement announcement to be on the cards.

Meghan is not the first girlfriend with whom Prince Harry has gone public; he famously dated Chelsy Davy in an on-off relationship which lasted from 2004 to 2011.

Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy

The young couple began their relationship during Prince Harry’s gap year in Cape Town, after which Zimbabwe-born Chelsy came to England to study at the University of Leeds.

While she was successful academically and went on to embark on a career with prestigious law firm Allen & Overy after her degree, things were not always so stellar for the couple’s relationship – Chelsy has since told The Times that she found the invasion of her privacy terrifying: ‘It was so full-on: crazy and scary and uncomfortable. I found it very difficult when it was bad. I couldn’t cope.’

When she and Harry broke up in 2010, Chelsy returned to Zimbabwe to escape the pressure. ‘It was nuts,’ she says. ‘That’s also why I wanted to go back to Africa’

MORE: PIERS MORGAN TOLD OFF FOR ‘VULGAR’ COMMENTS OVER PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN MARKLE

While the couple were rumoured to have rekindled their romance when Chelsy attended the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, a couple of months later Harry said he was ‘100 per cent single’, although there seems to be no hard feelings – Chelsy, who has now quit law to launch her own jewellery business, told Sunday Times Style ‘I think we will always be good friends’.

In 2012, Prince Harry began a relationship with theatre student Cressida Bonas, after the couple were set up by her friends Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.

Cressida Bonas began dating Harry in 2012

The couple dated for two years, during which time they were photographed at rugby matches and charity events together.

However, the relationship reportedly ended because, like Chelsy, Cressida found the public scrutiny of dating the Prince hard to bear.

In an interview with BBC Radio following the romance, Cressida, who is now an actress, said she felt ‘pigeonholed’ because she was dating a royal, which she found ‘incredibly frustrating’.

As well as Prince Harry’s confirmed relationships, there have also been all the romance rumours you would expect around a young, famous, eligible bachelor.

Caroline Flack has written about her brush with royalty

For example, in 2009 the Prince was linked to TV presenter Caroline Flack. Although Prince Harry has never commented on the relationship, Caroline wrote about their bond in her book Storm In a C Cup, saying she found it ‘exciting’ when she met the Prince, and that she ‘really liked him’.

She continued: ‘However, once the story got out, that was it. We had to stop seeing each other.

‘I was no longer Caroline Flack, TV presenter, I was Caroline Flack, Prince Harry’s bit of rough.’

There were rumours of romance with Mollie King

He has also been linked to Saturdays singer Mollie King (she’s since said ‘we did go out for a drink’), musician Ellie Goulding, who performed at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, and model Florence Brudenell-Bruce, who also dated Jenson Button. None of the relationships were confirmed by the Prince.

Prince Harry alongside Ellie Goulding

While Harry has clearly had his share of romantic interests, everything points towards his relationship with Meghan being the real deal. It’s good news for the royal, who has previously spoken of his desire to find love.

In spring 2016, Prince Harry told the BBC he hadn’t had many opportunities to ‘get out there and meet people’.

‘At the moment, my focus is very much on work. But if someone falls into my life, then that is absolutely fantastic,’ Harry said. ‘If or when I do find a girlfriend, I will do my utmost to ensure we get to the point where we are actually comfortable with each other before the massive invasion into her privacy.’

In fact, Harry spoke these words while promoting the Invictus Games 2016 – around the same time he is said to have met Meghan. And it looks like he got exactly what he wanted, as Meghan said in a recent Vanity Fair interview ‘We’re two people who are really happy and in love.’

We can’t wait to see the couple out and about together again!

(Images: Getty)

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The Harry and Meghan story

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The pair were first pictured together at the 2017 Invictus Games after months avoiding the cameras

Meghan Markle was the American actress, with a passion for humanitarian and feminist causes. Harry was the rebel prince turned soldier, considered the world’s most eligible bachelor.

In the summer of 2016, the two were brought together on a blind date by a mutual friend in London.

“Beautiful” Meghan “just tripped and fell into my life”, Harry later told the press, and he knew immediately she was “the one”.

After just two dates, the new couple went on holiday together to Botswana, camping out under the stars.

They fell in love “so incredibly quickly”, proof the “stars were aligned”, said Harry.

To the British press, their romance was catnip. Here was a golden couple who were able to draw vast crowds, speak the language of younger generations and sprinkle royal stardust on any cause.

For months the couple avoided the cameras and it wasn’t until the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto that the the two were first photographed holding hands in public, smiling and laughing.

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But there had been signs early on that the fairytale was some way off a “happily ever after”.

When Harry first confirmed the relationship in late 2016, it came with a stark attack on the media, accusing them of subjecting his girlfriend to “a wave of abuse and harassment”.

He spoke of nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers, attempts by reporters and photographers to get into Meghan’s home and the “bombardment” of nearly every friend and loved one in her life.

It was a problem that was only going to get worse.

Despite that – or perhaps because of that – the two grew ever closer and in September 2017, Meghan declared to Vanity Fair magazine: “Personally, I love a great love story.”

The two of them had been enjoying a special time together and were really happy and in love, she said.

The media was now on high alert for the sound of royal wedding bells – and they didn’t have to wait long.

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionPrince Harry and Meghan Markle posed for the cameras in the garden at Kensington Palace

In November 2017, Harry got down on one knee to propose to Meghan as they made roast chicken together at their home in Kensington Palace.

Harry had designed the ring, made with two diamonds which had belonged to his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. At the centre was a diamond from Botswana.

The couple shared their story in a candid interview with the BBC, and appearing brimming with positivity for the future.

They revealed Meghan would give up acting to focus on causes close to her heart, working alongside her husband-to-be.

“I know that she will be unbelievably good at the job part of it,” said Harry.

Things began to shift as preparations got under way for a May 2018 wedding in Windsor.

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionHighlights from the wedding ceremony

It quickly became clear that this was a royal couple who wanted to do things differently – their way.

The wedding, which much of the world tuned in to watch, had all the traditions – a stunning dress, cheeky bridesmaids and heartfelt vows.

But, as our royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said at the time, the service with its gospel choir, young black cellist and breathtaking address from Bishop Curry, marked it out as a modern, diverse wedding for a modern, diverse couple, which seemed to point to a different future for the Royal Family.

Married life brought with it new titles – the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – and a new home at Windsor in Frogmore Cottage.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption During a trip to Merseyside, the duchess told well-wishers she was six months pregnant and did not know if it was a boy or a girl

In October of that year, the couple embarked on their first royal tour, visiting Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, over 16 days. It was there that they shared the news that they were expecting their first baby.

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, seventh in line to throne and the Queen’s eighth great-grandchild, was born on 6 May 2019.

To Harry, who was by Meghan’s side at the birth, little Archie was “absolutely to die for”.

Throughout Meghan’s pregnancy, the continual redrawing of battlelines had gone on between the press and the couple.

This was to be no repeat of the Duchess of Cambridge’s birth with the circus of journalists and photographers lying in wait outside hospital doors for days on end.

The press had been told there would be no information about the birth, beyond that it was happening.

Such scrutiny and pressure proved to be a struggle for the newly-wed Meghan during her pregnancy and in early motherhood, she later admitted in an ITV documentary filmed during their tour of southern Africa in September.

“Not many people have asked if I’m OK,” she said, looking lost. She spoke of her vulnerability during pregnancy and the challenges of having a new-born – “it’s a lot”.

Asked if she could cope, she said she had long told Harry it was not enough to just survive – “that’s not the point of life – you have got to thrive”.

Image copyright Chris Allerton/SussexRoyal Image caption Archie was christened in a private ceremony, from which the press and the public were excluded

There were further signs that the couple were not happy, when the prince opened up about his mental health.

He said it was under constant management and he lived with the pressures of avoiding a repeat of the past that took his mother, the Princess of Wales, from him.

She died in a car crash in Paris when Harry was just 12. The driver had been drinking and the car was being followed by paparazzi on motorbikes.

“Everything that she went through, and what happened to her, is incredibly important every single day, and that is not me being paranoid,” he said.

“Part of this job is putting on a brave face but, for me and my wife, there is a lot of stuff that hurts, especially when the majority of it is untrue,” he added.

It has also been suggested the scrutiny of Meghan has been greater because of her African-American heritage.

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she wanted to hug Meghan for the British media’s “racist” treatment of her, while Harry has highlighted how “unconscious bias” can lead to racist behaviour even if people do not consider themselves to be racist.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Their struggles were shared in an interview while touring southern Africa

The couple’s frustration and anger with some sections of the press has gone from being a matter between the palace and editors into the full glare of the public spotlight.

Meghan is suing the Mail on Sunday over a claim that it unlawfully published one of her private letters and Harry filed proceedings at the High Court against the owners of the Sun, the defunct News of the World, and the Daily Mirror, in relation to alleged phone-hacking.

As such a dramatic year came to a close, the royal couple took an extended break from royal duties over Christmas, taking Archie to the Canadian province of British Columbia.

It gave them time to mull over their next move and, within days of the start of a new decade, they dropped their bombshell announcement.

Neither Harry’s father, Prince Charles, nor his older brother, Prince William, with whom Harry has said he has “good days” and “bad days”, were consulted.

Harry and Meghan were, they told their Instagram followers, planning to leave their royal duties – and the royal purse – behind.

They hope their next chapter, spent in North America as well as the UK, will see the two of them, together with baby Archie, make their own path to the future.

Less than a year after their royal wedding, Meghan and Harry have welcomed their first child! Baby boy Sussex arrived on May 6, 2019, weighing 7 pounds and 3 ounces. In honor of their expanding family, we take a the top-secret relationship that lead to one of the highest profile weddings of the decade—and a new chapter in the history of the Windsor family.

How They Met

Harry and Markle first made each other’s acquaintance on a blind date in early July, 2016. “We were introduced actually by a mutual friend,” Harry revealed during the couple’s first sit-down interview with the BBC following their engagement announcement. (E! News claims Harry’s friend Violet von Westenholz is the one who introduced them, but others have speculated it was fashion designer Mischa Nonoo.)

The only thing that I asked was is he nice? Cause if he wasn’t kind, it just didn’t seem like it would make sense.

Despite Prince Harry’s global fame, Markle says she didn’t have a lot of preconceived notions about who he was before they met. “Because I’m from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family,” she explained during the BBC interview. “I didn’t know much about him, so the only thing that I had asked 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.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during the televised interview following the announcement of their engagement. YouTube

The two hit it off immediately. “We met for a drink,” said Markle, “and then I think very quickly into that we said, ‘Well what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again.'”

At the photo call in the Kensington Palace gardens following their engagement announcement, Harry was asked when he knew Markle was the one. He quickly replied, “the very first time we met.”

Things moved quickly from there. The couple went on a second date and Prince Harry then invited Markle to accompany him on a trip to Africa just three or four weeks later. “I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars,” he said, describing the whirlwind romance. “Then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to get to know each other.”

The News Gets Out

After four months of quiet dating, the news finally leaked on October 31, 2016 that Prince Harry was dating an American actress. A source told the Sunday Express that Harry is “happier than he’s been for many years” and is “besotted” with the Markle. On the same day, Markle posted a sweet photo on her Instagram of two bananas spooning, possibly hinting at the new love in her life.

Of this period, Markle later said: “We had a good five, six months almost with just privacy, which was amazing.”

Meghan Meets the Family

My cup runneth over and I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

In November 2016, the Vancouver Sun published an interview with Markle promoting her collection for retailer Reitmans. In the interview, she discussed her collaboration with Reitmans, her charity work with World Vision, and her plans for the holidays. Though she avoided any mention of Harry, she happily said, “So, my cup runneth over and I’m the luckiest girl in the world!”

Around the same time, People reported that Harry had already introduced the actress to his father, Prince Charles.

Harry Makes a Public Statement in Defense of His Girlfriend

Harry confirmed his relationship with Markle in a formal statement November 8, 2016. In the statement, Harry also pleads the press and trolls on social media to stop the “wave of abuse and harassment” that had been directed at his girlfriend.

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According to Harry, he has been involved with “nightly legal battles” to stop the media from publishing defamatory stories about Markle and their relationship.

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.

During the BBC interview, Harry revealed that both he and Markle were taken aback by the media scrutiny. “I think both of us were totally surprised by the reaction.”

Many assumed that Markle would be prepared for the onslaught of attention because she had been in the public eye as an actress, but little could have prepared her for what was to come. “There was a misconception that because I have worked in the entertainment industry that this would be something I would be familiar with,” she said. “But I’ve never been part of tabloid culture. I’ve never been in pop culture to that degree and and lived a relatively quiet life.”

Prince Harry with school children in Antigua in November, 2016. Getty Images

Her answer, she told the BBC, was to tune out the noise. “I think we were just hit so hard at the beginning with a lot of mistruths that I made the choice to not read anything, positive or negative. It just didn’t make sense and instead we focused all of our energies just on nurturing our relationship.”

On November 18, she shared a Mahatma Gandhi quote on her Instagram, which many people interpreted as a response to Harry’s statement on their relationship.

Even Prince William Is Forced to Weigh In

On November 27, 2016, Prince William released a statement to clear up rumors that he was unhappy with his brother’s decision to open up about his relationship. A portion of the statement reads, “The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him.”

Harry and Meghan Continue to Grow Closer

In early December 2016, Markle is photographed in Toronto wearing a gold necklace featuring the letters “M” and “H.” Later that month, she and Harry are spotted together picking out a 6-foot Christmas tree, and in London’s West End holding hands on their way to see the Tony award-winning show The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. According to The Sun, the couple walk through the Soho area while admiring the Christmas lights throughout Piccadilly Circus.

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The Queen Approves

According to Us Weekly, the Queen is “fully supportive” and another source revealed that the Queen is “delighted to see Harry in a loving relationship.”

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Markle spoke of meeting the Queen during their BBC interview. “It’s incredible to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother. She’s an incredible woman.”

After spending Christmas with their own families, the couple spends New Year’s together in London.

Meghan’s Family Is Heard From

Meghan’s half-brother Thomas Markle Jr. discloses to the Daily Mail that their father has been aware of Meghan’s relationship since it began. In the interview, Thomas says his father is, “pretty happy about Harry and he’s extremely proud of her.”

Meghan is very close to both her mother and father and attended her mom’s graduation from the University of Southern California, after she received her Masters in Social Work in 2016.

At their engagement announcement, Markle revealed that her father has spoken with Harry several times, but he “hasn’t been able to meet him just yet.”

A Romantic Trip to Norway

After spending New Year’s in London, the couple embarks on a romantic trip to Norway. This is the first time that the often incognito couple vacation together and according to Us Weekly, Harry planned the romantic getaway so that the two could to catch the Northern Lights. The couple stay with Harry’s close friend, Inge Solheim, at his luxury property in Tromsø, Norway. A source tells the sun The Sun that Harry “put a lot of thought into it and wanted to make it as romantic and special as possible.”

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Meghan Meets Kate and Charlotte

According to Us Weekly, in early 2017 Harry introduced his girlfriend to his sister-in-law Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte at apartment 1A at Kensington Palace. According to the magazine, Kate and Markle, “got on fabulously.”

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Maintaining a Long Distance Relationship

Though Markle filmed her USA Network series Suits in Toronto, Canada, she and Harry are spotted in early February holding hands while leaving West London’s Soho House. According to The Sun, on-lookers at the member’s only club say that the couple tried to remain low key by sitting in a cozy corner of the restaurant. A friend close to the couple also reportedly tells The Sun that a spring engagement is imminent: “I know that sounds a bit crazily soon, but he’s head over heels and they can’t bear to be apart.”

After a two-month break from social media, Markle shared an Instagram post on February 12 that said, “#NoBadEnergy.”

In March, the couple traveled together to Montego Bay, Jamaica to attend the wedding of Harry’s childhood friend Tom “Skippy” Inskip. Markle is Harry’s plus one to the wedding as the prince serves as one of the ceremony’s 14 ushers. A source later revealed to People, that the two were incredibly “joyful” during the wedding festivities, and seemed very much in love.

In April, Harry flew from England to spend Easter weekend with Markle in Toronto. Photos are released by E! Online and reveal the young prince wearing a baseball cap and toting a large duffle bag while entering Markle’s building.

Meghan’s Life Begins to Change

In April, Markle announced that she would shut down her lifestyle website, The Tig, which she had founded three years earlier. In a statement shared on both the Tig website and her Instagram, Markle said:

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. Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being the change you wish to see in the world.”

Though it is rumored that Markle shut down her passion project as a sacrifice to her royal relationship, a source told People that the real reason was her busy schedule, balancing charity work with shooting Suits.

The Couple Steps Out

Markle and Harry made their first public appearance as a couple (and shared a kiss) at the annual Audi Polo Challenge in Ascot, England. As Harry participated in the games, Markle, wearing a chic navy dress and white blazer, cheered on her prince from the sidelines. The couple was later snapped engaging in some PDA off-site in the polo parking lot.

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Love is in the Air: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ❤️💏💑
Maybe the Next Royal Wedding pic.twitter.com/YbOc3Eeyh6

— Royal Ladies (@vaninaswchindt) May 8, 2017

Markle was back in London in May for Pippa Middleton’s wedding, arriving days ahead of the festivities. According to E! Online, the actress landed at London’s Heathrow Airport and was immediately escorted to Kensington Palace. While Markle did not attend the ceremony, she did reportedly go to the reception.

A Big Birthday Trip

The couple traveled to Africa in August 2017—a year after their first trip to the continent—for a romantic getaway in celebration of Markle’s 36th birthday. Over the course of their three-week vacation, they visited Botswana and finished their travels at the stunning Victoria Falls.

Meghan Opens Up

Markle spoke openly about her relationship for the first time in the October 2017 issue of Vanity Fair. “We’re a couple. We’re in love. 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 is that this is our time,” she says in the cover story. “This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.”

That month, Markle also accompanied Prince Harry to an official royal appearance for the first time at the Invictus Games opening ceremony. Over the course of the games, cameras catch the pair holding hands at the the Wheelchair Tennis semi-final and spending time with Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland. The couple even share a sweet smooch at the closing ceremony.

At this point, Harry has met Markle’s mother several times. “Her mum’s amazing,” Harry said during the BBC interview.

Engaged!

After months of speculation, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally announced their engagement on November 27, 2017. The couple is “thrilled and happy” to be engaged, and marked the news with a celebratory photoshoot and a formal interview. Read all about the news here.

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Their engagement

In the months leading up to the wedding, Meghan has been introduced not only to the British public, but also to life as a working royal, as she attends official events alongside her fiancé Harry, all the while planning the wedding of the year.

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The wedding

Tens of millions of people from around the world tuned in to see the couple wed at Windsor Castle on May 19. They had high-profile guests like Oprah, David and Victoria Beckham, and of course the royal family, but all eyes were on the bride, who wore a stunning Givenchy gown for the ceremony and a chic halter Stella McCartney dress for the reception at the Frogmore House.

In their official portraits, released May 21, two days after the wedding, the couple looked more in love than ever.

Meghan and Harry’s official wedding portrait. Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace via AP)

Harry and Meghan start a family!

On October 15, Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were expecting their first child. The announcement came as the couple landed in Australia for their first joint royal tour.

The couple landing in Sydney, Australia. NewspixGetty Images

On May 6, 2019, Baby Sussex arrived! The baby boy is now seventh in line for the throne and he is the Queen and Prince Philip’s eighth great grandchild. Harry’s father, Prince Charles and his stepmother, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall said that they are “delighted” with the royal baby’s arrival, as are the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Here’s one of the first photos of the family of three. WPA PoolGetty Images

Baby boy Sussex is Prince Charles’s fourth grandchild. As any royal fan knows, Prince Harry’s brother William has three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and little Prince Louis. It is the first grandchild for Meghan Markle’s mom, Doria Ragland, who has also issued a sweet statement upon the baby’s birth, revealing that she is “overjoyed by the arrival of her first grandchild.”

Eileen Reslen I’m Eileen, the digital news reporter at Hearst Digital Media.