Harry & Meghan’s Relationship Timeline Is Bittersweet
From their secret first date to their post-royal life.
At first, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle didn’t exactly seem like star-crossed lovers, but over time, they’ve more than qualified for the title. Although the couple’s relationship was pretty smooth-sailing for the first two years, things took a turn when the duo started growing their family. Harsh criticism from the British tabloids (plus, an apparent lack of protection from the monarchy) prompted the couple to leave royal life behind in January 2020. Per Marie Claire, Harry pinned the firm’s “lack of support and lack of understanding” as main reasons behind their royal exit.
This was a controversial decision they’ve had to explain more than once — and it’s one of the focuses of their Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, which came out in two parts on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. At this point, it’s clear that Harry and Meghan’s relationship timeline has been anything but straightforward.
Though the couple has kept most of their love story private, there are a few hallmark moments they’ve shared with the public, from their engagement announcement to their wedding. And with the docuseries, the couple gave more insight into their private life. As Meghan told The Cut on Aug. 29, “The piece of my life I haven’t been able to share, that people haven’t been able to see, is our love story.” Safe to say, that’s been remedied. Here’s everything we know about Harry and Meghan’s most iconic relationship moments.
July 2016: They Were Introduced By A Mutual Friend
Meghan and Harry first met in July 2016 when they were introduced by a mutual friend. Per E!, in a post-engagement interview, Harry vowed to protect that friend’s privacy, explaining, “We were introduced by a secret friend, who we will protect her privacy." However, the outlet reportedly uncovered their matchmaker’s identity, claiming that Violet von Westenholz (one of Harry’s longtime friends) set up the pair.
In Harry & Meghan, the couple revealed that Harry spotted Meghan on a mutual friend’s Instagram, prompting him to ask to be introduced. Meghan agreed, and they had their first date when she was in London for Wimbledon.
October 2016: Meghan Soft-Launched Their Relationship On Instagram
Things really started heating up when Meghan posted a selfie on her Instagram with the caption, “#TBT to my solo trip to @sfhmembers #treatyourself #UK #sohohouse #farmhouse.” She may have claimed it was a "solo trip," but people weren't really buying it. Why? Because the blue bracelet she wore in the picture was also worn by Harry. Coincidence? Unlikely.
November 8, 2016: Harry Confirmed Their Relationship
After the matching bracelets, the UK press started writing — a lot — about Harry and Meghan's potential relationship. Unfortunately, not all of the press surrounding her was positive. On Nov. 8, 2016, in an unprecedented official memo from Kensington Palace, Harry confirmed his relationship with Meghan, while also calling out the press and the public for their sexist and racist treatment of her.
March 17, 2017: Rumors Started About Meghan Quitting Suits To Be With Harry
In March of that year, rumors and reports started swirling around about Meghan potentially leaving her show, Suits, after seven seasons to focus on her relationship with Harry, according to E!. As Meghan revealed in the docuseries, paparazzi made it incredibly difficult to work on the show in Toronto — they even had to cage in the trailers to prevent photographers from intruding on set.
May 6, 2017: Meghan Attended Harry’s Polo Match
The two had a semi-public outing when Meghan was spotted cheering Harry on as he played in the Audi Polo Challenge at Coworth Park Polo Club in Ascot, England, PopSugar reported. The two were even spotted kissing — or at least hugging — goodbye by her car.
May 20, 2017: Harry Brought Meghan As His Date To Pippa Middleton's Wedding
Although Meghan didn't attend the actual church ceremony, sources claimed Harry did bring her as his date to Pippa Middleton's wedding reception later that day, per People.
September 5, 2017: Meghan Spoke Publicly About Their Relationship
For the first time since meeting Prince Harry, Meghan spoke publicly about her relationship with the prince in an interview with Vanity Fair. At the time, she said, "I think it’s really simple. We're two people who are really happy and in love."
September 25, 2017: They Made Their First Public Appearance
Meghan and Harry made their public debut at the wheelchair tennis match of the Invictus Games on Sept. 25, 2017, according to People.
October 2017: Meghan Reportedly Met Queen Elizabeth
Shortly after the Invictus Games, Harry reportedly introduced Meghan to his grandma, AKA Queen Elizabeth. NBD. The Daily Mail reported the two met with Queen Elizabeth for tea.
November 27, 2017: Harry & Meghan Announced Their Engagement
On Nov. 27, 2017, Harry and Meghan publicly announced their engagement in an official statement from Clarence House, and they posed for photos and gave a brief interview to BBC News about their happy news. Per their statement, the two actually got engaged earlier in November, but waited to make it public.
May 19, 2018: Harry & Meghan Got Married
Harry and Meghan tied the knot on May 19, 2018, and 11.5 million people tuned in to watch their nuptials. However, according to Meghan, the duo actually wed secretly a few days prior. “Three days before our wedding, we got married. No one knows that,” she told Oprah, per Us Weekly. “We called the Archbishop and we just said, look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world. But we want our union between us, so the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury.” (Per the Archbishop, the legal wedding was on May 19 — not three days earlier.)
In the docuseries, the couple shared more details of their wedding, explaining that their first dance was to “Land of 1000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett.
October 15, 2018: They Announced Meghan’s First Pregnancy
Harry and Meghan released an official statement to let the world know they were expecting. "Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019,” it read. “Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public.”
May 6, 2019: They Welcomed Their Son, Archie
Meghan gave birth to the couple’s son, Archie, on May 6, 2019. "We are pleased to announce that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their firstborn child in the early morning on May 6th, 2019,” they said in official statement posted to the @SussexRoyal Instagram. “Their Royal Highnesses’ son weighs 7lbs. 3oz. The Duchess and baby are both healthy and well, and the couple thank members of the public for their shared excitement and support during this very special time in their lives. More details will be shared in the forthcoming days."
January 2020: Harry & Meghan Announced They Were Leaving The Royal Family
In Jan. 2020, Harry and Meghan announced their decision to take a step back from the royal family. “It brings me great sadness that it has come to this. The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges,” Harry said at the time. “And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”
They split their time between Canada and the U.K. before finishing up their royal duties in March 2020. At that point, the couple settled in Montecito, California.
February 14, 2021: They Revealed They Were Expecting Again
Meghan and Harry shared a happy announcement on Valentine’s Day 2021. “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," the couple's spokesperson announced. The timing was a sweet ode to Princess Diana, who also announced she was expecting Harry on Valentine’s Day in 1984.
March 7, 2021: Their Interview With Oprah Winfrey Aired
The couple sat down for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. During their conversation, Harry and Meghan explained how institutional racism and the British tabloids affected their decision to walk away. “We have in tandem the conversation of ‘[Archie] won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title’ and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” Meghan explained, per The New York Times.
According to Harry, the “toxic” environment created by the British press was also to blame. “The U.K. is not bigoted. The U.K. press is bigoted, specifically the tabloids. If the source of information is inherently corrupt or racist or biased, then that filters out to the rest of society,” he said, according to The Washington Post.
June 4, 2021: They Welcomed Their Daughter, Lilibet
"It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcome their daughter, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world," the Sussexes’ press secretary shared. "Lili was born on Friday, June 4 at 11:40 a.m. in the trusted care of the doctors and staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA."
The couple also explained their name choice, adding that Lilibet was “named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet.”
September 2022: They Returned To The U.K. For The Queen’s Funeral
Following the Queen’s death in September, Harry and Meghan made the trip to London to honor her life. And in October, Meghan reflected on the grieving process to Variety, “I feel deep gratitude to have been able to spend time with her and get to know her. It’s been a complicated time, but my husband, ever the optimist, said, ‘Now she’s reunited with her husband.’”
December 2022: Harry & Meghan Docuseries Was Released On Netflix
Harry & Meghan, a Netflix docuseries about the couple, was released in two parts on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. They shared a lot of their romance in the doc. At one point, Harry explained, “This is a great love story, and the craziest thing is that I think this love story is just getting started. She sacrificed everything she ever knew, the freedom that she had, to join me in my world. And then pretty soon after that, I ended up sacrificing everything that I know to join her in her world.”
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