If you don’t follow the ins and outs of the royal family closely, or at least didn’t until Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, you may have felt a bit taken aback by the couple’s engagement announcement. It surely left many people scratching their heads and wondering, “Wait, isn’t that the actress from Suits?”


The short answer to that is, yes. Before dating Prince Harry, Markle was best known for playing the role of Rachel Zane on Suits. You may have also seen her in a few other minor roles on television throughout the years. Remember the FedEx girl who chats up Jason Sudeikis in Horrible Bosses? That was Markle.

So, you might be wondering when exactly the American actress had the time to meet, date, and marry Prince Harry. According to Vogue, they first met thanks to an introduction by a mutual friend back in 2016. Even though the two were probably aware of each other prior to the blind date, it was still a blind date. And that must have been a lot of pressure for both of them. “I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her,” Harry said during their infamous interview with BBC. “I was like, I’m really going to have to up my game here.”


Initially Markle Knew Very Little About The Royal Family

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She had likely heard about Prince Harry before (he is a royal, after all!), but she didn’t ask her friend a ton of questions about him before their date.

…But is he nice?

In fact, in their BBC interview, Markle admitted to only wanting to know if Prince Harry was “nice.” That’s the only thing that seemed to matter. She wasn’t particularly concerned about his status as a member of the royal family. She said this was probably due to her upbringing in the United States. “You don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family,” she said.

Prince Harry Says He Knew She Was The One Immediately

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They say that when you know, you know, and it seems that – blind date or not – Prince Harry was smitten by Markle right out the gate.

Sparks flew during their first date in July 2016, and they quickly made plans to see each other again.

When Prince Harry was asked about Markle during their engagement photo shoot, he may have been aiming for a romantic response, but he simply said that he knew Markle was special “the very first time” they met. He even designed Markle’s ring, which included some of Princess Diana’s stones.

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But let’s not get ahead of ourselves — at this point in the timeline, they weren’t even confirmed to be dating!


The Pair Was Official By November 2016

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Things moved fast between these two, and within five months of their first date the world knew about their blossoming relationship.

Sadly, this was because some pretty harsh judgements were being made about them.

Markle is biracial, which unfortunately a lot of people were expressing issues with. In November 2016, Kensington Palace had to issue a formal statement calling for the harassment of Markle to end.

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

The statement continued, “It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”


In December 2016, They Were Spotted Buying A Christmas Tree Together

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Buying a Christmas tree together is no small task, and gave the world a pretty clear signal that things were getting serious between the two.

What better way to celebrate the holidays than with each other?

E! News reported that they were spotted at the Pines and Needles store, located in London, and ended up hauling away a Nordmann Fir tree. Getting your first tree together is pretty special, especially since their relationship was still long distance at this point. If you’re ever wondering if long distance can work, you might want to look at these two for a little inspiration.


Long Distance Didn’t Keep Them From Showing Their Affection

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In fact, Meghan wore a nice little reminder of their love around her neck while they were apart, which of course fans of the couple couldn’t help but adore.

What better way to make a statement than with jewelry?

Markle was spotted wearing a sweet Maya Brenner necklace that had “M” and “H” on it, presumably for Meghan and Harry. She was photographed wearing it while at a flower shop in Canada. At this point, she was still filming Suits and he was in England, meaning that the necklace likely helped to serve as a connection between them while they were living in different countries.


In January 2017, Markle Reportedly Met Kate Middleton

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Meeting the family can be a big step in any new relationship, but meeting the members of the royal family? That’s a whole different ball game.

After dating for less than a year, Prince Harry was already introducing her to family members.

According to The Sun, the meeting happened at Kensington Palace. At this time, she was also introduced to Princess Charlotte. As one of the most entertaining of Middleton and Prince William’s children, as well as the only girl, it must have been quite an honor to be in her presence.


In February 2017, The Pair Revisited Their First-Date Spot

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What’s more romantic than enjoying a meal at the very same restaurant where you first set eyes on your hubby?

They dined at the Soho House, which is reportedly where their first date took place.

“They were sat in one of the cozier areas of the first floor, and Harry had two protection officers present, but you wouldn’t really notice them if you weren’t paying close attention,” one diner said to Us Weekly.

At least people gave them some privacy.

Even members of the royal family need to get away from the spotlight on occasion. And one could imagine that it would be a pretty difficult thing to manage, especially since the tabloids were already paying extra attention to the new couple.


In March 2017, They Traveled to Jamaica Together

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One of the benefits of having a celebrity fall for a royal is that they’re sure to always be out and about.

Surely there’s always a good reason for an island getaway.

They reportedly attended the wedding of Prince Harry’s friend Tom “Skipp” Inskip — but Us Weekly reported that there was a bit more to the trip than that. By this point, the two were still dating long distance, but Markle had a lot of stuff moved into Prince Harry’s flat in Kensington Palace. That means things were only getting more serious.


They Were Spotted Kissing At The Audi Polo Challenge

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A little pre-match motivation?

The two showed a little PDA in the parking lot.

The games took place in England, and Prince Harry was involved in playing. It must have been nice knowing that he had such a supportive girlfriend in the audience the whole time. The blog From Berkshire to Buckingham commented that not only is this a big royal event, but Middleton once went to support Prince William as well in the courting days.


In May 2017, Markle Attended Pippa Middleton’s Wedding Reception

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Attending a royal family wedding is a tough invite to get and is definitely not something to be overlooked.

Pippa, Kate Middleton’s sister, got married to James Matthews.

While she wasn’t at the ceremony, she celebrated the occasion at Middleton’s parents’ estate in Bucklebury, according to Us Weekly. The magazine also writes that this was the first time that Markle was publicly spotted with both Middleton and Prince William. The good news is that as an actress, she knew how to keep it cool in the spotlight.


The Couple Celebrated Markle’s 36th Birthday In Africa

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Remember what I said about traveling a lot?

Apparently jet-setting comes with the territory of dating a royal.

Even if it seems like Markle and Prince Harry’s courtship was relatively short, they planned a lot of fun trips and events together. Their vacation lasted almost a month, and surely it was a birthday that Markle would remember forever.

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And people couldn’t help but assume that wedding bells were on the horizon.

Around this stage of their relationship, people assumed that an engagement would be right around the corner.


In October 2017, Markle Spoke To Vanity Fair About The Relationship

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“We’re a couple…we’re in love.”

She was the cover girl and had no trouble admitting that she was in love.

“We’re a couple,” she stated. “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. 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 Had To Make A Few Lifestyle Changes

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For one, she shut down her lifestyle site, The Tig.

No blogging? That was just the beginning.

Vogue reports that this is around the same time she quit working on Suits. Since it’s hard (and perhaps frowned upon) to be a professional actor and serve as a member of the royal family, Markle set her acting career aside in the name of love. At least she’ll always have the memories.

Finally, Prince Harry proposed.

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Finally, the stars aligned and the couple decided it was time to tie the knot.

And he did it when she least expected.

The proposal happened over a chicken dinner at home on a cozy night, but the world finally heard about it on November 27, 2017. They filmed their BBC interview shortly after, during which they talked about the whole thing.

“Can I say yes now?”

“I could barely let you finish proposing,” Markle said to Prince Harry. “I said, ‘Can I say yes now?’” If this isn’t romance befitting of a royal, then what is?

The Couple Wed On May 19, 2018

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The big ceremony happened at Windsor Castle, and the entire world watched on television.

It was an occasion that no one wanted to miss.

A few celebrities, including Oprah, Serena Williams, James Corden, and Elton John, even managed to score seats inside the castle. That’s got to be one tough guest list to get onto.

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Markle changed things up a bit at the ceremony.

Markle also made history by doing certain wedding traditions her way. For one, she wasn’t walked down the aisle by her father. Even their flavor of cake wasn’t the same as royal weddings past.

In October 2018, they announced that they were expecting.

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At least they had a couple of months to just enjoy being husband and wife.

These two like moving fast, don’t they?

A statement was released by the Palace, which only said that the baby was expected to arrive in the spring of 2019. Nobody knew details about the sex, the possible name, or the exact timeline, making spring quite an exciting season for fans of the royal family. While Markle was often seen cradling her bump, she kept the pregnancy relatively private.


Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor Was Born On May 6, 2019

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Markle and Prince Harry are trying their best to give baby Archie a private life, which has to be pretty hard considering their social standing.

They had a healthy baby boy and the world was instantly obsessed.

The baby, who was born at Portland Hospital in Westminster, is seventh in the line of succession for the throne. That might be why they chose not to give him a title. But he’s still very important to the family — and quite lucky to be able to call Meghan Markle and Prince Harry mom and dad.


And, guess what – the royals have a whole slew of special rules for royal children to follow…

…from where they’re born to what they’re named. Read more here!



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