Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Celebrate 5th Wedding Anniversary: A Complete Timeline of Their Romance

ET's taking a look back at how the couple's romance began.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's romance is straight out of a Hollywood fairy tale!

The royal duo has become one of the most talked-about couples ever since rumors began circulating that they were dating. Fast forward to now, and they are happily married parents of two, celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary. While their romance was a whirlwind, the two have proven that they are meant to be!

As they quietly ring in five years of marriage amid turmoil surrounding their recent encounter with the paparazzi, let's look back at Harry and Meghan's romance for the ages.

July 2016: They Meet

The couple met in early July after they were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend believed to Violet von Westenholz, according to Katie Nicholl's book Harry: Life, Loss and Love. Von Westenholz's father is a friend of Prince Charles, which explains the Harry connection, and works for Ralph Lauren, which is how she met Meghan. 

In their adorable engagement interview, Harry spoke fondly of their first meeting. "I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her [for the first time],"he shared. "I was like, 'Wow, OK. I'm going to have to up my game here. I'm going to sit down and make sure I got a good chat.'"

Their second date immediately followed, the two meeting at Soho House London.

August 2016: Botswana Under the Stars

After those two dates in London, Harry was clearly smitten and invited Meghan to join him in Botswana, before he jetted to an AIDS conference in South Africa. She accepted the invitation.

"I think about three, maybe four weeks later [after we met], I managed to persuade her to come join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars," Harry gushed in their engagement interview. "We spent five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic. Then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure we had a chance to get to know each other."

Harry would later source the main diamond of Meghan's engagement ring from the African country because it plays such a special role in their relationship. But we're getting ahead of ourselves...

November 2016: Prince Harry Releases a Telling Statement

After several rumors surrounding the Suits star and the red-headed royal led to Meghan being followed and harassed once she was back in Toronto to shoot the USA show, Harry took matters into his own hands. In a rare move, Harry released an official statement from Kensington Palace, both referring to Meghan as his "girlfriend" and condemning those harassing her.

"It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm," the statement read. "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."

The telling moment of chivalry marked a new stage in Harry’s dating life, as Meghan became the first of Harry's girlfriends to be so publicly acknowledged. 

Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images

September 2017: Meghan Declares Her Love

Meghan made a big statement of her own in the October issue of Vanity Fair. The actress spoke about her romance with Harry for the first time.

"I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it's really simple. We're two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news," she told the magazine. "And I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people's perception. Nothing about me changed. I'm still the same person that I am, and I've never defined myself by my relationship."

November 2017: Engagement Confirmation!

After filming wrapped on Meghan’s final season of Suits, she was spotted moving across the pond days before her engagement news broke.

Kensington Palace confirmed the news that Meghan and Harry had gotten engaged in early November. Following the announcement, the two attended a photo call in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace and have their first joint interview with BBC.

Tim Rooke

Shortly thereafter, Harry and Meghan's official engagement portraits, taken by Alexi Lubomirski, were released.

Alexi Lubomirski

May 2018: Royal Wedding

The big day! The Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot in front of 600 friends and family -- a guest list that included princes, princesses and A-list celebrities -- inside St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Filled with laughter, a few tears and plenty of pomp and circumstance, Meghan stunned in a custom-made Givenchy gown and long veil. 

Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The newlyweds' official wedding photos were released shortly thereafter, with Kensington Palace noting in a statement, "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would like to thank everyone who took part in the celebrations of their wedding on Saturday. They feel so lucky to have been able to share their day with all those gathered in Windsor and also all those who watched the wedding on television across the UK, Commonwealth, and around the world."

Alexi Lubomirski/The Duke and Duchess of Sussex via Getty Images

October 2018: Meghan Is Pregnant

Kensington Palace announced that Meghan and Harry are expecting their first child together, to be born in the spring of 2019.

"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," the statement read.

The next month, ET learned that the pair would be moving out of their two-bedroom home at Kensington Palace and into the 10-bedroom Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle. 

March 2019: Split Royal Household

Kensington Palace announced that Harry and Meghan are officially splitting from Prince William and Kate Middleton to create their own royal household in the spring. The statement released detailed the plans for Harry and Meghan's "household," which refers to where their staff will be based and offices will run from.

"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," the statement read. "The Duke of Sussex currently has his own private office, which has been supporting The Duchess since Their Royal Highness's engagement in November 2017. This long-planned move will ensure that permanent support arrangement for the Duke of Duchess's work are in place as they start their family and move to their official residence at Frogmore Cottage."

May 2019: Royal Baby Arrives

ET Online

Meghan and Harry officially became parents on May 6, as Buckingham Palace announced the arrival of a baby boy. The couple introduced their newborn to the world shortly thereafter, and later revealed his name to be Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

"Archie is enjoying, albeit a privileged lifestyle, a remarkably ordinary lifestyle. There hasn't been a team of maternity nurses and night nurses and staff on call to cater for their every whim," royal expert Katie Nicholl told ET in July, the same month that Archie's christening took place.

October 2019: A Royal Lawsuit

Harry and Meghan took a major step to protect their privacy when they pursued legal action against Associated Newspapers -- owners of the Daily MailMailOnlineMetro and more -- after the Mail on Sunday published a private, handwritten letter that Meghan wrote to her estranged father.

"Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself," Harry said in a statement, alluding to his mother, Princess Diana's, death. "I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces. We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it."

Harry and Meghan officially won the case in February 2021.

October 2019: Meghan Admits She's Not OK

In Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Meghan got candid about her life as a new mom, in the public spotlight.

"Any woman, especially when they are pregnant, you are really vulnerable, so that was made really challenging. And then when you have a newborn, and especially as a woman, it is a lot," she said. "So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed, I guess thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I am OK. But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind-the-scenes."

The reporter went on to ask if it'd be "fair to say that [it's] not really OK and it's really been a struggle?" and Meghan quickly replied, "Yes."

January to April 2020: A Step Back From the Royal Family

After spending the holidays away from the royal family, Harry and Meghan made the shocking announcement that they were taking a step back as senior members of the royal family.

In their statement, the couple said they would work to become financially independent and split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

"The queen is devastated by the decision, although she had been aware of their struggle the last few months and has been concerned for their well-being and happiness. Many family members were very disappointed with the Sussexes," a source told ET shortly thereafter, noting that some members of the royal family have called the move "selfish."

A royal family meeting soon followed, and eventually the couple reached a resolution that involved them losing their HRH titles and stripping Harry of his military appointments. Later, the Harry and Meghan were told that they could not keep the name of their charitable foundation as "Sussex Royal" due to their exit.

Before making things official, the couple went on one last U.K. tour, which culminated in a Commonwealth Day event. While they initially settled in Canada, in March, the couple made the move to Los Angeles. Harry and Meghan officially closed their royal office on April 1.

Summer 2020: Life in Los Angeles

Amid quarantine, the couple gave back and got involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

"They are busy and they are doing quite a lot behind the scenes, but you know, this is a couple that tends to operate 100 miles per hour. I think they're enjoying the lockdown and the fact that they've been able to take a bit of a breather," royal expert Katie Nicholl told ET. "It's been a very, very busy year for them, and I think this is a moment to just take a breath, reflect, and I think that's what they'll be doing on their anniversary."

In July, the couple moved to an 18,000 square foot home in Montecito, California, which they purchased for $14.9 million. Two months later, the couple officially became financially independent from the royal family.

November 2020: Meghan Reveals She Suffered a Miscarriage

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Meghan revealed that she suffered a miscarriage a few months prior. 

"After changing [Archie's] diaper, I felt a sharp cramp. I dropped to the floor with him in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right," she wrote. "I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second."

"Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband’s hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears," Meghan continued. "Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we'd heal."

February 2021: Baby No. 2 

On Valentine's Day, Harry and Meghan announced that they were "overjoyed" to be expecting their second child. 

Shortly after they announced that their family is growing, a palace spokesman told ET, "Her Majesty, [the] Duke of Edinburgh, [the] Prince of Wales and the entire family are delighted and wish them well," referring to Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Prince Charles. 

March 2021: The Oprah Sit-Down

In the wake of Harry and Meghan's baby news, and around the same time the couple made their royal exit permanentCBS announced that the duo would sit down for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.

When the interview aired, there were no shortage of bombshells. Among the biggest reveals were the fact that Harry and Meghan secretly got married before their royal wedding; that one member of the royal family expressed concern over what color Archie's skin would be; that Meghan was suicidal during her first pregnancy; that Harry's relationships with Prince Charles and Prince William remained strained.

Afterwards, Buckingham Palace reacted to the interview.

"The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," the Palace said in a statement. "The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning."

"While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately," the statement continued. "Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

While Harry did speak to his father and brother after the interview aired, they were "not productive" conversations, according to Gayle King.

June 2021: Meghan Gives Birth

The couple welcomed their second child, and shared the joyous news in a statement.

"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 statement read. "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. She weighed 7 lbs 11 oz."

"Both mother and child are healthy and well, and settling in at home. Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales," the statement continued. "This is the second child for the couple, who also have a two-year-old son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The Duke and Duchess thank you for your warm wishes and prayers as they enjoy this special time as a family."

Harry and Meghan added, "On June 4th, we were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, Lili. She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe. Thank you for your continued kindness and support during this very special time for our family."

July 2021: Prince Harry Announces Memoir

Penguin Random House announced that it would publish Harry's first memoir, a move that royal experts speculated would further the rift between Harry and his family.

"I'm writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become," Harry said in a statement. "I've worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story -- the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned -- I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think."

"I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I've learned over the course of my life so far," he added, "and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that's accurate and wholly truthful."

In October 2022, Harry's memoir was revealed to be titled Spare, and the book was given a release date of Jan. 10. Additionally, it was announced that proceeds from the book will go to various charities including Sentebale and WellChild


December 2022: A Netflix Docuseries

Harry & Meghan, a six-episode docuseries, was announced and offered fans a rare peek inside the couple's life. As the first three episodes were released, the series' disclaimer said that members of the royal family declined to comment on the show, which the royals denied.

The episodes were full of new information about Harry and Meghan -- from Harry's secret Instagram account to Meghan's first meeting with William and Kate. Harry also compared his wife to his late mother, and the couple shared rare pics of their two kids.

After Harry and Meghan denied claims that the series was hypocritical, the last three episodes of the show were released. Those episodes detailed a yelling match between Harry and William, saw the couple speak about their devastating miscarriage, and showed Harry reflecting on his royal exit.

January 2023: 'Spare' Is Released

Harry held nothing back in his memoir, discussing everything from once taking mushrooms at Courteney Cox's house to dealing with his grandparents' death after his royal exit, to thinking of William as his "archnemesis."

Harry also wrote about his childhood trauma, his father's teddy bear, losing his virginity, his past relationships, his time in the military and his mental health.

Then there was the talk about Meghan, from how they met and fell in love, all the way to their royal family exit.

March 2023: Harry and Meghan Are Evicted

King Charles III told the couple to forego the home they kept in the U.K. since their 2018 wedding. 

"We can confirm the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage," a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan told ET.

Harry and Meghan have until early summer to vacate the property. It has not been confirmed who delivered the eviction notice, however, ET confirmed it was at the directive of the king. 

"Since Harry's book was released, relationships between Harry and Meghan and the family have never been worse. Charles is extremely disappointed in what was shared in the book," a source told ET. "Harry was disrespectful to Camilla in the book and you can’t expect to act that way without consequences."

On the heels of the news, the couple stepped out for the first time since Spare's release. According to pics obtained by Page Six, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex enjoyed a private dinner at San Vicente Bungalows in Los Angeles.

March 2023: Lilibet Has a Private Christening

The couple chose to christen their youngest child in a private ceremony at their Montecito, California, home. According to People, the ceremony had between 20 and 30 guests, which included Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, Lilibet's godfather, Tyler Perry, and an unnamed godmother. Despite issuing invitations to King Charles III, Camila, Queen Consort, Prince William and Kate Middleton, no royals attended the event. 

Though the royals did not attend the christening, Lilibet and Archie later received official royal titles of "prince" and "princess" on the royal website that same month. 

Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

April 2023: Harry and Meghan Let Loose

Harry and Meghan enjoyed a parents' night out at the L.A. Lakers vs. the Memphis Grizzlies game, where they were spotted on the Arena's Jumbotron. 

An eyewitness at the game told ET that the crowd was cheering loudly for the couple, in a very positive way, when they appeared on the Jumbotron.

"They giggled when they realized they were on the big screen. They seemed really happy and were having a lot of fun," the eyewitness added.

May 2023: Harry Attends King Charles III's Coronation Without Meghan

As was previously announced, the Duke of Sussex attended his father's coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6, without his wife by his side. Harry was only in London for just over 24 hours for the historic event. Meanwhile, Meghan stayed behind to celebrate their son, Archie's, fourth birthday. 

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women

May 2023: A Public Event Turns Terrifying

The couple stepped out at the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards in New York City with Meghan's mom, Doria Ragland. They were all smiles with Meghan in a gold gown to receive an award at the event. But as they were leaving the occasion, things took a turn for the family. 

"Last night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms. Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi," their spokesperson said in a statement to ET.

"This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers," the statement continued. "While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety. Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved."

The New York Police Department's Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Julian Phillips also issued a statement to ET in response to the incident, saying officers "assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. The Duke and Duchess arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrested in regard."

Backgrid USA photo agency claimed in a statement to ET that the "freelance contributors... were covering the couple's stay in New York City, including the possibility of a dinner after an award ceremony." The company alleged that the photographers "had no intention of causing any distress or harm, as their only tool was their cameras."

May 2023: Fifth Wedding Anniversary

Amid the turmoil, the pair quietly celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary on May 19. 

For the latest on the royal twosome, watch below.



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