From Stepping Out to Stepping Down: A Timeline of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Relationship

JULY 2016

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet in London. They are introduced by friends, she later tells Vanity Fair, with insiders citing businessman and mutual friend Markus Anderson.

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OCTOBER 20, 2016

Meghan shares a selfie on Instagram in which she wears a bracelet reportedly given to her by Harry. (He later wears the same bracelet!)

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OCTOBER 31, 2016

Reports surface that Harry is dating Meghan. A royal insider tells PEOPLE that they have been seeing each other for “a couple of months.”

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NOVEMBER 3, 2016

Meghan steps out for the first time in Toronto since her romance with Harry is revealed.

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NOVEMBER 8, 2016  

Harry confirms he is dating Meghan with an unprecedented public statement. In it, he condemns the sexist and racist abuse she had been subjected to in the days since their relationship was made public. “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” the statement read. “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.”

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NOVEMBER 27, 2016

Prince William releases a statement of his own, this one equally unprecedented, refuting reports that he was displeased with Harry’s decision to publicly condemn reports about Meghan. “The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him,” says the statement, which Kensington Palace released to The Telegraph.

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Harry makes a detour to Toronto on his way home from his official tour of the Caribbean to see Meghan. During his time in the Caribbean, he looks uncomfortable when the Prime Minister of Antigua announces at a pubic event, “I am told that there may be a new princess and I just want to say that should you make the decision to honeymoon – then Antigua and Barbuda want to welcome you.”

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Meghan leaves London after spending the week before Christmas with Harry. Harry, flanked by five Metropolitan police officers, personally accompanied his girlfriend to Heathrow airport to wish her farewell prior to the flight. During her London visit, the couple go Christmas tree shopping together.

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For a winter getaway, Meghan and Harry visited Tromvik, Norway, a small, isolated town in the northern region of the country. There, they were able to whale watch and see the Northern Lights, though a local told PEOPLE that the couple was “discreet” during their stay.

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MAY 6, 2017

Harry and Meghan are photographed at their first public event together. She watches him play polo in the Audi Polo Challenge at Coworth Park Polo Club in Ascot, England. The couple were also photographed sharing a kiss afterward — the first time they did so in public.

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FEBRUARY 4, 2017

Harry and Meghan are spotted out and about in London after having dinner at the Soho House. Later that month, she returns to Toronto, where she films the USA legal drama Suits, after spending weeks with Harry at his London home, Nottingham Cottage, at Kensington Palace.

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MARCH 2, 2017

Meghan and Harry head to Jamaica to attend the wedding of Tom “Skippy” Inskip — one of Harry’s closest friends — and Laura Hughes-Young. “Harry and Meghan seem very much in love,” a source told PEOPLE, adding that Harry spent much of his time introducing Meghan to friends during the “joyful” wedding. At one point, the onlooker says that Harry got up and “did a little dance” for Meghan.

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APRIL 16, 2017

Instead of spending the holiday at home in England with the rest of his family, Harry heads to Toronto to spend Easter weekend with Meghan.

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MAY 20, 2017

Though she didn’t attend the daytime ceremony, Harry brought Meghan as his date to Pippa Middleton’s wedding reception.

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AUGUST 4, 2017

Harry and Meghan are photographed arriving in Africa for a safari vacation. They arrived on Aug. 4, her 36th birthday. During their three-week visit, they spent time in Botswana and Zambia, at Victoria Falls.

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Meghan sits down with Vanity Fair for her first-ever interview about her relationship with Harry. “I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it’s really simple,” she tells the magazine’s October 2017 issue. “We’re two people who are really happy and in love.”

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2017

For the first time, Meghan and Harry make an official public appearance together — sort of. They both attend the opening ceremonies for the 2017 Invictus Games in her adopted hometown of Toronto, Canada, but they don’t actually appear at the event side-by-side. Instead, she sits next to mutual friend Markus Anderson and Harry next to First Lady Melania Trump. 

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SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

Two days later, Harry and Meghan make their first official public apperance together at a wheelchair tennis match at the Invictus Games. The two enter hand in hand, and “seemed at home with each other,” said Kylie Lawler, whose husband Kyle was playing in the match.

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SEPTEMBER 30, 2017

Meghan and Harry are not only seen together at the closing ceremonies for the Invictus Games, but they’re photographed kissing too. Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, is seated in the private box with the couple during the event.

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It is reported that Harry has brought Meghan to Buckingham Palace to introduce her to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. As fifth in line to the throne (at the time), Harry had to procure the Queen’s permission before he married.

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NOVEMBER 27, 2017

Harry and Meghan announced that they are engaged on Nov. 27, 2017. According to Kensington Palace, the pair got engaged earlier in the month and were to have a wedding in spring 2018.

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DECEMBER 1, 2017

Less than a week after announcing their engagement, Harry and Meghan got right to work, attending her first official royal engagement in Nottingham, England.

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DECEMBER 21, 2017

Harry and Meghan released their official engagement photos a few weeks later. In the shots, snapped by photographer Alexi Lubomirski (who later served as their wedding photographer), they looked blissfully happy and in love.

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DECEMBER 25, 2017

Just a few days later, Meghan broke royal precedent by celebrating Christmas with Harry’s family. (Typically, royal fiancées are not invited to Queen Elizabeth’s holiday celebrations, just spouses.) It was also the first time Meghan and Harry were pictured in public with Prince William and Kate Middleton.

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MARCH 12, 2018

Following Christmas, Meghan made her first official appearance with Queen Elizabeth for a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey.

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MARCH 23, 2018

Harry and Meghan didn’t slow down in the New Year: They had a busy schedule of official engagements and events that took them all over the United Kingdom, from Scotland to Birmingham. Here, they arrive for a surprise visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland in March.

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APRIL 21, 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kicked off a busy weekend with a special Invictus Games reception in honor of the upcoming games in Sydney.

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MAY 1, 2018

With less than three weeks to go until their wedding, it was revealed that the couple did not have any public duties or outings scheduled on their royal calendar until their big day.

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MAY 19, 2018

Harry and Meghan became husband and wife after a stunning ceremony in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. 

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OCT. 14, 2018

Harry and Meghan arrive in Sydney for their first official royal tour as a couple. The tour lasts through Oct. 31, 2018.

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OCT. 15, 2018

Just hours after landing in Sydney to begin their first royal tour, Meghan and Harry announce that they are expecting their first child. After the announcement, a source told PEOPLE that Meghan had just had her 12-week scan and was “feeling well.”

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MAY 8, 2018

Seven months after announcing they were expecting their first child, new parents Meghan and Harry stepped out to introduce their newborn son Archie to the world. 

“It’s magic. It’s pretty amazing. I have the best two guys in the world, so I’m really happy,” Meghan said.

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June 8, 2019

The couple makes their joint first public appearance post-Archie at Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s annual birthday parade.

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July 6, 2019

The couple released an official photo from Archie’s private christening at Windsor Castle.

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July 14, 2019

The Sussexes met Beyoncé at the Lion King premiere in London — an important milestone for any couple. 

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September 24, 2019

On a royal tour of South Africa, the two displayed some royally surprising PDA as Meghan left an event to go check on Archie.

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September 25, 2019

Baby Archie makes his official tour debut, attending a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town. (Equally exciting, they reveal the baby’s nickname: Bubba!)

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November 7, 2019

The couple (pictured at a Remembrance Day event) opts to take six weeks off at the end of 2019 to spend family time with Meghan’s mother, Doria, and to celebrate the holidays in Canada. 

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December 31, 2019

As the couple wound down their Canadian trip, they shared a sweet candid photo of Harry with Archie to ring in the New Year.

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January 7, 2020

The couple steps out to visit Canada House to offer thanks  for the country’s hospitality on their vacation, one day before publicly announcing their plans to step back as members of the royal family.

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MARCH 2020

Meghan, Harry and Archie left Canada for Los Angeles, Meghan’s hometown. Over the following weeks, the couple was spotted delivering food to those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic and celebrated Archie’s first birthday in May by participating in the Save with Stories campaign.

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APRIL 2020

Prince Harry and Meghan confirmed the name of their future foundation to be Archewell. 

“Before SussexRoyal came the idea of ‘arche’ — the Greek word meaning ‘source of action,’ ” the couple said. “We connected to this concept for the charitable organization we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name.”

They added, “We look forward to launching Archewell when the time is right.”

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JULY 2020

Meghan and Harry purchase a home in the Montecito community of Santa Barbara, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. 

“They were craving a smaller community and a slower pace — Montecito is very mellow, a charming little town and the Santa Barbara [area] offers an ideal lifestyle that they’re looking forward to,” a source close to the couple told PEOPLE.

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After announcing deals with Netflix and Spotify, the couple releases a family Christmas card featuring an illustrated photo of Meghan, Harry, Archie and their two dogs, Guy and Pula.

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