It's been a whirlwind romance for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, or so it seems. While their engagement might have come as a surprise to many watching from afar, that wasn't actually the case. Yeah, the actual timeline of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's relationship proves that they've been in love for longer than you might imagine. In fact, Prince Harry and Markle have been together for a while, and they haven't shied away from the press or rest of the world when it comes to their relationship.
Truly, when the happy couple announced their engagement on Nov. 27, 2017, they'd known each other for more than a year, as reported by Vanity Fair. And as more and more details are released about the upcoming royal wedding on May 19, many fans may find themselves wondering how this international love story got started.
Was it during an enchanting ball? Perhaps at a fancy charity gala? Well, where they were when they actually met for the first time is still a mystery, but the two didn't just get engaged on a whim. Looking back at their relationship timeline shows just how much thought Prince Harry and Markle put into pursuing a serious relationship with each other. And it all started in London.
When They Met In July 2016, They Said It Was A Set-Up
Soon after the couple's engagement was announced, the two appeared on an exclusive interview with the BBC. In their interview, they explained that their first meeting, which Markle and Prince Harry said, according to Vanity Fair, happened in July 2016 and it was totally a set-up.
"It was definitely a set-up — it was a blind date," Prince Harry said during the interview. So, even royals and celebrities aren't immune to the embarrassment of blind dates it seems.
In October Of 2016, Things Get Kind Of Official
After having known each other for a good three months (about the amount of time Duggar children are in a courtship before getting engaged, interestingly enough), the two apparently decided to make it official. Well, sort of.
According to People, an anonymous source who identified themselves as "a close friend of Harry," revealed that on Oct. 31, 2016, the two had been dating for "a couple of months." Obviously, any sort of information from an anonymous source should be taken with a grain of salt, but nevertheless, it seems as though the couple got a bit more serious around October of that year.
Things Get Even More Serious In November 2016
While the two still hadn't gone out in public together, Prince Harry issued a rare, personal statement on behalf of Markle. Specifically, Prince Harry called out all of the harassment Markle had received since their relationship was revealed. According to the official Royal.UK website, part of the statement read:
His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public - the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.
As disheartening as it is that Markle was getting hateful comments, the words, "his girlfriend, Meghan Markle," also worked to make official the couple's relationship.
Christmas 2016 Sees The Couple Getting Festive
While Prince Harry and Markle didn't celebrate their first Christmas together exactly like they did this past year (a full-on royal experience), they still spent some quality time together.
According to People, the happy couple went Christmas tree shopping together around Dec. 14, 2016, and the tree salesperson described them as "just like any other couple."
In May 2017, The Couple Was Photographed In Public Together
While the two had been spending time getting to know each other, in May 2017, they took things up a notch and attended the same public event. According to People, Prince Harry competed in "the Audi Polo Challenge at Coworth Park Polo Club in Ascot, England," where 36-year-old Markle proudly cheered him on.
In September 2017, The Two Make Their First Public Appearance, *Together*
As People reported, the couple attended the Invictus Games in Toronto in September of 2017, where they actually sat next to each other.
Markle Opened Up About The Relationship In October 2017
For the October 2017 issue of Vanity Fair, Markle opened up to the magazine about her relationship with Prince Harry. "We're two people who are really happy and in love," she told the publication.
November 2017: The Engagement
On Nov. 27, 2017, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement. However, it's unclear when the couple actually got engaged. According to The Telegraph, a statement from the Prince of Wales read:
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle. ... Prince Harry has informed Her Majesty the Queen and other close members of his family. Prince Harry has also sought and received the blessing of Ms Markle's parents.
Not Long After, Meghan Markle Retires From Acting
Pretty soon after her engagement was made public, Markle also revealed that she would be leaving acting behind her as she looks forward to her new life as a semi-royal, which happened in late October. According to E! News, she explained:
I think what's been really exciting as we talk about the transition out of my career and into my role is...the causes that are really important to me that I can focus even more energy on. Very early out of the gate, I think you realize you have access or a voice that people are willing to listen and with that comes a lot of responsibility, which I take seriously.
March 2018: The Queen Grants Permission
On March 14, 2018, Queen Elizabeth II officially granted permission for Prince Harry to wed Markle. According to Newsweek, the declaration read:
My Lords, I declare my Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle, which consent I am causing to be signified under the Great Seal and to be entered in the Books of the Privy Council.
Next Up, The Wedding: May 19, 2018
After the engagement, of course, comes the wedding. And as the official Kensington Palace Twitter account confirmed, it will be on May 19, 2018, "at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle."
So, as the big day draws near, fans and spectators alike can revisit their fairy tale romance again and again, until they officially tie the knot this spring.