The whirlwind love story that caught the world's eye is ending in happily ever after! Since the announcement of their relationship in 2016, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have put their love on display for the world. With their upcoming wedding on May 19, here is a look at a timeline of the Prince and the Meghan's real-life fairy tale.
In the days leading up to their May 19, 2018 nuptials, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have remained out of the public eye – sort of. On May 9, Madame Tussauds placed Meghan's official wax figure next to Harry and his royal family in the museums in London and New York City.
In one final step, Harry and Meghan's wedding was also given the seal of approval from the Queen. The monarch signed the Instrument of Consent, which grants the "consent to the union of 'Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, K.C.V.O., and Rachel Meghan Markle'."
It also notes that Harry, who is sixth-in-line to the throne, needed to obtain the consent of his grandmother before marrying. The monarch is expected to write a more personal and heartfelt letter to Harry and Meghan once their marriage is made official.© Getty Images
See ya at the alter! Meghan and Harry attended their final engagement before their wedding. On April 25, the pair, who will seen in public on their wedding day, joined Prince William for the Anzac Day service at Westminster Abbey.© Getty Images
As she prepared to become a full-time royal, Meghan carried out her first official engagement with the Queen in March. The former actress attended the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.
Meghan also joined Harry in one of their final engagements before the wedding in Northern Ireland. Meghan was also baptized before the ceremony, in one of her final steps to becoming royalty.
© Getty Images
Introducing the Royal Fab Four! Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan carried out their first official engagement together in February. The group attended the Royal Foundation Forum in central London. During the event, it was revealed that Meghan would be joining the foundation as its fourth patron after the wedding.
During part of the panel discussion, the royal-to-be shared her support for the #TimesUp movement. “Women don’t need to find a voice,” the 36-year-old noted. “They have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it, and people need to be encouraged to listen.”
The actress, who is an activist and philanthropist at heart, had also been making private visits to hospitals and various organizations to better understand the charity sector before the nuptials.© Getty Images
Harry and Meghan ending their whirlwind year of romance by shaking up royal tradition. The former actress, joined the Prince and his family for the Queen's Christmas celebrations in Sandringham. Meghan, who was the exception to the rule, marked her first official outing with Prince William and Kate Middleton.© Getty Images
It was the moment royal fans had been waiting for: Prince Harry and Meghan made it official! Early in the morning on November 27, 2017, Harry's dad, Prince Charles announced that his son and the American Suitsactress were engaged. A statement from Clarence House read: "The wedding will take place in Spring 2018. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course. His Royal Highness and Ms. Markle became engaged in London earlier this month. 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. The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace."
Hours after the announcement, the happy couple appeared in front of waiting press in the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace, where Meghan showed off her engagement ring for the very first time. When asked if it had been a romantic proposal, Meghan smiled knowingly at Harry, before replying: "Very!" while the Prince added: "Of course!" The royal also sweetly said that he had known Meghan was the One "since the very first time we met."
Meghan Markle moved out of her Toronto apartment and flew out to London on November 21, days before Thanksgiving. The actress, who is settling into her boyfriend Prince Harry's home at Kensington Palace, was temporarily separated from her beloved rescue dogs, a beagle named Guy and a labrador-shepherd named Bogart.
According to Us Weekly, the pooches will "both have to be microchipped, given a rabies vaccination, plus a blood test 30 days after the rabies vaccination to show it has worked."They will also have to "be treated against tapeworm and provide paperwork for all of these vaccinations." A source added to HOLA!'s sister brand HELLO!: "Meghan has been really concerned with getting her dogs over to London. The UK is extremely strict with animals and laws are very harsh."
Although no official announcement had been made about Meghan leaving the hit show, the news seemed to be confirmed when her stand-in Nicky Bursic, who has worked on the show for six years, posted a snap of the pair on set together, writing: "It's been an absolute pleasure and honour being your 'STAND-IN' for the last two seasons @meghanmarkle. Though I've been on @suits_usa for six years, the latter two has been my most memorable. Wishing you all the happiness in the world Bella."
Meghan posed with her fellow Suits cast members for the last time before wrapping up filming Season 7. The actress finished filming around the November 16, when her character, Rachel Zane, married Patrick J. Adams' character, Mike Ross.
The new photo shared on Patrick's Instagram account showed the cast of the popular TV show sitting around a table, which was left without a caption. However, fans were quick to comment on the image, with one writing: "Won't be the same without Rachel and Mike ☹," while another said: "It's going to be so sad when you leave." A third added: "Looks like an end of an era – great show."
On September 30, as the Invictus Games came to a close, Harry and Meghan made another appearance – this time with her mom Doria, too! The Suits actress and her mother sat in a luxury box along with Meghan's close friends Jessica Mulroney and Markus Anderson at the closing ceremony as the British royal addressed the attendees inside the Air Canada Centre. The Prince made time to pop in to Meghan's section and was spotted planting a kiss on her cheek.© Getty Images
On September 25, 2017, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their first joint appearance during the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto. The pair arrived hand-in-hand to a wheelchair tennis match and were spotted smiling and laughing throughout the game.Kylie Lawler, whose husband Sean Lawler played for the Australian team during the game, told reporters that the couple “seemed at home with each other."© WireImage
To the excitement of fans, Meghan gave her first interview discussing her boyfriend Prince Harry for the October issue of Vanity Fair, which was released in September 2017. Speaking about their relationship, the Suits star said, "We're two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, 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."
Photo: Peter Lindbergh exclusively for Vanity Fair.
In late August, Prince Harry whisked Meghan away on a romantic three-week African holiday. The royal took his girlfriend to the Meno a Kwena camp in Botswana – a place that he has visited on several occasions since his first stay 20 years ago. The resort is located in the heart of the African bush, offering the happy pair incredible views of wildlife in their natural habitat. Harry and Meghan opted to stay in a luxurious tent with a veranda overlooking a stretch of the Boteti River where elephants and zebra are known to come and drink each evening.© Getty Images
Ahead of her 36th birthday on August 4, Meghan was spotted arriving in London to spend time with her Prince. A year into their romance and it looked like marriage was in the cards. According to Duncan Larcombe, author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story, “In Meghan, Harry has finally met someone who is not put off by what he calls ‘the baggage’ of dating a Prince." He continued: “As the weeks go by, Harry and Meghan are clearly falling deeper and deeper in love. To everyone’s surprise, it seems they really do make a good couple.”© Getty Images
Having kept a low profile since her royal romance was made public late in 2016, Meghan reappeared in the public eye for the ATX Festival in Austin, Texas in June 2017 with the cast of Suits, taking to the stage at the Paramount Theatre for a 90-minute table read and moderated Q&A. Throughout the hour-and-a-half panel, the camaraderie among the group, which also included Gina Torres, Patrick J. Adams, Gabriel Macht, Sarah Rafferty and Rick Hoffman, was clear. As her on-screen love interest Patrick told HOLA!'s sister brand HELLO!, “We are all a big family. We’ve been together for years and been through ups and downs.”
Photo: Rick Kern/USA Network
On May 23, 2017, fans of Meghan and Harry got some rare insight into how the actress is doing these days when her star pal Priyanka Chopra spoke of the romance on the Wendy Williams show. When the talk show host first brought up "Meghan Markle, Prince Harry's girlfriend," Priyanka was quick to add: "Also... actress, Suits, her achievements – just saying!" When Wendy asked, "Do you think they'll get married?" Priyanka replied: "I don't know, I hope so. She seems happy... I think they look great together." As for whether Meghan calls her "when she's stressed," the Quantico star laughed: "Not about her stress! We talk, but we talk about my stress, actually than hers. She doesn't seem to have any right now!"
On May 20, Prince Harry arrived to Pippa Middleton's English countryside wedding with brother Prince William (left), but he later brought Meghan (right, in a file photo), as his date to the reception. The couple smiled as Harry drove Meghan to the festivities at the Middleton family home, Bucklebury Manor in Berkshire, to celebrate the marriage of Pippa and James Matthews. The Prince had earlier been spotted driving away from the afternoon champagne reception at Englefield House in his dark grey Audi, to pick up Meghan before the evening event.© Getty Images
Though she didn't pose for photos with her boyfriend, Meghan supported Prince Harry at their first public outing — the Audi Polo Challenge, which benefits WellChild and Sentebale — on May 6, 2017. During the two-day event, Meghan cheered from the sidelines. She was also photographed stealing a quick kiss from her royal beau. Prince William also played during the Sunday match which was also attended by Eddie Redmayne, Emma Stone and Luke Evans.© Getty Images
Proving that he is very serious about his relationship with Meghan, on the first weekend of March 2017 – not long after she had returned to Toronto from seeing him in London – Prince Harry invited his actress love to join him at his best friend's wedding in Jamaica. The couple were spotted leaving the church, before heading to the reception at a nearby hotel.© Getty Images
After spending much of her break from work in London with Harry, Meghan returned to Toronto in early March to start production on the next season of her hit legal drama Suits.© Getty Images
A week before their first Valentine's Day as a couple, Prince Harry and Meghan were spotted holding hands as they left London's Soho House. The couple were in their own little world as they dined at the private member's club before retiring to the Prince's home at Kensington Palace.© Getty Images
Upon returning to London after a romantic getaway with Prince Harry in Norway, Meghan and the Duchess of Cambridge were given a formal introduction. According to The Sun on Sunday, William and Harry's ladies met at Kate and William's home in Kensington Palace where the Suits actress presented the Duchess with a belated birthday present. Meghan also had the chance to play with Princess Charlotte. Absent from the meeting was Will and Kate's son George, who was at Anmer Hall since he attends school nearby.© Getty Images
On January 2, Meghan and Harry flew to Norway for an extra special getaway after reuniting for New Year's Eve in London. During their stay in the town of Tromso, the pair reportedly stayed in a cabin, whale-watched, took a lake trip and looked at the Northern Lights.© Getty Images
On December 14, Harry and Meghan were photographed for the first time heading to a play in the West End. The pair stayed close as they took a stroll along Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue, both bundled up in winter coats as they walked inconspicuously amongst late night shoppers. Pictured in the Sun, the duo went to see a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Gielgud Theatre.© Getty Images
On December 12, the couple reunited in London and were spotted shopping for a Christmas tree at Pines and Needles in Battersea. "They came in at about 8.30 p.m. last night," a spokesperson for the shop told HOLA!'s sister brand HELLO!. "Prince Harry was with Meghan and hilariously the staff only recognized Meghan at first – they were so excited to have the girl from Suits there. It wasn't particularly cold but they were gloved and hatted out." After picking out the perfect Fir, Harry and Meghan loaded it in their car before heading back to Kensington Palace.© Getty Images
After wrapping up his two-week tour of the Caribbean on December 4, Prince Harry took a detour home to spend some time with Meghan in Toronto. The Prince traveled 1,700 miles out of his way to see his girlfriend before returning to London to carry out more royal engagements.© Getty Images
In another telling statement from Kensington Palace, Prince William commented on his brother's relationship. Dated November 27, the press release, addressed to the Telegraph, refuted reports that William was unhappy that his younger brother had released a heartfelt statement confirming his relationship. It read: "The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him."© Getty Images
The cast of Suits wrapped filming on November 20 in Toronto – her schedule opening up on the same day that Harry kicked off his two-week tour of the Caribbean. The actress kept herself busy by spending time with her dogs and celebrating Thanksgiving with her family in California.
In mid-November, the 35-year-old actress was spotted entering the grounds of Kensington Palace, Harry's London home, after picking up some groceries at a nearby Whole Foods. Meghan blended into London's busy streets, dressed casually in a black jacket and black Hunter wellington boots. On her head, she wore a brown baseball cap - recognized as being one her boyfriend often wears.© Getty Images
On November 8, the couple's relationship became official when Harry issued a lengthy appeal to the media on behalf of his girlfriend. In the rare statement, he's asked that they respect the privacy of his American girlfriend. The 32-year-old released the statement via his communications secretary in response to the harassment, "sexism and racism" Meghan had received. In the heartfelt post, Harry acknowledged that there is "significant curiosity about his private life" but appealed to fair-minded people to respect Meghan's privacy. He is also "worried" and "deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect" the Toronto-based actress.© Getty Images
On November 3, reports surfaced that Harry was spotted celebrating Halloween with his Toronto-based love at the city's Soho House. Apart from attending the spooky bash, the couple reportedly spent the majority of the time at Meghan's plush apartment, away from the media glare.
Photo: Instagram/@meghanmarkle/Getty Images
On November 2, a source told HOLA!'s sister brand HELLO! that Prince Harry and Meghan got together in July after meeting through the fashion designer wife of one of the royal's school friends. Misha Nonoo, who reportedly recently separated from old Etonian Alexander Gilkes, is a close friend of the Suits star and traveled with her in Spain over the summer. The New York-based designer is very well connected in royal circles and counts Harry's cousin Princess Eugenie among her friends since her time working for Alexander’s upmarket Paddle8 Auction firm in the US. Harry is known to be very close to Eugenie, who also remains friendly with his last serious girlfriend, Cressida Bonas.© Getty Images
Around the time that their romance made global headlines, Meghan was busy promoting her new capsule collection for the Canadian fashion brand Reitmans. Speaking with the Vancouver Sun, the American beauty opened up about her busy life as an actress and activist, and while she didn’t mention Harry directly, she did call herself the "luckiest girl in the world."
While the pair kept mum on romance rumors, they let their jewelry do the talking. Meghan posted a photo of herself wearing an almost identical beaded bracelet to one previously worn by Harry, sparking suggestions that the royal heart-throb may have given the piece to his new girlfriend as a gift.
Photo: Getty Images/Instagram/@meghanmarkle
It was in late October that Meghan Markle shot onto royal watchers' radars after news broke that Prince Harry was no longer on the market. Britain’s The Sunday Express was the first to report that the fifth-in-line to the throne had found love with the Suits actress.© Getty Images