Wedding fever is in full force thanks to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's upcoming nuptials on May 19.
Although it seems like we've been waiting for ages for the world's most eligible bachelor to settle down, Meghan and Harry haven't been together particularly long. In the year and a half since we've known they were an item, the couple has captured our hearts with their aww-inducing PDA, their loving glances, their engagement story (roast chicken has never been this romantic) and the details they've released about their royal wedding.
While we don't know the exact date when Harry met
Sally Meghan (sorry, we had to), we do know that they were set up on a blind date by a mutual girlfriend — with sources pointing fingers at Harry's childhood friend, Violet von Westenholz— in London in July 2016.
What we do know for certain is that the couple's cover was blown in October 2016, and the world found out that Harry was dating an American actress who was living in Toronto.
Here's what you should know about Harry and Meghan's relationship before you watch the wedding of the decade.
The Sunday Express first breaks the news that Prince Harry is off the market, naming a then 35-year-old Meghan Markle, the star of the hit TV show "Suits," as his new girlfriend.
"He's happier than he's been for many years," a source told the news outlet about Harry's relationship with Markle. "He's in a very relaxed period of his life and Meghan has come along at the right time. They are taking each week as it comes and just enjoying each other's company but it's fair to say that they love seeing each other and there's a definite chemistry between them."
The source continued: "Harry has been desperate to keep the relationship quiet because he doesn't want to scare Meghan off. He knows things will change when their romance is public knowledge but he also knows he can't keep it a secret for long."
Stories swirl that Harry is spotted celebrating Halloween in Toronto with Markle at the city's local Soho House, an exclusive members-only club that has locations worldwide.
After a barrage of media attention that often includes racist headlines and commentary towards Markle, who is biracial, Kensington Palace releases a statement on behalf of the prince on Nov. 8 defending the actress — thus, confirming their relationship. In the statement, Harry notes the "sexism and racism" Markle was subjected to by the media, and expresses his concern that he is "deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect" her.
In an unusual move, Prince William releases a statement in support of his brother and his new relationship. It reads: "The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him."
Markle hops across the pond, and she and Harry visit Pines and Needles in Battersea, U.K. to shop for a Christmas tree. A staff member tells Hello magazine, "They came in at about 8:30 p.m. last night. 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."
Prince Harry and Markle are also photographed for the first time together after they take in the West End production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" at the Gielgud Theatre in London.
This month, Markle finally gets the chance tomeet the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Kensington Palace. Markle reportedly gives the duchess a belated birthday gift. However, Markle doesn't get to meet Prince George as he is still attending school near Kate and Will's Anmer Hall home in Sandringham, U.K.
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Markle joins Prince Harry for the wedding of his close friend, Tom "Skippy" Inskip, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Paparazzi catch the couple swimming in the sea and having a romantic dinner on the beach.
"What began as a passion project (my little engine that could) evolved into an amazing community of inspiration, support, fun and frivolity. You've made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy."
On May 6, Prince Harry takes part in the Audi Polo Challenge and Markle shows up to support her beau. She manages to stay out of the spotlight until Harry is caught giving her a kiss after the match.
Later this month, the Duchess of Cambridge's younger sister, Pippa Middleton, ties the knot with James Matthews. Both Prince Harry and Meghan were invited but Markle skips the ceremony and sneaks into the reception later that evening so as not to take away from the bride's big day.
To celebrate Markle's 36th birthday, Harry takes his girlfriend to Botswana (their second trip there as a couple), and they stay at the exclusive Meno a Kwena camp, before driving eight hours to Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, according to Andrew Morton in his book, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess.
On Sept. 6, Vanity Fair reveals their October cover girl, Meghan Markle. In the accompanying interview, Markle gushes about her romance with Prince Harry. "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," she says.
A couple of weeks later, all eyes are on Markle during the Invictus Games Toronto opening ceremony— Markle is there to support Harry's passion project. The actress is seated one section over from Prince Harry, and just hours after the public sees Markle wearing a maroon Aritzia dress at the event, it sells out.
Days later, Harry and Markle make their official public debut as a couple at a wheelchair tennis match at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square. Looking comfortable and relaxed, the couple have no problem engaging in a bit of light PDA.
Any doubts about the seriousness of Harry and Markle's relationship are swept away when the couple, alongside Markle's mother Doria, are spotted in a private box to watch the Invictus Games closing ceremony. Harry even gives Markle a kiss on the cheek, to the chagrin of women and men around the world.
Meghan Markle says goodbye to her Toronto home and moves to London to live with Harry at his home in Kensington Palace. The actress makes the difficult decision of taking only one of her two rescue dogs with her, as the older of the two is deemed too old to handle the stress of travel and is re-homed with friends of the actress.
Then, on Nov. 27, the world finds out that Harry and Markle are engaged. A statement released by Clarence House notes that the couple got engaged in early November and will live together in Harry's home, Nottingham Cottage.
Later in the day, the couple appear in the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace for a photocall before doing their first joint interview as a couple. In the interview, Markle reveals that Harry proposed at his home, while the two were roasting chicken.
"It was just an amazing surprise," Markle says of the proposal. "It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee."
Wasting no time after the engagement, Markle jumps into royal life with ease as the couple attend their first work event together in Nottingham, U.K. Well-wishers line the streets to congratulate the couple, who visit Nottingham Contemporary for the Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair and Nottingham Academy for the Full Effect programme.
Markle also makes a surprise appearance at the Queen's staff Christmas party held at Windsor Castle. One guest tells the Daily Mail, "She asked everyone she met their names and what they did. It was very natural."
On Christmas morning, Meghan joins Prince Harry and members of the Royal Family for a Christmas Day serviceat St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham. This marks the first time Harry, Meghan and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are seen together in public.
After spending a short New Year's holiday together, Harry and Meghan get back to work on Jan. 9 when they visit the Reprezent 107.3 FM studio, an underground music station that supports young people.
The former "Suits" actress and Harry attend their first official evening engagement together at the Endeavour Fund Awards in London.
Markle also joins Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the inaugural Royal Foundation Forum in London. Speaking on women empowerment, Markle notes, "Women don't need to find their voices, they need to be empowered to use it and people need to be urged to listen."
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce they will be inviting 2,640 members of the public into the grounds of Windsor Castle to help celebrate their wedding. The lucky few include representatives of charities, school children, and community members.
Markle gets baptized in a private ceremony at St James's Palace, meaning she's now a member of the Church of England.
In a sign that Markle is super close to the Royal Family, she attends her first official event with Queen Elizabeth II at a Commonwealth Day Service held at Westminster Abbey.
Later this month, Kensington Palace reveals that Harry and Markle chose local pastry chef Claire Ptak, owner of London-based bakery Violet Cakes, to make their lemon elderflower wedding cake.
On March 22, the public get a first look at the royal wedding invitations, 600 of which are sent out to guests all over the world. The invites are printed in American ink (a nod to Markle's heritage) on an English card.
Markle and Harry pick London florist Philippa Craddock to decorate St. George's Chapel with flowers. Craddock and her team will use white garden roses (Princess Diana's favourite blooms), peonies and foxgloves, as well as branches of beech, birch and hornbeam.
The couple also release a list of seven hand-picked charities that guests and well-wishers can donate to in lieu of gifts. The charities are all causes that are close to the couple.
The couple pay a visit to Bath, England, to watch the U.K. team trials for the 2018 Invictus Games, which will be held in Sydney in October.
With just about three weeks to go until the royal wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce that they will be using the Ascot Landau as their carriage of choice for the procession around Windsor after the ceremony.
Harry's press secretary also reveals a ton of details about the wedding, including the tidbit that Markle's father, Thomas Markle, will walk her down the aisle, after Markle travels to the church by car with her mother, Doria Ragland. The statement also reveals that Markle's parents will arrive in London a week before the wedding so they can get to know their future royal in-laws.
With files from Chloe Tejada
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