LONDON (AP) – The budding romance between Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle has captivated the world. Here’s how it all happened:
July 2016: Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle meet on a blind date set up by a mutual female friend. Markle recalls in an interview with the BBC that “I didn’t know much about him, and so the only thing that I had asked her when she said that she wanted to set us up, was, I had one question. I said, ‘Well is he nice?'” They meet on two more dates in July and then Harry invited Markle to join him on a trip to Botswana.
Oct. 31, 2016: After a few months of dating quietly, the romance hits the headlines, when an anonymous source tells the British tabloid Sunday Express about Harry’s new girlfriend.
Nov. 8, 2016: In a statement, Prince Harry confirms Markle is his girlfriend and condemns press coverage of her. He says he fears for her safety and says press coverage crossed the line and used “racial undertones” in its stories. His comments remind many that his mother, Princess Diana, had died in a car crash while being pursued by press photographers.
Sept. 6, 2017: Markle opens up in a cover story of Vanity Fair magazine about her relationship with the prince saying, “at the end of the day I think it is really simple. We’re two people who are really happy.”
Sept. 25, 2017: Harry and Markle are photographed together for the first time when they are holding hands during a wheelchair tennis competition at the Invictus Games in Toronto.
November 2017: Markle says she’s quitting her acting role in the U.S. television series Suits and moves to England.
Nov. 27, 2017: It’s official. The couple’s engagement is announced. Harry and Meghan then appear for photographers on the grounds of Kensington Palace, and Harry says he’s “over the moon.”
Jan. 9, 2018: Kensington Palace confirms that Markle has shut down her social media accounts in line with royal tradition. The American closed her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
March 12, 2018: Markle makes her first public appearance with Queen Elizabeth II. Markle joins the queen and other senior royals at the Commonwealth Day service at London’s Westminster Abbey.
April 25, 2018: Markle appears for the last time in the U.S. television series “Suits” and bids farewell with an on-screen wedding during the season-seven finale.
May 19, 2018: The couple is set to marry in a grand royal ceremony at Windsor Castle.