It's official: Meghan Markle and Prine Harry are engaged! Ever since the couple began dating, the possibility of a royal wedding had us tracking their every move. From Markle's Instagram account to every relationship milestone, we awaited this major announcement from the pair. As the love story between the American actress and British royal continues, below, a timeline of the couple's romance leading up to their exciting engagement.
October 31, 2016: The day it all begins—at least for the public. The Sunday Express reports that Prince Harry has been secretly dating Suits star Meghan Markle, and according to one source the royal is "happier than he’s been for many years." That very day, Markle posts an adorable banana couple hugging on her Instagram page, followed by a high-tea snap on November 1.
November 1, 2016: Canada's Vancouver Sun publishes a Q&A in which Markle discusses her collection for retailer Reitmans. Her closing quote, while cryptic, sure says a lot. "So, my cup runneth over and I’m the luckiest girl in the world!" she says.
November 2, 2016: It doesn't take long for reports of the new couple to begin swirling. Us Weekly writes that Prince Harry made a top-secret visit to Toronto in October, where Markle was filming her show, and claims it was "one of many transatlantic travels in their relationship."
November 8, 2016: It's official! After days of ongoing reports of the new couple, Prince Harry releases a rare statement that acknowledges the relationship. The 32-year-old asks that the media respect the privacy of his American girlfriend and her loved ones, noting he is "worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her."
November 27, 2016: After reports surface claiming Prince Harry did not have older brother Prince William's blessing to go public with his relationship, the Duke of Cambridge releases a statement through Kensington Palace to set the record straight. According to The Telegraph, 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."
December 14, 2016: The wait is over. The Sun publishes the first photos of the couple together in London. Dressed inconspicuously, the bundled-up twosome were snapped in London's West End. The prince and his girlfriend were spotted picking out a Christmas tree in London's Battersea Park the day before. Relationship milestones!
January 6, 2017: After ringing in the new year together in London, Us Weekly reports the couple has taken their first vacation together to Norway to catch the Northern Lights. The two reportedly stay in Tromsø for the romantic getaway.
February 2, 2017: It's getting serious! Just days before Valentine's Day, Meghan and Harry are photographed by The Sun holding hands outside of London's Soho House, where they reportedly first met in the summer of 2016 through a mutual friend. Looks like the actress is spending a lot more time across the pond.
March 4, 2017: Meghan joins Harry at his childhood friend Tom Inskip's wedding in Montego Bay, Jamaica. E! publishes photos of the couple enjoying a conversation at their table, and People reports that it is Meghan's first time accompanying Harry to a wedding.
May 6-7, 2017: The prince and the actress not only attend their first public event as a couple, but the two are also photographed kissing for the first time—all in one weekend. Although they are not photographed together, Meghan is spotted cheering on her beau at the annual Audi Polo Challenge in Ascot, England. On day two of the event, the couple is candidly photographed sneaking in a kiss post-match. Now we're just left wondering: What will she wear to Pippa Middleton's wedding later this month?
May 20, 2017: After much speculation, Harry indeed brings Meghan as his date to Pippa's wedding. According to E!, Meghan is not in attendance at the ceremony per royal protocol, but Harry makes the three-hour round trip to Kensington Palace, where his date is staying, picking her up for the wedding reception.
June 19, 2017: He puts a ring on it—sort of. While we wait for the ring, Daily Mail reports that Harry gifts Meghan with a gold thumb ring. It is the latest jewelry gift, joining a collection of a blue and white bracelet (which matches his own), a Cartier Love bracelet, a Maya Brenner necklace with "M" and "H" initials, and a gold arrow ring.
August 23, 2017: After vacationing in Africa to celebrate Markle's 36th birthday, engagement rumors are at an all-time high. Us Weekly reports that sometime during the three-week holiday, the royal may have popped the question. Earlier this year, Harry shared that Botswana was one of his favorite places, noting he first visited the African country nearly two decades ago, following his mother's death. He has been quoted as saying that it is "where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world" and that he has an "intense sense of complete relaxation and normality." Could it now be the special place where he and Meghan became engaged?
September 5, 2017: Meghan makes it official in an interview with Vanity Fair. The gorgeous 36-year-old graces the cover of the magazine and opens up about her relationship with the royal. She confirms that the pair met in July 2016 and says she is "really happy and in love." In the same interview, Meghan maintains she and Harry hope to keep their relationship as private as possible, saying, "This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story."
September 25, 2017: After so much time avoiding the spotlight, the pair makes a public joint appearance at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto and even show a little PDA as the two sat front row to watch a wheelchair tennis match.
Nobember 21, 2017: Engagement rumors reach a fever pitch as People reports that, "Markle will live with Harry at his two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace, where staff already know Markle."
November 25, 2017: All signs point to an engagement as a series of meetings take place at Kensington Palace to finalize the formal announcement. Now we wait...
November 27, 2017: It's official! Kensington Palace confirms that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are engaged. "His Royal Highness and Ms. Markle became engaged in London earlier this month,” Clarence House said in a statement. The wedding is set to take place right around the corner in spring 2018.