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The Duchess of Sussex at 40: Marrying into the Royal Family

An actress from California, Meghan Markle, probably never thought she would marry into one of the most famous families in the world, let alone become a duchess. In honour of her 40th birthday, Royal Central is taking a look at the romance between Meghan and Prince Harry that led to a fairytale wedding.

In June 2016, Prince Harry began a relationship with Meghan after the two were set up on a blind date. The romance between the two quickly kicked off. The couple flew to see each other every two weeks, whether that was in London or Toronto, where Meghan was working on the USA Network show, Suits.

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Enjoying their private romance, it was finally time to make things public. The couple made their first appearance at the Toronto Invictus Games. Created by Harry, it’s a multi-national event where sick, wounded, and injured Servicemen and women compete in different sporting events. The media and the world went ecstatic when the couple went public. Could Meghan be the woman Prince Harry was looking for?

Despite the happiness and joy of a new relationship, early on, the couple faced struggles with the media. The Prince directed his communications secretary to release a statement on his behalf expressing personal concern about the racist and false comments made about his then-girlfriend.

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Despite the negative media, the couple only continued to grow stronger. On 27 November 2017, Harry’s father, Prince Charles, announced his son was engaged. Immediately, the engagement prompted generally positive comments about having the first mixed-race member of the Royal Family.

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In the months leading up to the wedding, Meghan and Harry undertook multiple engagements to introduce the soon-to-be duchess to her new home. Meghan also began the process of becoming a British citizen and was baptised into the Church of England.

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On 19 May 2018, 27.7 million people across the UK and about 29 million people across the United States watched as Meghan wed her Prince at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. In the months following the wedding, the newly-named Duke and Duchess of Sussex settled into their home at Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace. Prior to the birth of their son, Archie, in May 2019, the Sussexes relocated to Frogmore Cottage in the Home Park of Windsor Castle.

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In the fall of 2019, the Sussexes marked their first royal tour as a family of three with a visit to Africa. During that time, the Duchess candidly revealed that she was struggling with the criticism from the media and said that “it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”

In January 2020, the Sussexes announced they would step back as senior members of the Royal Family. Their office was moved to Buckingham Palace and officially closed on 31 March when the Sussexes officially ended their roles. After spending time in Canada, the family relocated to Montecito, California.

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Since moving to the US, the couple has lived a relatively quiet life. They did a sit-down interview with Oprah in March 2021 to reveal what their new life has been like and to share what led to their decision to step back as working royals. They have also signed a deal with Spotify and Netflix to produce and create original content. Just after the birth of their daughter, Lilibet, in June, the Duchess released her first children’s book inspired by a poem she wrote for her husband on Father’s Day, The Bench.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.