Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s big Netflix docuseries has arrived. Titled Harry & Meghan, the six-episode series focuses on the life and love story of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and promises an unprecedented, intimate look into the couple’s relationship. It also promises a lot of inside intel on the royal family in general. Volume I of the six-episode series is now streaming, with the second volume arriving on Dec. 15.
In one trailer for the project, Harry admits, “It’s really hard to look back on it now and go, ‘What on earth happened?’”
To help make sense of it all, here’s a short primer on the couple’s relationship so far.
July 2016: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry meet.
All the couple would say at first was that they were introduced by friends in the summer of 2016, but two years later E! News revealed it was Harry’s childhood friend Violet von Westenholz who introduced him to Meghan.
Von Westenholz had met Meghan while working in PR with Ralph Lauren. The Suits actress had been in London for a while and making friend with “the high society set really easily,” the source explained. After Harry confided his dating issues in his friend, Meghan came to her mind. The Prince had actually never watched Suits, and was very pleasantly surprised when he met his future wife for the first time. There was an instant attraction.
In Harry & Meghan, the couple clarified that they first interacted on Instagram before going on their first date.
“Meghan and I met over Instagram,” Harry said. “I was scrolling through my feed and someone who was a friend had this video of the two of them, it was like a Snapchat, and it’s … with doggy ears and … that was the first thing, it was like who is that?”
He added, “And then we got each other’s numbers and we were just constantly in touch, and I went, ‘Let’s meet.’” They ultimately met at 76 Dean Street in London. Meghan recalls that her now-husband was half an hour late, but he was “so sweet” and “genuinely so embarrassed” for his tardiness. “He was just so fun,” Meghan added. “Just so refreshingly fun. And that was the thing, we were like childlike together.”
In an interview just after their engagement, Harry shared the story of their first few dates.
“We met once and twice back-to-back, two dates in London, last July,” he said. “Beginning of July. Then, it was three maybe four weeks later that I managed to persuade her to join me in Botswana, and we camped out with each other under the stars.”
Meghan added, “It was definitely a set up, it was a blind date.”
She added that the fact that Harry was a member of the British royal family wasn’t the most important thing to her — she just wanted to date a nice guy.
“Because I’m from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family,” she said. “And so, while I now understand very clearly there’s a global interest there, I didn’t know much about him, so the only thing I asked her when she said she wanted to set us up—I had one question—I said, ‘Well, is he nice?’ Because if he wasn’t kind, it didn’t seem like it would make sense. And so we went, and had met for a drink, and then I think very quickly into that said, ‘Well, what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again.’”
November 2016: Meghan and Harry go public with their relationship.
The tabloids caught wind of their relationship pretty quickly, essentially forcing an official confession from Kensington Palace a few months later. Harry’s public statement about the fact that he and Meghan were dating was really a condemnation of the media’s “abuse and harassment” and racism targeting her.
“It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm,” the statement reads. “He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game’. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game – it is her life and his.”
Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of difficult conflicts the couple would face with the British public and their own family.
March 2017: They are seen at Harry’s charity polo match.
The couple made their first public appearance together with Meghan supporting Harry as he played in a charity polo match. The Duchess is often seen over the years supporting her husband from the sidelines as he plays his favorite sport.
May 2017: Meghan attends Pippa Middleton’s wedding.
After being introduced to his immediate family, Meghan was Harry’s plus one at the wedding of Pippa Middleton, Kate Middeton’s sister. Pippa married James Matthews in Bucklebury, England. Evidently, Meghan was not at the wedding ceremony, but Harry drove 100 miles to pick her up at Kensington Palace, London, then back to the Berkshire village of Englefield for the rest of the festivities.
At the time, ELLE UK reported that it is “against royal protocol for members of the royal family to upstage proceedings,” and the public’s interest in Meghan would have definitely stolen some attention from the bride on her big day.
August 2017: They celebrate Meghan’s 36th birthday.
The couple traveled to Botswana, Africa, for the former actress’s 36th birthday and to introduce her to some of his friends in the area.
“He was thrilled to bits that he could introduce her to them,” a source told US at the time. “The celebration began almost the minute they touched down. … Meghan was speechless and so touched.”
Rumors of an imminent engagement were running wild at the time.
September 2017: Meghan tells Vanity Fair that she and Harry are “in love.”
Meghan made an appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair, revealing the depth of her romance in the interview.
“We’re a couple. We’re in love,” she told the magazine. “I’m sure there will be a time when we have to come forward and present ourselves, and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. 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.”
Later that same month, she was seen with Harry at the Invictus Games, the charity he founded for war veterans of outstanding athletic achievement. Also in attendance was Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.
This was also the month where Meghan was first introduced to the Queen at the monarch’s summer residence, Balmoral Castle.
November 20, 2017: Meghan moves to London.
Though she’d been spending a lot of time in the U.K., Meghan still had to finish shooting her role on Suits. In late November 2017, it was reported that she was an official London resident.
“Meghan has officially moved out of her Toronto apartment,” a source told US Weekly. “Movers were seen there yesterday and today. Meghan’s furniture from her Toronto home will be going into storage and her personal belongings are being sent to the UK.”
November 27, 2017: They announce their engagement.
The actual engagement supposedly took place earlier in the month, but it was announced on November 27.
“His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle,” the official statement read. “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.”
Meghan’s ring was designed with diamonds from one of Princess Diana’s brooches, connecting her to her late mother-in-law. In an interview with the BBC, Harry said, “The ring is obviously yellow gold, because that’s her favorite, and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana, and the little diamonds on either side are from my mother’s jewelry collection, to make sure she’s with us on this crazy journey together.”
Meghan discussed in the same interview how she had met Queen Elizabeth II, Harry’s grandmother. “She’s an incredible woman,” she said.
In Harry & Meghan, the couple shared how exactly Harry popped the question: he got down on one knee on a blanket outside Kensington Palace. “In the North garden, being overlooked by the staff flats, I got 15 of those electric candles,” he said. “Of course I got down on one knee. Of course I did.”
Meghan knew her answer immediately. “He’s down on one knee and I was just like, ‘Yes!’” she said in the doc. “We were so joyful and excited. I was like, ‘Ah, we’re doing this!’”
May 19, 2018: Harry and Meghan celebrate their wedding.
In a gorgeous ceremony at the traditional St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, the couple officially wed on May 19, 2018. Forbes reported that 29 million people tuned in for the live-broadcast, and there were 600 guests in attendance. Meghan wore a Givenchy dress designed by Clare Waight Keller with a boat neck and elegant train, which she adorned with Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara.
October 2018: Meghan is pregnant with their first child.
This couple announced their first pregnancy on Instagram, writing, “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019.”
“Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public.”
The announcement came out as they embarked on a 16-day royal tour through Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand. After arriving home, they settled in at Windsor Castle’s Frogmore Cottage.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will move to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate early next year as they prepare for the arrival of their first child,” their office said at the time in a statement to People. “Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate.”
May 6, 2019: Meghan and Harry welcome their son, Archie.
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born on May 6, 2019, in London. In a statement on Instagram, the Palace announced, “Their Royal Highnesses’ son weighs 7lbs. 3oz. The duchess and baby are both healthy and well, and the couple thank members of the public for their shared excitement and support during this very special time in their lives.”
“It has been the most amazing experience I could have ever possibly imagined,” Harry said to reporters just afterwards. “How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension, but we’re both absolutely thrilled and so grateful for all the love and support from everybody out there.”
Jan 2020: They step back from their duties as senior royals.
In a controversial decision, Meghan and Harry announced that they are stepping back from their duties as working members of the Royal Family and planning to make the move to the U.S.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” they wrote in a statement on Instagram.
“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages,” they continued. “This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”
March 2020: The family moves to Montecito, California.
The couple settled into the neighborhood of Montecito, California, where life seems to move at a more relaxing pace.
“This kind of stuff is so basic, but it’s really fulfilling and about getting back to basics,” Meghan told Bustle of their hobby of raising chickens and living a regular family life, comparatively.
September 2020: They share their new Netflix deal.
A few months later, The New York Times reported that the pair signed a multi-year deal with Netflix through their new production company, for “documentaries, docu-series, feature films, scripted shows, and children’s programming.”
“Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope,” the couple said in a statement. “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.”
November 2020: Meghan announces she had a miscarriage.
In an essay for The New York Times, Meghan revealed she had a miscarriage over the summer.
“After changing his [Archie’s] diaper, I felt a sharp cramp. I dropped to the floor with him in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right,” she wrote. “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
December 2020: They strike a deal with Spotify.
Meghan and Harry signed a multi-year deal with the music and podcast streaming giant, through their company Archewell Audio, named after their son.
“What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction,” Harry and Meghan said in a statement. “With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.”
Meghan’s show Archetypes begins airing in 2022 and is an instant hit.
February 2021: Meghan is pregnant again.
The couple shared another photo through a friend of their new expectation, this time a daughter.
On Valentine’s Day, they said in a statement to US Weekly, “We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother.”
March 2021: They sit down for a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Harry and Meghan sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a special tell-all interview about their decision to step back as royals and what their lives were like in the palace.
The couple made some big revelations during the sit-down, including Meghan detailing the racism she experienced in the U.K. and that someone in the royal household made comments on their future child’s skin color. Meghan also discussed her mental health struggles while dealing with the pressures of royal life. She recalled that at one point, she “just didn’t want to be alive anymore.” Harry also said he felt “really let down” by his father, King Charles, and that his relationship with his brother, Prince William, “is space, at the moment.”
June 2021: Meghan and Harry welcome Lilibet.
Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor was born on June 4, and named in honor of her great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, who was lovingly called Lilibet by family. Her middle name was clearly intended to honor Harry’s mother, Princess Diana. They call their youngest Lili for short.
June 2022: They return to the U.K. for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
After several years away, and some back-and-forth over safety issues for the family, Meghan and Harry returned to the U.K. to celebrate the Queen’s 70th year as a monarch, her Platinum Jubilee.
September 2022: The couple returns to Windsor Castle again following the Queen’s passing.
The family gathered together once more at Windsor following the Queen’s death in September 2022. After rumors of frosty relations between Harry and his brother Prince William, the two brothers were seen with their wives greeting mourners and surveying the tributes left in the Queen’s honor.
December 2023: Harry and Meghan release their Netflix documentary series, detailing their love story.
Harry acknowledged he may never receive an apology from his family or the institution for all that happened. “And I’ve had to make peace with the fact that we’re probably never going to get a genuine accountability or a genuine apology. My wife and I, we’re moving on. We’re focused on what’s coming next.”
“There’s times when I’ve been angry, but I can’t be that angry because I genuinely feel that I, and we, are exactly where we’re supposed to be,” he added in the last episode’s final minutes. “We’ve made it to the other side.”
January 2023: Harry releases his memoir Spare, sharing more detail about his and Meghan’s love story and relationship with the royal family.
Notably, Harry details Kate’s icy reception to Meghan from the very beginning. He wrote that Kate was likely “on edge,” understanding that she was now “going to be compared to, and forced to compete with, Meg.”
March 2023: Harry says his relationship with Meghan led him to become more alarmed by the royal family’s policy of “never complain, never explain” with the British press.
In late March 2023, Harry returned to the UK to appear in court for the legal case he and several other public figures were waging against Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), which are the publishers of British tabloids The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday. In a witness statement, via People, he discussed how his relationship with Meghan Markle led him to become more concerned about the tabloids’ treatment of them.
The press’s treatment of Meghan made him “increasingly troubled by the [royal family’s] approach of not taking action against the press in the wake of vicious persistent attacks on, harassment of and intrusive, sometimes racist articles concerning Meghan,” he said in the statement. He noted the “the situation got worse” when Meghan was pregnant with their first child Archie.
Harry stated that this claim is “not just about me. I am bringing this claim because I love my country and I remain deeply concerned by the unchecked power, influence and criminality of Associated. The evidence I have seen shows that Associated’s journalists are criminals with journalistic powers which should concern every single one of us. The British public deserve to know the full extent of this cover up and I feel it is my duty to expose it.”
June 2023: The couple end their Spotify deal.
In June, Meghan and Harry ended their deal with Spotify and their Archewell Audio division announced that they “have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series [Meghant’s Archetypes] we made together.”
A source talking to People said part of it was the podcast production at Spotify, and part of it was personality-based.
“What works in podcasting is authenticity and intimacy and revealing things either about yourself or about a topic that says something that [listeners] haven’t really thought about,” the insider said. “None of that happened. And Meghan wasn’t prepared to do that, because she lives an incredibly guarded life.”
Another source close to Archetypes’ production said that Meghan and Harry “were given no formal lay of the land to kick things off, so they were already on unsteady footing even before the ink was dry.”
“Things moved very slowly on both ends,” the source said. “It was rare to have a direct conversation with them, so everything had to flow through a million middle persons.”
Another source told Us Weekly that Meghan and Harry are “regrouping.”
“They want to figure out how they can best expand the entertainment side of things,” they said, adding that the couple felt “snubbed” by Emmys voters when their Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan received no nominations.
July 2023: Break up rumors circulate.
One source told Radar, “The Sussexes are under tremendous financial pressure to fund their lavish California lifestyle, including their $14 million mansion and huge security costs. That stress coupled with their emotional issues has likely made life a living hell. Taking time apart on different continents will hopefully help them find whatever they need to move on.”
But Page Six spoke to a source who said, “It’s not true, it’s literally made up.”
The rumors were apparently very annoying to the couple, and a source told Us Weekly that Harry and Meghan were complaining about the media’s treatment of them since their Spotify deal ended.
“It seems to be one assault after another these days, with people lining up to take cheap shots at them,” one source said. “Quite frankly, both she and Harry are sick and tired of it.”
Another source said they have “a ton of exciting things in the pipeline. [They’re] ready to come back stronger.”
August 2023: Things are great despite break up rumors.
The pair are “really happy together” in California, according to a source speaking with People.
“They seemed really happy together,” the family insider said. “Harry seems to be embracing this life he has with Meghan and knows it’s a very different one than he had before, of course.”
They added, “Meghan does seem to run the household and make the decisions, but it’s not that he bends for her. It’s just a dynamic that works for them, and maybe one that he needs after everything he’s been through.”
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.