Happy birthday, Prince Harry! The handsome royal turns 33 years old today, and though he has yet to walk down the aisle, he's no longer Britain's most eligible bachelor. The prince went public with his relationship with Suits star Meghan Markle last fall, and their romance seems to get more serious with every passing day.
Between reports that they recently met with Queen Elizabeth and their first joint public appearance is likely to take place later this month, the couple has us dreaming of wedding bells. As we await a seemingly inevitable engagement announcement, we've put together a complete timeline of their fairytale-worthy relationship.
VIDEO: This Is Why Meghan Markle Is Wearing Her Makeup Like Princess Diana
According to Markle’s Vanity Fair cover story, the couple had been together for half a year before their relationship was outed. “We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception. Nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship,” she told Vanity Fair. Considering their relationship first became news in late October, we’re putting their first date around April 2016, give or take.
Oct. 31, 2016
The U.K.’s Sunday Express reports that Harry has been secretly dating the American actress and that he’s “happier than he’s been for many years.” The same day, Markle posted this Instagram of two bananas cuddling, which many took to be related to the day’s news. “Sleep tight xx,” she wrote.
Nov. 1, 2016
The relationship is even more serious than we thought: A source told People that Markle had already met Harry’s dad, the first in line to the throne Prince Charles. “Harry is pretty serious about her and she is pretty serious about him,” the source said. “It’s great. They have a lot in common and I’m sure they will get on very well.”
Nov. 8, 2016
Harry himself confirms their relationship in a rare statement, released by Kensington Palace, asking for the media to leave his girlfriend alone. "Since he was young, Prince Harry has been very aware of the warmth that has been extended to him by members of the public," the statement began. "He feels lucky to have so many people supporting him and knows what a fortunate and privileged life he leads."
"He is also aware that there is significant curiosity about his private life. He has never been comfortable with this, but he has tried to develop a thick skin about the level of media interest that comes with it. He has rarely taken formal action on the very regular publication of fictional stories that are written about him and he has worked hard to develop a professional relationship with the media focused on his work and the issues he cares about."
"But the past week has seen a line crossed. His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment," the palace stated.
"Some of it has been hidden from the public—the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriend; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life."
"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 continued. "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."
VIDEO: Prince Harry on Girlfriend Meghan Markle
Nov. 15, 2016
While they haven’t been seen together yet, the media notices that the pair wear adorable matching bracelets. This is how you do a long-distance relationship, guys.
Nov. 28, 2016
Prince William issues his own statement in support of the new couple. In a statement to the U.K.'s The Telegraph, Kensington Palace said, "The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him." Sounds like Harry's big brother is on board with his new romance.
Dec. 6, 2016
After his Caribbean tour, Prince Harry modifies his route home to make a visit to Markle in Toronto. The royal was supposed to fly straight from Barbados to London, but he just couldn’t stay away from the actress, who films her show Suits in Canada.
Dec. 9, 2016
The American actress makes another statement with her jewelry. Markle stepped out in Toronto wearing a necklace with the initials “M” and “H.” This can’t be a coincidence.
Dec. 15, 2016
We have a sighting! The prince and his new girl were photographed by The Sun while walking around London’s West End neighborhood. The couple looked adorable bundled up in coats and beanies.
Jan. 15, 2017
Markle has reportedly met Kate Middleton! According to a report in The Sun, Harry’s girlfriend met both Middleton and Princess Charlotte. The Suits star reportedly gifted the Duchess a “dream diary” as a birthday present.
Feb. 2, 2017
The so in-love couple is seen once more, this time after dinner at London’s Soho House. Harry held his girlfriend’s hand as they navigated through crowds and the paparazzi.
March 3, 2017
Markle joined Harry at the wedding of his Eton College friend, Tom “Skippy” Inskip, in Jamaica. The two were photographed smiling as they stood hand-in-hand, with the actress looking radiant in a printed dress with ruffled sleeves.
April 7, 2017
The star shut down her lifestyle site, The Tig. “After close to three beautiful years on this adventure with you, it’s time to say goodbye to The Tig. 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 job,” she wrote. Many believed this move was recommended by the Palace, and that an engagement could be imminent.
May 7, 2017
The couple is seen together at Prince Harry’s polo match. Markle cheered on her beau from the stands in a navy blue dress topped with a white blazer. After the game, the two are photographed sharing an embrace.
May 20, 2017
While she wasn’t caught by the photographers at Pippa Middleton’s wedding, Prince Harry’s girlfriend was indeed in attendance. She missed out on the ceremony but was present at the reception, after Harry briefly left the festivities to pick her up. This is now the second wedding that they've attended as a couple—big steps!
Aug. 4, 2017
The couple heads on yet another exotic getaway, this time to Africa for Markle’s birthday. The two were photographed wearing matching caps after getting off their plane on vacation.
Sept. 5, 2017
Markle opens up about her romance with the royal for the very first time in a Vanity Fair cover story. "I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it's really simple," she told the publication about her whirlwind romance with the young prince. "We're two people who are really happy and in love."
"We're a couple," she stated. "We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will 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."
The smitten star continued: "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."
Sept. 13, 2017
Us Weekly reports that Markle has met Queen Elizabeth, leading to even more buzz about a possible engagement around the corner. Apparently the lovebirds have been staying with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and decided to pay the Queen a visit in nearby Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth's summer residence.
"Harry decided to take Meghan to visit as he hadn't been up yet all summer," the source explained to the magazine, adding that he wanted to introduce Meghan to the queen. "It went well. It'll no doubt be the first of many encounters."