On Tuesday 15 September, Prince Harry celebrates his 36th birthday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex officially began their new lives away from the royal family earlier this year following the shock announcement in January that they would be stepping down from their senior roles.
The exit means the couple have lost their HRH titles, are repaying millions of pounds that was spent renovating their Berkshire home and splitting their time between the UK and Canada.
While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have attempted to keep the details of their royal courtship private since they first met in 2016, they have attended a number of engagements and celebrated major milestones together, sharing sweet public displays of affection along the way.
The last few years have seen the couple’s lives transform as they tied the knot, welcomed their first child, travelled the world and championed charitable causes close to their hearts.
Following their departure from royal life, here are some of the couple’s best moments.
Couple make first public appearance
The couple first met through mutual friends in London in July 2016 when one of the former-actor's confidants, Markus Anderson, reportedly introduced them.
Anderson is linked with private members club Soho House, of which Harry is a member, but it wasn't until months after the initial London meeting that their burgeoning romance made headlines.
The following year, Harry and Meghan made their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in the duchess’s home-base of Toronto, Canada.
The royal engagement
Prince Harry and Markle announced their engagement on 27 November 2017. A statement issued by Clarence House said: “His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle.
”The wedding will take place in Spring 2018. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.”
Later that day, the couple appeared at an official photo-call in front of the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in London, where the bride-to-be held on to her fiancé's arm as they posed for photos.
In December, the couple released a series of official engagement photos taken by Alexi Lubomirski at Frogmore House.
Harry proposed to Meghan with a custom ring made by court jewellers Cleave and Company using one diamond sourced from Botswana and two smaller stones from Princess Diana's collection.
Harry and Meghan tie the knot
On 19 May 2018, Meghan and Harry married at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and officially became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The bride and groom defied convention at the wedding by putting a modern spin on everything from the cake to ceremony itself. As well as traditional hymns, prayers and readings, the ceremony included contemporary wording and songs, including a rendition of “Stand By Me” which was performed by gospel group The Kingdom Choir in a nod to Meghan's American roots.
The couple also chose Reverend Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, to deliver a powerful sermon about love during the wedding. The address, replete with historical references, had guests, including David Beckham smiling, while some members of the royal family appeared bemused.
On 15 October 2018, Kensington Palace announced that the duke and duchess were expecting their first child.
“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,” the palace said in a statement.
“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.”
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 Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) October 15, 2018
The couple reportedly informed the royal family of the news while celebrating the marriage of Princess Eugenie in Windsor.
Kensington Palace stated that the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were all “delighted” for Prince Harry and Markle.
The palace also said that the duchess' mother, Doria Ragland, was “very happy about the lovely news”.
The Sussexes go on tour
For their first royal tour as a married couple, Harry and Meghan spent 16-days visiting Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
During their trip, the couple was gifted some very Australian baby gifts by the governor-general, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and Lady Cosgrove who gave them a stuffed kangaroo and a pair of tiny Ugg boots.
The royal couple’s trip also provided fans with a number of memorable moments including their visit to Bondi Beach in Sydney where they walked by the sea holding hands and a forest walk through Redwoods Tree Walk in Rotorua, New Zealand, where Harry gave Meghan his waterproof jacket to wear because she felt cold.
Couple release first Christmas card
For their 2018 Christmas card, the newlyweds shared a stunning black-and-white photo from their wedding day.
The previously unseen image showed them with their arms wrapped around each other's waists at their evening wedding reception, as fireworks erupted in the grounds of Frogmore Cottage.
The Sussexes welcome their first child
On 6 May 2018, the couple’s lives changed with the arrival of their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Archie, who arrived just in time to celebrate his parents' first wedding anniversary, was introduced to the world two days later at his first-ever photocall at St George’s Hall in Windsor Castle.
“It's magic, it's pretty amazing. I have the two best guys in the world so I'm really happy,” Meghan said at the time, adding that added that Archie had “the sweetest temperament” and was “really calm”.
As Prince Harry and Meghan laughed, the duke said: “I don't know who he gets that from”, adding that their child is a “bundle of joy”.
Archie gets christened
The couple held Archie’s christening on 6 July 2018. It was a private affair which took place at the chapel at Windsor Castle.
Despite the highly-publicised nature of the occasion, much of the event was shrouded in secrecy, including who had been named the baby’s godparents.
The Sunday Times later reported that Tiggy Pettifer, the former nanny of the Dukes of Sussex and Cambridge, and Mark Dyer, former royal equerry (a senior attendant) to the Prince of Wales, were given the honour.
The royal couple released two official photos from the occasion taken by Chris Allerton in Windsor Castle's Green Drawing Room and the Rose Garden.
In one group shot, Archie was photographed in his mother's arms alongside the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Sussex, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Prince of Wales, Doria Ragland, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and the Duke of Cambridge.
In the second black and white image, just the royal couple and Archie were pictured, with Meghan holding her son while Prince Harry leaned over him.
Family tour to South Africa
In September 2019, Archie made his royal tour debut in South Africa with his parents.
The four-month-old was pictured for the first time during an official royal tour engagement as Harry and Meghan met with anti-apartheid and human rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town.
As the members of the royal family were photographed with the Nobel Peace Laureate and his daughter, Prince Harry joked that Archie is not camera shy, saying: “I think he is used to it already.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who became the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Johannesburg, said he felt “thrilled” by the “rare privilege and honour” of meeting the royals.
Archie’s Christmas card debut
Harry and Meghan celebrated their first Christmas as parents in December 2019, and chose to commemorate the occasion with a family photo as their holiday card.
The seven-month-old took centre stage in the black-and-white photograph, staring right down the camera lens while his parents laughed behind him with a Christmas tree in the background.
The photo was shared on Twitter by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, a charity that supports young people in impoverished areas, alongside the caption: “Just sharing the sweetest Christmas Card from our president and vice-President, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Very Merry Christmas, everyone!”
Harry and Meghan quit senior royal duties
On 8 January 2020, the duke and duchess shocked the world by announcing their decision to step back as senior members of the royal family.
In a statement published to the Sussex Royal Instagram account, the couple said: “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.
“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”
“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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. 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. 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. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Jan 8, 2020 at 10:33am PST
In February, it was confirmed that Harry and Meghan would begin their new life from 31 March.
The Queen backed the couple following a crisis summit about their future roles, saying the royal family “respect and understand” their desire to step back as senior royals.
The head of state announced there would be a “period of transition” which will see Prince Harry and Meghan living in Canada and the UK.
The viral umbrella photo
Harry and Meghan made their first public joint appearance since announcing they were stepping back from royal life at the Endeavour Fund Awards in London on 5 March.
The couple arrived sharing an umbrella amid a rainy backdrop, which made for a now-viral snapshot captured by photographer Samir Hussein.
Speaking to The Independent, Hussein said: “Arriving at the engagement, my hopes were not high - it was pouring down with rain which can be very tricky when shooting flash photography and also meant Harry and Meghan would be under an umbrella, which usually means it’s hard to get clean photos of the couple.
“Little did I know these elements would come together so spectacularly to produce a timeless image of the couple.”
Farewell tour fashion
While the duke and duchess appeared as united as ever as they attended their final series of events before stepping down, the couple sent a clear message with their style choices by coordinating their outfits.
The duo kicked off their fashionable farewell tour at the Endeavour Awards where Meghan wore a simple sky blue Victoria Beckham dress and Harry looked sharp in a midnight-blue suit and matching tie.
Just two days later, the royal couple attended the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in matching red outfits with the duke wearing a Royal Marines officer’s mess jacket and Meghan wearing a red dress designed by London-based fashion label Safiyaa.
For their last official appearance alongside the rest of the royal family at the Commonwealth Day service, Meghan chose a bold green Emilia Wickstead dress — complete with a cape and matching hat — which asserted her status as a style superhero, while Harry’s blue suit was lined with silk in the same colour as his wife’s gown.