keeping up with the royals

A Look Back at Meghan Markle’s Time As a Royal, in Photos

Meghan Markle. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Meghan Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry in 2018 was, in many ways, groundbreaking. Meghan — biracial, American, divorced, and a former professional actress — was unlike anyone who’d ever held such a prominent position in the royal family. And, like Princess Diana before her, she wasted no time using her role for good, releasing a cookbook to benefit victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and building an impressive arsenal of charity projects, many of which supported unemployed and/or vulnerable women. She was relentless with her goodwill and passion to give back, qualities that Prince Harry has said attracted him to her in the first place.

And yet, before and after her marriage, Meghan was plagued by constant, racist and sexist attacks from the British press. They even seized upon her work ethic, amplifying rumors that she “worked too hard” and was too demanding. Throughout this, her estranged family members leaked private conversations to the American press, and rumors that there was tension between Harry and Will added even more scrutiny to the couple. In spite of this, Meghan and Harry continued to attend royal events, following wardrobe and behavior protocol; Meghan didn’t even take a break while she was pregnant with Archie, traveling internationally and appearing at events on behalf of the royal family.

In retrospect, it’s no surprise that Harry and Meghan announced that they would be stepping down as senior members of the royal family; in recent months, both opened up (as much as a member of the royal family can) about their struggles, particularly with the biased press coverage of Meghan. Now, per an official statement from the pair, their focus will be on “carv[ing] out a progressive new role” in the institution of the royal family. In honor of Meghan’s last day as senior royal — and in celebration of her new life — let’s take a look back at her brief but significant tenure:

Meghan in a Fijian blue Safiyaa gown for state dinner hosted by the President of Fiji. Photo: Ian Vogler/WireImage
Meghan at the 2018 Fashion Awards; she gave a speech on the importance of clothing, as well as kindness in the fashion world. Photo: Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images
Meghan at her first engagement with the Queen, a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in the U.K.
Meghan attends the opening of “Oceania” at the Royal Academy of Arts (her closing of her own car door sparked outrage and criticism among the press.) Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
Meghan in Fiji, wearing a traditional Fijian lei. Photo: Pool/Getty Images
Meghan visits Mayhew, an animal-welfare charity and one of the many she supported while a senior royal. Photo: Eddie Mulholland for The Telegraph/Getty Images
Meghan and Harry on a visit to the Empire Fighting Chance project, a charity commuted to supporting young people through fitness. Photo: MARC GIDDINGS/AFP via Getty Images
In another one of their final royal events, the Sussexes attended The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Meghan and Harry’s first appearance after Meghan gave birth to Archie, her first child (Meghan broke with the royal tradition of appearing on the hospital steps for a photo opp hours after giving birth). Photo: Dominic Lipinski/Getty Images
Harry and Meghan attend the Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at Marlborough House. Photo: Yui Mok/Getty Images
Meghan and Harry at a conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
In one of her final royal events, Meghan attended The Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in London alongside Harry. Photo: SIMON DAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Meghan at the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony in London. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Meghan on her wedding day; she wore Givenchy by Clare Waight Keller. Photo: WPA Pool/Getty Images
In her final royal event, Meghan attends the 2020 Commonwealth Day Service. Her outfit honors a similar one worn by Princess Diana. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Meghan at one of her first royal events, Trooping The Colour 2018. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
A Look Back at Meghan Markle’s Time As a Royal, in Photos