Meghan Markle and Harry's topsy-turvy year: From chat with Oprah to Lilibet's birth

It has been a pretty bumpy year for the Sussexes as they still continue being tabloid favorites


                            Meghan Markle and Harry's topsy-turvy year: From chat with Oprah to Lilibet's birth
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the 2021 Salute To Freedom Gala at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been making headlines since they started dating. But they attracted more attention and scrutiny after they stepped down from their roles as senior royals in March 2020. Though the pair has been living in Montecito, California, for almost a year, they are still tabloid favorites in the UK.

From getting heavily criticized for their bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview to welcoming their second child, the Sussexes have had a rollercoaster year. As 2021 is ending, let’s take a look at their journey.

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The chat of the year!

In the month of February, Meghan won the first round of her legal fight against Associated Newspapers after suing it for publishing parts of a “private and personal” letter she sent to her father Thomas Markle in August 2018. Later in mid-February, another happy news came as it was announced that the former actress was pregnant with a second child. The couple shared their joy through a black and white picture of themselves that showed them sitting lovingly below a tree. 

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But a month later, Meghan and Harry’s most bombshell interview came as they sat with Oprah Winfrey. During the March sit-down, they accused the Palace of bullying and racism. They also claimed that while being in the UK, Meghan even thought of suicide. Harry revealed that Prince William and Prince Charles “are trapped” inside the institution and “don’t get to depart”.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chat with host Oprah Winfrey during the bombshell March interview (CBS)

Soon after that, Meghan was accused of “emotional cruelty” by the Palace. It was alleged that she “drove two private assistants out of the family and was ­undermining the boldness of a 3rd workers member”. But a spokesman for the duo defended them and said that it’s “a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation”.

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Prince Philip's funeral

April was difficult for the royals as Prince Philip died at the age of 99. Harry went to his grandfather’s funeral, but Meghan had to avoid it since she was heavily pregnant at the time. It was said that the royals behaved coldly with the Duke of Sussex and he and his elder brother William did not walk together during the final procession.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence walk behind The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin (Mark Large-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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Lilibet's arrival

June was happy for Meghan and Harry as they welcomed their daughter. They named her Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor while honoring the Queen and Harry’s late mother Lady Diana. Soon after that, a controversy took place as the royal insiders claimed the new parents did not seek permission from the Queen before naming their daughter after her, but a spokesperson for Meghan and Harry said that the latter indeed took the permission.

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex during the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, on what would have been her 60th birthday on July 1, 2021, in London, England (Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

In July, Harry again went to the UK to unveil his late mum’s statue along with the Duke of Cambridge. Reportedly at the time, the brothers got along well and were seen laughing and joking together at Kensington Palace.

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'Strong as ever'

In August, reports came out claiming that Meghan and Harry’s relationship with the Queen were “strong as ever”. Omid Scobie, the co-author of ‘Finding Freedom’, said: “When it comes to that relationship with the Queen, it is as strong as ever. They have nothing but love for her. Of course, we saw them name their daughter after the Queen’s very nickname. So that really gives us an insight into that close relationship.”

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch the RAF 100th anniversary flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018, in London, England (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Making it to Time's 'Most Influential'

Meghan and Harry reportedly dedicated the month of September to a tour of New York Metropolis. They met several political figures, like the New York mayor Bill de Blasio and the US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Speaking about it, royal writer Duncan Larcombe said, “they basically did a royal go-to, like they used to within the UK – simply on their very own phrases and in their very own manner. So it appears they’ve stopped life within the UK to do precisely what they did right here over within the States.”

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Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave the University of Chichester's Engineering and Digital Technology Park after an official visit on October 3, 2018 in Chichester, United Kingdom (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

“There’ll little doubt be quite a lot of conferences on the Palace and talks over how they’re going to method Harry and Meghan’s plans. This go-to was an enormous two fingers as much as the royal household and reveals the royal feud is much from over,” Larcombe added.

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In the same month, the pair was also named among the latest Time 100 World's Most Influential People. Chef José Andrés, a close pal of the two, wrote a profile on them where he said, "in a world where everyone has an opinion about people they don't know, the duke and duchess have compassion for the people they don't know."

A 'poisonous choice'

In October, biographer Tom Bower alleged that Meghan and Harry have alienated themselves and are “desperate to control the narrative”. He told Closer magazine, “Harry and Meghan have totally isolated themselves. They seem to think they will be stronger by cutting people out, but they’re really just alienating their families. I think it’s very sad for them both and their children. I believe Meghan is a very stubborn person, but I think eventually even she’ll realize that this isolated world she and Harry have built for themselves was a poisonous choice.”

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“They seem so desperate to control the narrative that they can’t risk anyone else influencing it – but this will simply cause more damage to them in the future, when their children grow up with no family around them,” Bower added.

Two months later in December, Meghan felt relieved as she won her fight against Associated Newspapers. But it was also revealed that the gap between Harry and his father has widened. The duo has reportedly barely spoken to each other in months.

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Speculations were there that the Sussexes will visit the Palace for holidays, but that did not happen. They, instead, shared a family picture of themselves with their daughter for the first time and wrote, “This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world. Archie made us a ‘Mama’ and a ‘Papa’, and Lili made us a family.”

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