Meghan Markle and Prince Harry celebrate their 1st wedding anniversary; here's a look at the eventful year
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have come a long way since their spectacular wedding on May 19 last year
Around this time last year, the world was buzzing with anticipation as Meghan Markle—America's sitcom sweetheart—prepared to join the royal household after her much-awaited wedding to Prince Harry who sixth-in-line to the throne of Great Britain.
As Meghan walked down the aisle with Harry's father Prince Charles by her side, she faced the very real threat of facing disapproval from the British press and media. She was also dealing with the damage caused by her father Thomas Markle's infamous staged photograph scandal.
However, a lot has changed in the last year, and some might say it's for the better.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have come a long way since their widely watched wedding on May 19, 2018.
The couple has braved through the royal tour of Australia and New Zealand, a nine-month-long pregnancy, and finally the arrival of their "sweet-tempered" baby boy Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
While the world waits with bated breath on further details of the royal couple's first son, here's a look back at Meghan and Harry's monumental first year as husband and wife.
Right after their wedding in May, Prince Harry and Meghan started gearing up for their first major royal engagement, a tour of New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, and Fiji.
The tour, which began in October last year, saw the couple inaugurate it with their pregnancy announcement, with the Kensington Palace stating that Meghan was due to give birth in the spring of 2019.
News of Meghan's pregnancy was the hot topic of discussion all through the royals' 16-day tour, with baby watchers keeping a close eye on the Duchess' baby bump that seemed to grow by the minute.
In spite of Meghan's delicate condition, the lively royals did everything from joining a powhiri—a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony, walking through a redwoods forest, attending a mental health breakout session on the beach, cheering on athletes at the Invictus Games and meeting koalas.
A lot of people, on the other hand, couldn't seem to get over the drastic change in Prince Harry's personality ever since his relationship with the former 'Suits' actress began.
Royal biographer Penny Junor, speaking exclusively to MEAWW, also weighed in on the change, saying: "I think his lifestyle probably changed when he and Meghan first got together—so before the wedding—but I think he has become less of a party animal and more domesticated. I think he’s also a lot happier."
However, there were still some battles that the royal couple had to overcome back home in Britain, especially when rumors of an alleged feud between the Duchess of Sussex and Kate Middleton started cropping up.
It was being widely reported that the strained relationship between Meghan and Kate had adversely affected the two brothers, so much so that William and Harry started to distance themselves from each other for the sake of their wives.
Even though it wasn't all smooth-sailing for Meghan, she took all of the negativity in her stride as she successfully put her activism into action as a royal, especially after becoming the recipient of four wonderful patronages hand-picked by Queen Elizabeth for the self-described feminist and humanitarian.
In her first high-profile, solo charity project, Meghan collaborated with women at the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London on a charity cookbook which quickly became a bestseller.
In the following weeks, Meghan also gained a new role, vice president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust — a role that was previously supervised by the monarch herself. The Queen giving Meghan the honor to hold such a prestigious position was a huge jump in confidence for the royal newcomer.
The Duchess of Sussex also used her voice in subtle ways. She wrote empowering messages to women while visiting a charity that helps women break free from street sex work and addiction.
Even Prince Harry underwent a drastic transformation in the last year. He smiles more, and somehow, looking at him, it feels like he's at peace in his current role as a husband, and now, a father.
Junor says, "I think he may have become a little bit new age, a bit more like Meghan in his outlook on life - I think she once said avocado and yoga were the cure to most things!"
Meanwhile, when Meghan first stepped out into the world as a member of the British royal family, quite a few royal fans were quick to assess the American as someone who doesn't care much for royal protocols. She was slammed multiple times for the way she carried herself during various royal engagements, but the 38-year-old paid absolutely no heed to her haters.
Even during her lavish baby shower, which took place earlier this year, Meghan was called out for the expenses incurred on the trip, without the public realizing that the Duchess had not spent anything from taxpayers' money.
Speaking about how Meghan and Harry have become the go-to royals when it comes to doing things differently, Junor says, "I don’t think that Harry and Meghan’s way of doing things will necessarily filter across the family and change how others go about their lives. Although, inevitably, if it becomes clear to the family that the public prefers their very informal touchy-feely approach, then we could see others loosening up. Diana was a big influence on the way the rest of the family went about their business in the '80s and '90s."
While Meghan and Harry concentrated on their particular royal engagements, they were also gearing up for a drastic change in their lives: splitting up of the royal household.
It was a bigger deal for Harry than Meghan, for he had lived a majority of his life in the Kensington Palace, under the loving care of his brother William and doting sister-in-law Kate.
However, after rumors of the two Duchesses not getting along with each other spread, the move for a separate household for the once "Fab Four" became imminent.
Not long after the households were split, Harry and Meghan launched their own Instagram account, @SussexRoyal, which they have since used to showcase their official engagements and promote causes and charities important to them. And the duo made a conscious decision to escape the limelight of London and establish their main residence at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, about 25 miles outside of London.
Harry and Meghan were hands-on in the design of their home, including making sure that a gym and a home entertainment space were added.
The move took place shortly before Meghan's due date, which was supposed to be sometime in the last week of April, and within a few days of them shifting base onto a new location, the royal couple announced the birth of their beautiful baby boy Archie.
While there was not much that could top the moment Duchess Meghan walked down the aisle at St. George's Chapel, she and Prince Harry did manage to make an exception when they walked out at St. George's Hall holding their newborn Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
The royal couple introduced their son, the first American British biracial royal born in the U.K., to the public on May 8.
It remains to be seen how the new parents are going to keep their relationship alive with its former spark, especially since they have a baby on board.
But Junor seems to think that the arrival of their new baby will only result in the royal power couple getting closer to each other. "I think it can do nothing but bring them closer together. Unless they have wildly differing views on how he is brought up. Harry has spent his whole life in the spotlight and doesn’t want that for his son. Meghan has spent her whole life striving to get into the spotlight so she may think differently."
Junor further says that, when it comes to baby Archie's upbringing, there's going to a huge influence from the parenting styles adopted by not only Meghan's mother Doria Ragland, but also through Prince Harry's memories of Princess Diana and her parenting techniques. She says, "Most mothers call the shots, in my experience, and where they have had a loving mother, I think they tend to parent in the way their mother parented them."
Here's wishing the royal couple a great first wedding anniversary, with the hope that they have greater things to look forward to in the coming years of their blissful married life.
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