sussexes-year

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: key moments as they mark one year since leaving royal life

The Sussexes are now living with Archie in Santa Barbara

Danielle Stacey

It has been a whole year since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their decision to step back as senior royals and their plans to "work to become financially independent".

The statement shared in an Instagram post on 8 January 2020 made headlines around the world and just days later, a meeting dubbed the Sandringham Summit took place between Prince Harry, the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge.

READ: When will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle return to the UK in 2021?

Loading the player...

 

WATCH: Harry and Meghan: a year on from leaving royal life behind

HELLO! takes a look back at Harry and Meghan's year since their announcement and how they're settling into their new life with their son Archie in the US.

Final royal engagements

The Sussexes carried out their final public engagements on UK soil as senior royals in March 2020, with the couple attending the Endeavour Fund Awards and the Mountbatten Festival of Music together.

MORE: The secret meaning behind Meghan Markle's farewell tour wardrobe

MORE: 7 royals who gave up their titles for love

royals-depart-commonwealth

Harry and Meghan's final public engagement with the royals in March

Harry and Meghan's last public outing with the royal family took place at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey a few days later, before they returned to Vancouver Island in Canada.  

Settling into life in the US

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold around the world, Harry, Meghan and Archie made the move from Canada to the US.

The Sussexes resided temporarily at Hollywood producer Tyler Perry's mansion in Beverly Hills for the first few months of their new life in California.

The couple shifted their focus to helping those in their local community during lockdown, when they volunteered to deliver food and medicine to people in isolation in LA in April.

Archie's first birthday

Since before his birth in May 2019, Harry and Meghan have expressed their wish to raise their son as a private citizen.

Archie has only made a handful of public appearances, but royal fans were delighted when the Duke and Duchess released an adorable video of Meghan reading Duck! Rabbit! to the tot to mark his first birthday last May.

MORE: 12 adorable photos of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's son Archie

prince-harry-meghan-markle-archie-z-z

Archie celebrated his first birthday in May

The sweet clip was shared by Save The Children UK to support their campaign to help young people affected by the pandemic.

In the same month, the Sussexes also celebrated their second wedding anniversary.

First family home

The Sussexes moved into their new family home in Montecito, Santa Barbara in July, and can count Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Gwyneth Paltrow among their celebrity neighbours.

A source previously told HELLO! in October: "They are now in their own family home, which they haven't had properly before.

"It's theirs, it's their forever home, where they are going to base themselves. 

"Archie is moving about and is lively and they’re having a great time."

MORE: Prince Harry & Meghan's £11.2million house is full of hidden references - see inside

meghan-home-living-room

Meghan and Harry's chic living room inside their Montecito abode

Harry and Meghan have shared glimpses of their stylish home during their video calls, including their gorgeous living room.

Furnishings include nest wall prints from Barloga Studios, Diptyque candles and several coffee table books.

Public appearances

During the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Sussexes kept in touch with their various patronages and charities using video calls.

The couple have continued to focus on social issues such as racial injustice, gender equality, mental health and environmental concerns.

MORE: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's relationship timeline: from their first date to baby Archie

meghan-speech

The Sussexes (pictured in 2019) have continued to highlight important issues

Meghan recorded a powerful message in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, as she addressed graduates from her old school, the Immaculate Heart High School, in June.

Meanwhile, Harry admitted he had no idea that "unconscious bias existed" until "living a day or a week in my wife's [Meghan's] shoes" during a video conversation with activist Patrick Hutchinson for GQ magazine.

In the lead-up to the US election in November, the couple also urged the American public to vote. Meghan was joined by the couple's dogs, Guy and Pula, as she took part in a Q&A with feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

Meghan's miscarriage

Tragically, in July, the Duchess suffered a miscarriage, later writing movingly about the heartbreaking experience to break the stigma around baby and pregnancy loss.

In a personal piece for the New York Times, entitled The Losses We Share, Meghan wrote: "Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband's heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realised that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, 'Are you OK?'"

The Duchess was praised by baby loss awareness charities for breaking down the stigma.

High Court privacy case

Meghan launched legal action against Associated Newspapers (ANL), publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over articles from February 2019, which featured parts of a "private and confidential" letter from the Duchess to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.

While Meghan lost a bid to stop royal biography Finding Freedom from being used in the Mail On Sunday's defence during a hearing in October, she previously won a bid to keep secret the identities of five friends who gave an anonymous interview to PEOPLE magazine in February 2019.

MORE: 7 facts from Meghan Markle's High Court privacy case

finding-freedom

Royal biography Finding Freedom was published in August 

A trial date provisionally set for 11 January 2021 was vacated and a new date is set to be confirmed for autumn 2021 after Meghan's lawyers gave a "confidential ground" as to why a postponement was needed.

The Duchess' legal team are set to apply for a summary judgment at a hearing in January 2021, a step that could see the case resolved without a trial.

Archewell, Netflix deal and podcast launch

In June, it was confirmed that Harry and Meghan had signed with A-list speaking agency Harry Walker and since then, the couple have been busy with a number of projects.

The following month, the Sussexes set up their own production company and landed a deal with Netflix to create "content that informs but also gives hope".

MORE: Best photos from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding

royal-wedding-tiara

Harry and Meghan married in May 2018

The website for their not-for-profit charitable organisation Archewell was launched in October, with its homepage updated last month, including sweet baby photos of Harry and Meghan alongside a statement.

The couple rounded off 2020 with the launch of their Archewell Audio podcast series in partnership with Spotify. A Holiday Special saw special guest appearances from Sir Elton John, James Corden and Harry and Meghan's son, Archie, who giggled adorably at the end of the episode.

Make sure you never miss a ROYAL story! Sign up to our newsletter to get all of our celebrity, royal and lifestyle news delivered directly to your inbox.

Activate HELLO! alerts and find out about everything before anyone else.