What a year to be a royal!
From the birth of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s third child to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, the royal family has kept a packed schedule. Not to mention the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first child!
Britain’s royal family also had its share of controversy in 2018, thanks to Meghan’s outspoken family and President Donald Trump’s visit with Queen Elizabeth II.
Overall, it’s been a year of much celebration! Here’s a look at the best moments, in chronological order, from the prestigious family:
Though Harry, Meghan, Kate and William had been spotted out together publicly, they didn’t host an official joint event together until late February. The “Royal Fab Four,” as they’ve been nicknamed, attended the inaugural Royal Foundation Forum where they spoke openly about their “healthy disagreements” and common goals. At the time, Meghan called the collaboration “togetherness at its finest.”
The heir to the throne was announced as the successor to the head of the Commonwealth in late April. Queen Elizabeth II was the head before her son, and expressed her intent for her eldest to take on the responsibilities. The title is not hereditary, and therefore not necessarily passed on to the next in line to the throne.
“I am deeply touched and honored by the decision of Commonwealth Heads of State and Government that I should succeed The Queen, in due course, as Head of the Commonwealth,” Charles said. “Meanwhile, I will continue to support Her Majesty in every possible way, in the service of our unique family of nations.”
In late April, Kate Middleton gave birth to her third child with William at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital. The couple did not share the little boy’s name until four days later. Prince Louis Arthur Charles is believed to be a tribute to the late Louis Mountbatten.
The birth of Louis also gave his older sister, Princess Charlotte, the chance to make history. The old succession law stated that the heir to the throne would be the firstborn son of the king or queen, and the title would pass to a daughter if there were no other sons. However, the new law now states that girls will not be overtaken by their younger brothers, meaning that Charlotte maintains her place as fourth in line to the throne even after Louis’ birth!
It was a historic day in Windsor, England, in May when Harry and Meghan tied the knot in front of an A-list crowd and the world at Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel. There was plenty of drama leading up to the nuptials, with Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, pulling out of the wedding after suffering a series of medical complications including a heart attack. Harry’s dad, Charles, stepped up at the last minute to walk the bride down the aisle in her stunning Givenchy gown and lengthy veil. The service featured precious pageboys and bridesmaids, including George and Charlotte, a rousing sermon from Bishop Michael Curry, plenty of adorable moments between Harry and Meghan, and lots of star guests. After they officially wed, the couple took a carriage ride around Windsor, greeting the crowds, and were given the title of Duke and Duchess of Sussex by Queen Elizabeth.
Ah, to be young and royal! George made one of his famous balcony appearances at Buckingham Palace in June at the annual Trooping the Colour parade. But it seems his cousin, Savannah, the granddaughter of Princess Anne, was not impressed by the heir to the throne’s chatty nature. Savannah was photographed covering George’s mouth and shushing him in some funny photos with the rest of the family.
One month after Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding, the bride’s father, Thomas, appeared on Good Morning Britain to share his side of the story about missing the historic moment. In the interview, Thomas gushed over his daughter and son-in-law, whom he hadn’t met in person. “The unfortunate thing for me now is that I’m a footnote in one of the greatest moments in history rather than the dad walking her down the aisle,” he said. “That really upsets me somewhat.”
This wasn’t the last time Thomas would speak to the press. As the months continued on and tensions rose, he once again gave an on-camera interview to The Sun in July, saying he felt the Duchess looked “terrified” when photographed doing her royal public duties. He added that he hadn’t spoken to Meghan since a call right after her wedding.
Later that month, Thomas noted to The Mail on Sunday that his daughter had “cut me off completely.”
The drama with her father didn’t seem to get Meghan down. In June, the former Suits star enjoyed a solo outing with Queen Elizabeth in Chesire, England. The pair appeared to be the best of pals, as they were photographed laughing and talking animatedly to one another at a series of public engagements. It marked Meghan’s first royal outing without her new husband, Harry, and a source told ET that Queen Elizabeth gifted her with a pair of pearl and diamond earrings for the occasion.
In July, the youngest royal was christened at The Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace in London, England. The newborn’s siblings were also in attendance, and the precious Charlotte loudly told photographers that they weren’t invited into the chapel for the ceremony. One noticeably absent guest was Queen Elizabeth, who respectfully bowed out of attending the event as she prepared for President Donald Trump’s visit at the end of the week.
During his visit to England in July, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump traveled to Windsor Castle for a private audience with Queen Elizabeth. The visit wasn’t without some controversy as Her Highness was seen checking her watch before the Trumps arrived 45 minutes late. The president also walked right in front of the Queen as they inspected the Guard of Honour, breaking several etiquette rules and forcing her to walk around him.
In her first solo project as a royal, the Duchess of Sussex collaborated with the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen to craft the cookbook, Together. The kitchen benefits those affected by last year’s tragic Grenfell Tower fire that took the lives of more than 70 people and displaced many more. To launch the cookbook, Meghan invited the women involved to Kensington Palace for a special lunch her mother, Doria Ragland, also attended. The proceeds enabled the kitchen to stay open seven days a week and produce around 200 meals a day for the community. Meghan later paid a visit to the kitchen the day before Thanksgiving to cook with the women once again.
After publicly lashing out and then apologizing to her half-sister, Samantha Markle made a surprise visit to Kensington Palace in October. She was photographed in a wheelchair at the gates, speaking with security. Samantha was also seen handing a guard a letter to give to the Duchess.
She later told DailyMailTV, “I wasn’t trying to crash anything. I’m very polite and respectful. I was not turned away from Kensington Palace. I’m pretty mature, I’m pretty composed I’m not the kind of person that’s turned away. I was very respectful, and I went there to deliver a letter.”
Months after Meghan and Harry’s wedding, Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew, returned to Windsor Castle for her own wedding to Jack Brooksbank. The big day was a more low-key affair than the nuptials that proceeded it, but included many personal touches. Eugenie donned a stunning off-the-shoulder gown designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, which intentionally accentuated the back scars she had from a childhood surgery for scoliosis.
Hours after touching down in Sydney, Australia, with Harry for their royal tour, Meghan announced through the palace that she was pregnant with her first child. The palace confirmed to ET that the Duchess had past her 12-week mark and was in “good health.” All this at the start of a 16-day tour on the other side of the world!
As Meghan’s baby news overtook the news cycle, Pippa Middleton quietly gave birth to her son, Arthur, in the same hospital as her sister, Kate, had welcomed all three of her children. Just days before, she had attended Eugenie’s wedding.
Sixteen days, 76 engagements, and one pregnancy! For the Duke and Duchess’ first major tour as a married couple, they didn’t slow down one bit. Traveling to four Commonwealth countries, they kicked off the Invictus Games, shared plenty of personal moments with well wishers, rocked some chic royal styles, and made some adorable hints to their growing family. Meghan also gave several speeches supporting women’s empowerment and education, which she penned herself, showcasing her skills and passions in her new role.
As the heir to the throne reached his milestone birthday, he was honored by his family and loved ones several times. Charles’ sons, William and Harry, spoke fondly of him in a BBC documentary, talking about his intense work ethic and passion for conservation. In honor of the occasion, several family portraits were also released, featuring Charles playing with his grandchildren. William noted that Charles is a “brilliant” grandfather, while lamenting that the children don’t get to see more of him.
For more from the royal family, watch the clip below: