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.
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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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.
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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.
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
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”.
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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.
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