Not since Prince William and Duchess Kate's 2011 wedding has the royal family enjoyed such a fantastically busy, bright year. Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look back at some of the biggest moments in their lives throughout 2018, including weddings, new babies, family drama and long-held family traditions… starting with the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 9. Queen Elizabeth II has enjoyed this royal procession, also known as the Queen's Birthday Parade, with her family since 1951 when she was still a princess who was just filling in for her ill father, King George VI. At this year's Trooping the Colour, the queen — who was celebrating her 92nd birthday — was joined on the balcony of Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles, Duchess Meghan, Prince Harry, Duchess Kate, Prince William and grandchildren Princess Charlotte, Savannah Phillips and Prince George. Keep reading for more memorable royal moments of 2018…
RELATED: The hottest royal dads
Perhaps no royal moment in 2018 was bigger than the May 19 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who exchanged vows before friends, family, celebrities (like Serena Williams, George Clooney and the Beckhams) and a worldwide audience of reportedly 29.2 million people. From the new Duchess Meghan of Sussex being escorted down the aisle by Prince Charles to images of the former actress' mother, Doria Ragland, proudly tearing up during the ceremony to Prince Harry's face when he first laid eyes on his beautiful bride, their wedding was one of the most spectacular events of the year and one we won't soon forget.
On Oct. 15, Kensington Palace shared the royally exciting news that Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry, seen here on Oct. 3, were expecting their first baby, who's due in the spring of 2019.
We got two royal weddings this year! Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank were married at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle (where Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan tied the knot) on Oct. 12. The bride wore a stunning diamond and emerald tiara and a long sleeve, low-back ivory gown from designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos that revealed her surgical scar from a scoliosis operation she had when she was 12. The gorgeous autumn ceremony included Eugenie and Jack's families as well as famous faces like Liv Tyler, Naomi Campbell, Ellie Goulding and Demi Moore. During the wedding, famed Italian singer Andrea Bocelli even sang two songs for the couple.
The royal family grew just a little bit bigger with the birth of Prince William and Duchess Kate's third child, Prince Louis Arthur Charles, who arrived on April 23 weighing a healthy 8 pounds, 7 ounces.
Prince Charles celebrated a milestone birthday on Nov. 14 when he turned 70 years old. To celebrate, the Prince of Wales invited family and friends to a glitzy party at Buckingham Palace. His mother, Queen Elizabeth II, raised a toast to her eldest child, saying, "Over his 70 years, Philip and I have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader — a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history — and a wonderful father," the monarch said. "Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative." Other guests included his children, Prince William and Prince Harry, daughters-in-law Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan, niece Princess Eugenie and her new husband, Jack Brooksbank, and many of the younger generation of royals' friends.
On July 13, President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump (not pictured), arrived at England's Windsor Castle, where they were hosted by Queen Elizabeth II. The meeting, which included tea with the monarch, was widely criticized in both Britain — thousands of protesters flooded London streets in anticipation of Trump's arrival — and America. Following the brief get-together, stories emerged claiming the president broke protocol by arriving late, not bowing to the queen and, seen here, walking in front of Queen Elizabeth during an inspection of the guard, which caused her to awkwardly have to walk around him when he abruptly stopped. While these claims have been disputed, we do know that no other members of the immediate royal family, including Prince Charles, Prince William or Prince Harry, were present to meet Donald and Melania during their four-day visit.
The most famous royal sister-in-law made waves in 2018 when she announced she was expecting her first child with husband James Matthews. Duchess Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, seen here with James on Oct. 12 at Princess Eugenie's wedding, confirmed her pregnancy in an unusual way in June — by writing about it in her column in Waitrose Weekend magazine titled "Exercising While Pregnant." On Oct. 15, the very same day Kensington Palace announced Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry's pregnancy, Pippa and James welcomed a healthy 8 pound, 9 ounce baby boy into the world.
On May 22, the world got its first look at newlyweds Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan following their highly publicized May 19 wedding day. The pair opted to remain at home in London instead of immediately heading out on their honeymoon in order to attend an early 70th birthday celebration for Prince Charles. The new Duke and Duchess of Sussex left for their honeymoon later that week but have remained mum on exactly where they went. In June, Harry shot down reports that they were in a certain African nation as had been widely speculated. "No, we didn't go to Namibia," he told a reporter. "I'm not going to say where."
The christening of Prince Louis in July reunited the Middletons and the royal family. The ceremony took place when Louis was a little over 2 months old and was held at the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace in London.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan began their royal tour Down Under on Oct. 16 — just a day after announcing Meghan's pregnancy. The couple kicked things off in Sydney, where they also attended Harry's beloved Invictus Games, and also headed to Fiji (seen here), Tonga and New Zealand. Over the course of their 16-day visit, they made a jaw-dropping 76 appearances!
After six months of maternity leave, Duchess Kate was back at work on Oct. 2 with an official royal visit to the Sayers Croft Forest School and Wildlife Garden in London. Kate attended the event on her own and even received a few hugs from two excited children.
On Jan. 31, Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall made a rare visit to ITV's London studios to chat with the hosts of "This Morning" to help kick off the show's 30th anniversary celebration. The royal couple delighted audiences by playing with a few dogs on the set before tasting a specially made mutton from studio chef Phil Vickery.
In early May, shortly before Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry's wedding, the world learned that Meghan's father, Thomas Markle Sr., would be walking his daughter down the aisle. As images of Thomas prepping for his daughter's big day emerged — they showed him exercising, being measured for a suit and even reading articles about his daughter at an internet cafe — a scandal erupted when reports revealed that Thomas had actually posed for the paparazzi photos and arranged to take a cut of sales. Thomas apologized for embarrassing his daughter and pulled out of his wedding duties after he suffered a heart attack, he said, and had to undergo a related surgery. On June 18, nearly a month after the royal nuptials, Thomas made an appearance on "Good Morning Britain" (seen here) where he talked about the staged photos, saying it wasn't for the money but was, rather, a way to control his image after he'd endured so much bad press. He said he "regretted it." He also said that, along with millions of other viewers, he watched his daughter's wedding on television. Through it all, Meghan kept her royal composure, never speaking publicly about her father's antics.
Unfortunately, Duchess Meghan's family drama didn't end with her dad. One of the most outspoken members of Meghan's clan all year long was her estranged half-sister, Samantha Markle, who has repeatedly spoken negatively about the retired actress. After admitting to being the mastermind behind dad Thomas Markle's paparazzi photo deal and repeatedly speaking out about not being invited to the royal wedding, Samantha continued to bash her half-sister and eventually traveled to England to confront the duchess, saying she was hoping for resolution. Of course, that meeting never happened and Samantha instead appeared on British talk show "Jeremy Vine" where, shockingly, she issued an apology. While we all hoped Samantha would finally stop, after news of Meghan's pregnancy broke, Samantha was at it again, first issuing platitudes before turning the happy moment sour by talking about how hurtful it was that their dad — who gave interviews critical of the royal family all summer long — was excluded from the royal pregnancy announcement (which included good wishes from Meghan's impeccably behaved mom, Doria Ragland).
New royal romance alert! Princess Beatrice has been dating 34-year-old property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi (pictured in 2013) for two months, The Sun reported on Nov. 18, adding that things are getting serious quickly. The 30-year-old royal reportedly wasted no time introducing Edo — who is a divorced father of one — to her parents, Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York. "Beatrice and Edo have the same circle of friends and were introduced through a mutual chum," said a source. "They hit it off instantly and have a real laugh together. They've been on holiday together and Beatrice introduced him to Fergie and her dad. Things are moving very quickly and it wouldn't surprise anyone if they got engaged within a short period of time. … Everyone is thrilled that Bea is so happy and in such a good place right now."
Queen Elizabeth II managed to have more than a few incredible moments this year too, particularly in April when she hosted 53 world leaders for the annual Commonwealth Heads of State Dinner at Buckingham Palace. Dressed in a shimmering gown that was only eclipsed by the sparkle of her crown, the queen welcomed guests like President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (seen here). The dinner was especially noteworthy because it was where the monarch publicly declared that she wanted son Prince Charles to succeed her as head of the Commonwealth. "It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949," she said.
The Fab Four united on July 10, 2018, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London. While watching the marching parade below and the impressive 100-aircraft flyover to commemorate the event, the pilot princes each donned full military regalia showcasing their many medals, including Prince Harry's Army Air Corps Wings and Prince William's Royal Air Force Wings. Duchess Meghan and Duchess Kate stood beside their husbands during the celebration that saw Queen Elizabeth II present new colors to the Royal Air Force.
Speaking of Prince Charles, the future king had his own big moment in 2018 when he received the Editor's Lifetime Achievement Award for Services to Philanthropy during the GQ Men of the Year Awards in September. Charles, who's spent 50 years participating in charitable programs and has given to or served as president of more than 400 charities, has also founded several of his own organizations including the Prince's Rainforests Project and the Prince's Regeneration Project.
Another member of the royal family who had reason to celebrate in 2018 was the queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall, who announced her pregnancy in January. The happy news came just a year after Zara and her husband, retired professional rugby player Mike Tindall, suffered a miscarriage (Zara later revealed she'd actually suffered two). Daughter Lena joined big sister Mia in June.
Less than two months after Meghan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex, she was seen hobnobbing in public with her new sister-in-law, Duchess Kate. The two royals enjoyed their first public solo sister time while at Wimbledon to watch the men's semi-finals.
Duchess Meghan accompanied Queen Elizabeth II on an overnight visit to Cheshire, England, on the royal train for a joint engagement — yup, no Prince Harry — less than a month after her royal wedding. The queen, who's been incredibly supportive of her new granddaughter-in-law, reportedly gifted Meghan a pair pearl and diamond earrings from her personal collection before their trip, which consisted of three official stops including the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge.
Duchess Meghan proved herself worthy of her title when she attended her first official solo royal engagement. The newly minted member of the Windsor family made her first solo appearance at the Oceania exhibition opening at the Royal Academy of Arts in London on Sept. 25 and was the picture of composure and grace. Meghan even made an effort to learn the traditional Maori greeting called hongi which involves pressing your nose to another's nose as a sign of respect and friendship.
A Fab Four reunion! Royals fans were thrilled to see Prince William, Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan and Duchess Kate all together when they attended the National Service to mark the Centenary of the Armistice on Nov. 11. The public outing came on the heels of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's return from their first lengthy royal tour as a married couple — and on the heels of rumors that once the Sussexes welcome their first child in the spring of 2019, William and Harry will split up their courts and offices since both will have their own families and increasingly diverse agendas.
A new home! On Nov. 23, Kensington Palace confirmed that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are getting a bigger place: They're moving out of their two-bedroom cottage in London in early 2019. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will move to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate early next year as they prepare for the arrival of their first child. The couple have lived at Nottingham Cottage since their engagement last year," the palace told People magazine in a statement. "Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate. The Duke and Duchess's official office will continue to be based at Kensington Palace." Windsor — where the couple married in May — is about 30 miles west of London. Though it's called a "cottage," their new home is anything but small: It reportedly has 10 bedrooms and, People reports, will be renovated as it's currently divided into five units that house palace staffers. The couple also have a country home in England's Cotswolds region, which is where they like to spend their weekends.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II might be in her 90s, but that doesn't stop her from showing up at some of the coolest venues on earth. On Feb. 20, the long-reigning monarch sat front row at British Fashion Week next to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to catch the latest looks from up-and-coming designer Richard Quinn. Following the show, the queen personally bestowed Richard with the first annual Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.
Five months after a planned hip surgery and age-related health problems that have kept him mostly out of the public eye following his official retirement from royal events in 2017 after 65 years of service, 97-year-old Prince Philip made a visit to his wife the queen's summer retreat at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in September. The prince has been driving himself around the property after enjoying long walks and the occasional fishing trip (he's also been spotted driving a horse-drawn carriage around their castle in Windsor!), proving age isn't keeping him from what he loves.
On Sept. 23, Lord Ivan Mountbatten (left) — who is the queen's third cousin once removed — and partner James Coyle wed, marking the first-ever same-sex royal wedding in Britain's history. The couple, seen here on May 6 in New York, had an intimate ceremony in Devonshire where the lord was even given away by his former wife of 17 years, Penny Mountbatten.
Talk about a big year for Duchess Meghan. Not only did she get married and announce her first pregnancy, but she pulled off an incredibly successful surprise endeavor that happened to be totally on-brand to boot. In September, the foodie and onetime food and wine blogger, accompanied by husband Prince Harry and mom Doria Ragland, launched "Together: Our Community Cookbook" (she wrote the forward), which showcases recipes from the London home cooks who met and worked together at a community kitchen to make and serve food to their families following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire that killed 74 people. The cookbook was an instant bestseller and proceeds are now funding a community kitchen that will be open all week long.
Another royal wedding is on the horizon! In September, Buckingham Palace announced that Lady Gabriella, who is the daughter of the queen's first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, is engaged to financier Thomas Kingston. The couple will likely wed sometime in the spring of 2019, but due to her ranking as 51st in line to the throne (52nd after Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry give birth to their first child), it's unlikely her wedding will include the same pomp and circumstance enjoyed by her more famous royal cousins.
A year following Duchess Meghan's first official royal appearance as Prince Harry's girlfriend at the annual Invictus Games in Toronto, she returned — this time as his wife. The event was founded by Harry in 2014 as a way to inspire wounded service members and veterans through sporting competitions and, much like the Olympics, opens each year in a different international city. This year, the couple made their way to Sydney, Australia, during their royal tour Down Under to launch and celebrate this year's games.
At just 5, a dapper Prince George is already making waves as one of the most stylish people in England. The prince, who has a habit of setting kiddie fashion trends, was included in Tatler's annual list of Britain's best dressed, making him one of just 30 select individuals who represent the top tier of U.K. fashion. Others on the list include his mom, Duchess Kate, and celebrities like Lily James and Harry Styles.