13 Signs Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Were Going To Get Engaged That You Totally Missed

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According to Vogue, the sweetest actor/prince couple went on their first date in July 2016 — which means the pair dated for just a year and half before Prince Harry proposed. This may have seemed sudden. But actually, there were plenty of signs you totally missed that Harry and Meghan Markle were going to get engaged that were dropped along the way. For those who weren’t obsessively tracking the progress of the Suits star’s relationship with a royal, let’s explore.

In a nutshell, a lot of it was about timing. Stuff that you might expect would happen a year or longer into a relationship — big holidays to Harry's most special place, Christmases together, appearing at big work events as a couple — were taking place after a matter of months. Clearly, this pair have been head over heels for each other from day one. But it isn't just about intimacy taking place at the speed of light. There were also cryptic clues from Markle's side (on her blog, on her social media and in a magazine interview) that something exciting was happening in her personal life. So no wonder that according to the royal press statement about the proposal, Markle and Harry are set to marry next spring. It's consistent with the intensity and speed that has defined the pair since the beginning.

1They Went To Botswana After Just Two Dates

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Town and Country report that Markle and Harry went to Botswana after "just two dates on two consecutive dates in London in July of 2016." Arguably, this isn't something you do with someone you think is just kind of okay.

2This Was Doubly Special Because Of What Botswana Means To Harry

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Of course, the fact that the royal chose to take the actor here and not simply on a vacation somewhere sunny in proximity to a great swimming pool also feels relevant. The Town and Country article about Botswana was written by Klara Glowczewska, who claims to have first met Harry shortly after his holiday with Markle. She claims he told her that the place was particularly special for him and he still sets aside four to six weeks every summer to travel there and to work in wildlife conservation. Bringing Markle here so soon implies he trusted her enough to show her one of his favorite places on the planet.

3A Tabloid Reported Just Three Months In That Harry Was Incredibly Happy

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In October 2016, The Express confirmed that Harry was in a relationship with Markle and cited an unnamed source who said that "He’s happier than he’s been for many years." The same source suggested it wasn't just about the actor's beauty, saying "There is a definite meeting of minds between them as well as a physical attraction. The romance is in its early stages but it’s no exaggeration to say he’s besotted with her."

4In The Same Month, Markle Published This Adorable Instagram Post

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While it's true that the post could be a general shout out to fans, those bananas are definitely giving off a couply vibe. Was this a secret message to her future fiancee?

5Harry Defended His Girlfriend In A Royal Press Statement

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In November 2016, Kensington Palace released a statement "by the communications secretary to Prince Harry" in which the prince decried "the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments" directed at Markle and in which he criticized the press for its racist handling of the relationship. The Guardian called the press statement an "unprecedented attack on the British press by the prince for its coverage and harassment of Markle." Given the fact that this was the first time the prince had defended a girlfriend in a royal press statement, it suggested this wasn't just a fling.

6They Bought A Christmas Tree Together

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E! Online reported in December 2016 that Markle and Harry had bought a Christmas tree together. Sure, it's not an engagement ring. But as anyone knows who's bought a Christmas tree, it's a massive hassle that's roughly equivalent to a trip to Ikea, and it isn't a journey you embark on with someone unless you know they'll be your rock along the way.

7Markle Said Goodbye To The Tig

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In April 2017, after working on the project for almost three years, the actor shut down her lifestyle blog, The Tig. As Elle put it, "Can a future princess do her duties and maintain a lifestyle site? The answer, for now, seems to be no" and claimed that this was a "hint that things are getting very serious between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry." It's also worth noting that the image above was the final Instagram photo the actor published this year, also suggesting she was removing herself from public scrutiny and adopting the more private ways of future royalty.

8Markle Attended Pippa Middleton’s Wedding Reception

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In May 2017 The Express reported that Markle was seen arriving at the Middletons' family home, where the wedding took place at just after 8pm and that the prince picked his girlfriend up from Kensington Palace in a chauffeured Audi. Since it also reported that only "very close family" would attend the big day, it hinted at how important the actor was to Prince Harry.

9Harry Was Reported To Have Asked Queen Elizabeth's Permission To Propose

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According to Marie Claire, English law dictates that the monarch must give their permission for an heir to wed. The magazine reports a source told The Mirror and The Daily Express. "The way it’s going, the engagement will probably happen this year. Harry has got approval from the Queen to propose to Meghan, he’s already had those conversations with her majesty. An engagement is imminent."

10Markle Opened Up About Their Relationship To 'Vanity Fair'

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On appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair in September 2017, the star spoke openly about her relationship with Prince Harry, stating "We’re two people who are really happy and in love." She fueled rumors she and Harry were engaged when she said that "I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us."

11The Prince And The Actor Made Their First Public Appearance Together At The Invictus Games

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In the same month The Star reported the pair had made their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto, a sporting event which The Telegraph reported Prince Harry had set up to organize "wounded and ill service men, women and veterans" to "compete in a range of events." Given the pair's preference for privacy, their public outing together at an event so close to Harry's heart suggested they were a serious item.

12Markle Seemed Ready To Leave 'Suits'

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In November, Deadline reported the star was "eyeing an exit" after Season 7 of Suits. You don't leave a show you've been on, according to actor Markle's IMDb, for seven years, unless it's for something big.

13She Moved Into Kensington Palace

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People reported in the same month that the star had moved into Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace. Since, as the magazine observed, this was exactly the pattern Prince William and Kate Middleton had followed before their engagement, briefly living together in North Wales prior to the proposal, it suggested big things were afoot.

It may have seemed like it came out of nowhere. But this proposal has been a long time coming and as the above proves, fans were given plenty of opportunities to notice how intensely the couple felt about one another from the very beginning.