Happy Birthday, Meghan Markle! Inside Her Transitional Year Into Motherhood and Royalty

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Meghan Markle is another year older!

The Duchess of Sussex celebrates her 38th birthday on Sunday and is capping off an incredible year. While this marks Meghan's second birthday as royalty -- she wed Prince Harry back in May 2018 -- it is her first full year in her duchess role as well as her first as a mother.

Throughout the year, Meghan has made headlines nonstop for everything from her family to her fashion, which means there is plenty to look back on and praise. Keep reading for how Meghan has adjusted to her whirlwind year as well as some of our favorite moments with the duchess. 

Moving to Frogmore

Back in April, Harry and Meghan prepared for the arrival of their firstborn, 2-month-old Archie, by moving into their new home, Frogmore Cottage.

According to a source, Meghan was involved every step of the way in preparing the 10-bedroom home for her growing family, alongside interior designer Vicky Charles. The extensive renovation included two conservatory extensions, a new kitchen and several fireplaces, the source said.

The move was an important one to make before Archie's arrival as, a source told ET, the large gardens would offer him freedom from the paparazzi to play outdoors and enjoy a wonderful childhood.

Prior to the move, a source told ET that Meghan and Harry "couldn’t be more excited about starting their life together with their new baby and are keen that their child will be able to enjoy their privacy away from the goldfish bowl."

Breaking protocols 

Though Meghan seems to have effortlessly slipped into her royal role, she has also made it a point to continue to use her voice and do things her own way. This was never more clear than with the birth of her son.

Ahead of Archie's arrival, Harry and Meghan revealed that they would not immediately announce their child's birth as Prince William and Kate Middleton made it a point to do for each of their three children. Additionally, instead of posing on the hospital steps with the newborn like her sister-in-law, Meghan opted to do a photocall a few days after the birth.

Once Archie was born, the non-traditional choices continued during the photocall. Though Harry and Meghan briefly answered questions from one reporter, they neither clearly showed their son's face nor revealed his name. When the name announcement did eventually come, it was through an Instagram post, which was, once again, an unexpected royal choice.

Keeping her friends close

Despite being a member of the royal family, Meghan made sure to maintain her relationships with her friends, who include Serena Williams, Abigail Spencer and Amal Clooney.

This was largely seen at the duchess' lavish New York City baby shower, which Serena co-hosted alongside Meghan's other pal, Genevieve Hillis. Complete with a harpist, flower arranging and food by Michelin star Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, attendee Gayle King couldn't help but gush over the soiree after the fact.

"She's very kind, she's very generous, a really, really sweet person," King said on CBS This Morning. "So I think her friends just wanted to celebrate her... It was a very, very small, private, affair and just a very special time for her. Because having a baby is a great joy." 

Months later, Meghan made a giant gesture following Serena's rave work as a baby shower host, when she broke her maternity leave to watch her pal compete at Wimbledon. Alongside Genevieve and her other college pal, Lindsay Roth, Meghan watched Serena win her round two match against Kaja Juvan.

Though Meghan's appearance was unannounced, ahead of her arrival, a source told ET that the duchess was planning to attend. According to the source, the only thing that would've stopped Meghan from attending the annual tennis tournament was if Archie kept "her home last minute."

... And her so-called enemies closer

While Meghan's time in the royal family has been relatively drama-free, rumors swirled this year about a potential rift between her and Kate. Kate and Meghan, as well as William and Harry, seem to have used Archie's birth as a reason to "improve [their] relationship," royal expert Katie Nicholl told ET. 

Following the birth of Archie, Nicholl said that "Kate has made herself available to Meghan if she needs advice, if she needs any help. And Kate said to her, 'I'm here. I'm here for you.'"

Additionally, the two duchesses have attended many events together since Archie's arrival including Trooping of the Colour, Wimbledon and a charity polo match, things that, Nicholl said, "hopefully put to rest the rumors that Kate and Meghan don't get along."

While things seem to be well between the women now, Nicholl cautioned that those very outings could be merely for appearances.

"I think those candid pictures were quite deliberately intended to snuff out those rumors of the feud between the foursome," Nicholl said, referencing Kate and Meghan's time at the polo match. "And you saw them all very close, very happy, very comfortable with each other."

Being an Instagram expert

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Spotlight on: Smart Works We are proud to be supporting a very special initiative this autumn for @SmartWorksCharity! After quiet visits to Smartworks over the last year, The Duchess was moved by the impactful work being done by this non profit organisation that helps women into the workforce, equipping them with both the skills and clothes they need to feel job-ready. Throughout her visits she noticed that while the donations were plentiful, they were also notably a combination of mismatched items and colours which weren’t always the right stylistic choices or sizes that didn’t necessarily “suit” the job at hand: to make a woman feel confident and inspired as she walked into her job interview. As a result, launching this autumn, The Duchess will be supporting a collective to help equip the women of Smart Works with the key workwear essentials they need as they enter into the workplace. This initiative is supported by four generous brands who share the vision to empower the women of Smart Works to look and feel 💯 as they bravely venture in to what can often be a daunting environment for those who have been out of the job market. The brands have come together to work towards this united force for good, “[reframing] the idea of charity as community,” as The Duchess writes in a piece for this month’s British Vogue. They will follow the 1:1 model where an item from the collection purchased is an item shared with a woman of Smart Works because “not only does this allow us to be part of each other’s story; it reminds us we are in it together.” For more information on how you can be part of another woman’s success story visit @smartworkscharity. Special thanks to: @JohnLewisandPartners, @MarksandSpencer, @MishaNonoo, @InsideJigsaw for supporting this very special organisation. And to find out more, read the September issue of @BritishVogue and stay tuned for more exciting updates this autumn. Photo©️SussexRoyal

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Since Meghan and Harry's joint Instagram account, Sussex Royal, joined the platform in April, fans have enjoyed getting a peek into the duke and duchess' life. While photos highlighting their charitable endeavors, family and exciting adventures have certainly made royal watchers happy, there's another reason why Meghan's been lauded for the account -- many think she's running it.

The questions surrounding who helms the account began circulating just weeks after its inception, with fans pointing out the American spelling of words, the use of U.S.-based colloquial terms and the occasional decision to add an emoji as clues that Meghan may be behind the page.

Whether or not she's actively running the account, @SussexRoyal has been a source of good in its short lifespan, working to highlight new causes and charities every month.

Crushing it as a working mom

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We are proud to announce that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex is the Guest Editor for the September issue of @BritishVogue. For the past seven months, The Duchess has curated the content with British Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful to create an issue that highlights the power of the collective. They have named the issue: “Forces for Change” For the cover, The Duchess chose a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness. The sixteenth space on the cover, a mirror, was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective. The women on the cover include: @AdwoaAboah @AdutAkech @SomaliBoxer @JacindaArdern @TheSineadBurke @Gemma_Chan @LaverneCox @JaneFonda @SalmaHayek @FrankieGoesToHayward @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @YaraShahidi @GretaThunberg @CTurlington We are excited to announce that within the issue you’ll find: an exclusive interview between The Duchess and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, a candid conversation between The Duke of Sussex and Dr Jane Goodall, inspirational articles written by Brené Brown, Jameela Jamil and many others. Equally, you’ll find grassroots organisations and incredible trailblazers working tirelessly behind the scenes to change the world for the better. • “Guest Editing the September issue of British Vogue has been rewarding, educational and inspiring. To deep dive into this process, working quietly behind the scenes for so many months, I am happy to now be able to share what we have created. A huge thanks to all of the friends who supported me in this endeavour, lending their time and energy to help within these pages and on the cover. Thank you for saying “Yes!” - and to Edward, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” - The Duchess of Sussex #ForcesForChange

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Between potentially running her own Instagram account, being a wife to Harry and a mother to Archie, Meghan also found time to guest edit the September issue of British Vogue. The issue, titled "Forces of Change," features 15 women on the cover instead of Meghan herself because, according to Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful, "she felt that it would be in some ways a 'boastful' thing to do for this particular project."

In a statement following the cover reveal, Meghan called the seven-month-long job "a rewarding process."

"Through this lens I hope you’ll feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover as well as the team of support I called upon within the issue to help bring this to light," the statement read. "I hope readers feel as inspired as I do, by the 'Forces for Change' they'll find within these pages."

In the editor's letter, Meghan further expressed why the job was so important to her.

“I was about five months pregnant when this process began, and by the time you hold this issue in your hands, my husband and I will be holding our three-month-old baby boy in ours,” she wrote. “It’s a very special time for me personally, on so many levels; working with Edward and his team, both during my pregnancy and my maternity leave, has played no small part in that joy – it has been a privilege to be welcomed and supported by this amazing team.”

Watch the video below for more on Meghan's British Vogue gig.

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