The Sussex family and the British Royal Family celebrated the first birthday of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s daughter, Lilibet, on June 4, 2022. She was born a year before in Santa Monica, California, making her the late Queen Elizabeth II’s 12th great-grandchild.

Queen Elizabeth was yet to see her youngest great-grandchild in person, having only seen her through virtual communication channels until June 2022. Fortunately, before her death on September 8 of that year, she was reunited with the newest member of their family for her Platinum Jubilee – an event established to commemorate Elizabeth’s extraordinary 70-year reign as monarch.

Harry and Meghan came from their new home in America to attend this historic event. They made their first public appearance together in more than two years at a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Although they were not invited to join the rest of the royal family on Buckingham Palace’s balcony for Trooping The Colour, which consisted of several days’ worth of jubilee activities, photographers caught a glimpse of Meghan playing with some other royal relatives in one of Buckingham Palace’s windows during the parade.

Fans worldwide have been pleased to witness Lilibet grow up right in front of their eyes as she turns one year old. The return trip from America demonstrates Harry and Meghan’s dedication to commemorating this momentous milestone, despite criticism for abandoning their royal duties. More importantly, it gave Lilibet and her brother Archie a lovely homage to their great-grandmother as they celebrated her first birthday as a member of their growing family.

Harry was born on September 15, 1984, at St. Mary’s Hospital’s Lindo Wing in Paddington, London. He was taken to his late mother, Princess Diana, and his father, King Charles III. While his high-profile upbringing had challenges, including his parents’ divorce, Harry was noted for his cheerful view of life. His mother’s death in 1997 left him with a significant emotional wound he has endured for many years.

Harry’s interest in military service began to solidify; by 2005, he had enrolled in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he served honorably for eleven years before retiring from active duty in May 2015. Despite this, he found methods to continue helping others by volunteering and assisting wounded service members.

During his military career, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant with The Household Cavalry and served two tours in Afghanistan before being appointed Captain General of the Royal Marines by Her Majesty The Queen in 2017; he succeeded Prince Philip, who had previously held the position.

Harry met Meghan Markle on a blind date in 2016, and it was love at first sight for both of them! Their passion for growing didn’t take long; Harry said, “I was astonished when I walked into that room and saw her…I’m going to have to boost my game here!” They married in 2018 at Windsor Castle, just over three years later, before planning to stand down from their senior royal posts at the end of 2020.

Meghan and Prince Harry’s romantic adventure began with their marriage in 2018, and they have since been showering the globe with their beautiful love. The couple has two children, Archie and recently-born Lilibet Diana. Still, their life has not been without challenges, as they declared their departure from the royal family only a few years after marrying.

On January 8, 2020, the pair released an Instagram statement stating their plans to retire as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family to live a more independent life while remaining utterly supportive of Her Majesty The Queen. In response, Queen Elizabeth issued a sympathetic note in which she expressed her understanding of Harry and Meghan’s decision, even though she would have preferred that they remain full-time working members of the royal family.

Lilibet’s name was chosen in honor of Queen Elizabeth, whose family nickname is Lilibet, and The Princess of Wales, honored through her middle name Diana. Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the couple’s first child, is two years old. Following the birth of their baby, Harry and Meghan issued an official statement thanking everyone for their well-wishes and prayers during this critical period as a family.

The royal family was overjoyed to learn of Meghan and Harry’s new baby, especially as it would be Queen Elizabeth II’s eleventh great-grandchild. This baby was notable since it was named after Queen Elizabeth’s loving nickname “Lilibet,” which her close family members had given her because she couldn’t pronounce her name as a young princess.

Meghan and Harry had kept their children’s photos private, releasing an up-close and personal snapshot of Lilibet, one-year-old, all the more special. The image, which showed Lilibet smiling in a lovely baby blue dress with a white ribbon in her hair, instantly went viral and revealed that the tiny princess inherited her father’s characteristic red locks.

While King Charles’ reign heralded Lilibet’s elevation to the monarchy by George VI’s 1917 guidelines, Meghan and Harry have yet to decide whether they will accept princely titles for their two children. The Instagram photo received over 75,000 likes and numerous comments from followers who were overjoyed to witness such a lovely event. “Wow, what a gorgeous child Lili is!” said one enthusiast. Thank you very much for sharing—absolutely stunning!”

The announcement of this new addition to the family came at a much-needed time for the monarchy, which had just experienced immense grief with the passing of Prince Philip, Lilibet’s great-grandfather, in 2021 at 99 years old, when Meghan was unable to attend his funeral due to pregnancy advisories against travel.

Looking ahead to future generations, there is no question that every decision we make now will impact our progress as a society and lead us all to a more equal and caring future. As a result, it is critical to commemorate exceptional occasions such as Lilibet’s first birthday because they serve as symbols of hope during tough times and as reminders that even amid sorrow, there is beauty within each new beginning—something even royalty understands well.