The Most Talked About Royal Moments Of 2018

Throughout 2018, it was utterly impossible to ignore the British royal family. Although the reigning Queen and her family always generate a lot of media attention worldwide, this past year was even more exciting than usual. There was not one, but two royal weddings, the birth of a new prince, and a major pregnancy announcement — and that's only three of many events that had everyone talking. If you didn't have an interest in the British monarchy before, this past year may have changed that. 

The year 2018 was also a big time for change throughout the royal family. In the last year, we watched as the royals started to take a more modern approach to their old traditions. On top of that, Meghan Markle became one of only a handful of Americans to officially become a British royal, and she was also the first biracial woman to marry into the family. We can't wait to see what 2019 brings for this family, but for now, let's take a look back on their biggest moments of 2018. 

Queen Elizabeth's 92nd birthday

April 21 marked Queen Elizabeth's 92nd birthday. To celebrate, she attended a concert in her honor at Royal Albert Hall, accompanied by many members of the royal family, including Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle (with the absence of a very pregnant Kate Middleton). According to the royal family's official Instagram page, the concert featured special performances by Sir Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, Sting, Shaggy, Shawn Mendes, Craig David, Ed Balls, Frank Skinner, and Harry Hill, among others. 

During the event, Prince Harry spoke to give a tribute to his grandmother and to announce the launch of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust to support young leaders throughout the Commonwealth, of which he is president. According to Town and Country, he said, "This organization, in your name, will provide a platform for those working to make a difference in their communities across 53 countries." This was only the beginning of the queen's birthday celebrations. 

The birth of Prince Louis

On the morning of April 23, the newest royal was born. According to the royal family, the Duchess of Cambridge safely delivered her second son, weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces, at 11:01 a.m. at St. Mary's Hospital in London. Flags were raised at both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, and a framed notice of birth was on display on a ceremonial easel outside of the Palace, as is tradition. 

Fans were treated to adorable photos of Prince William bringing Prince George and Princess Charlotte into the hospital to meet their baby brother just hours after the birth, courtesy of the Kensington Palace Twitter account. That same evening, Prince William and Kate Middleton presented the new prince to the world before returning to Kensington Palace. 

Vogue Australia later pointed out one big difference between the new prince's birth certificate and those of his siblings, Prince George and Princess Charlotte: the new birth certificate was type, while all other royal birth certificates have been handwritten. We're not sure what that means, but it's, at the very least, a fun fact.

The announcement of Prince Louis' name

On April 27, after much speculation, Kensington Palace officially announced the name of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's son to be Louis Arthur Charles. According to the Palace, the baby would henceforth be known as "His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge." 

Town and Country broke down the meaning of the full name. "Louis" is one of Prince William's middle names, and also pays tribute to Prince Philip's uncle and Prince Charles' mentor, the late Lord Louis Mountbatten. The name "Arthur" is a nod to the 6th-century British king and his roundtable of knights, as well as several other royals. It is also one of Prince Charles' middle names. 

"Charles," of course, is a tribute to his grandfather, the Prince of Wales. Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, released a statement following the birth, saying, "We are both so pleased at the news. It is a great joy to have another grandchild, the only trouble is I don't know how I am going to keep up with them." 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding

Perhaps the biggest royal event of the entire year was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. The big day took place on May 19, and although most of the world couldn't be there in person to witness it, Kensington Palace gave us all plenty of details. The ceremony took place at St. George's Chapel, and mixed tradition with some modern twists: Reverend Michael Curry, the first African-American to preside over the Episcopal Church, gave a rousing talk, while Markle's mother accompanied her down the aisle rather than her father. 

After the ceremony, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex did a public carriage ride through Windsor before their reception at St. George's Hall. According to British Vogue, Markle wore a Givenchy gown designed by Clare Waight Keller for the ceremony. She had ten bridesmaids, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte. A few days later, the royal family released official portraits, and said that the newly married couple felt "so lucky to have been able to share their day with all those gathered in Windsor and those who watched on television across the UK, Commonwealth, and around the world."

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's honeymoon

After the royal wedding, the world collectively tried to figure out where the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex would spend their honeymoon. Exactly where they went is still a mystery, although there are a few theories. Roya Nikkah, an ABC News royal contributor, believes they spent time "in Africa, possibly Namibia," because of the couple's history with the continent — it was one of the first places they traveled to together and is said to be where they really bonded, and Harry had Markle's ring sourced from Botswana.

We'll probably never know where the couple went for sure, as royal expert Omid Scobie explained to ELLE that the family wanted to keep it private and not release details to the media. Scobie said, "The couple shared so much during the wedding and now is the time for them to enjoy some privacy." 

The Queen's 65th anniversary of her coronation

June 2 was another big day for Queen Elizabeth, as it marked the 65th anniversary of her coronation at Westminster Abbey. The royal family shared some old images of Queen Elizabeth during her coronation back in 1953, when she was only 27-years-old. It was the first time an event from Europe was broadcast live worldwide, and it became the most watched event in history, seen by 300 million people. 

To celebrate the special occasion, the Smithsonian released a documentary video about the iconic day Queen Elizabeth was crowned as England's new sovereign, a video that included commentary from the queen herself. In the video, she says, "It is sort of a pageant of chivalry and old-fashioned way of doing things really. I've seen one coronation, and been the recipient in the other, which is pretty remarkable." She also discussed wearing the St. Edwards crown, saying it was so heavy, she couldn't look down to read her speech or her neck would break.

The Trooping The Colour event to celebrate the Queen's birthday parade

Although the queen's birthday was back in April and was celebrated with a concert, the official celebration was in June with the queen's birthday parade during Trooping the Colour. This is one of the most anticipated royal events of each year, as it is essentially a family reunion. According to the royal family, the parade included over 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians. The parade went from Buckingham Palace and down The Mall to Horse Guard's Parade, with members of the royal family riding in carriages. 

This event also marked the first time Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a public appearance as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Vogue says that Harry wore a ceremonial uniform, while Markle wore a pink Carolina Herrera dress and a Philip Treacy hat, looking every bit the British royal. Other royals in attendance included Prince William, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Princess Eugenie, and Princess Beatrice, among others.

Prince William became the first British royal to make an official visit to Israel

On June 25, the spotlight shifted to Prince William, when Kensington Royal announced that he had arrived in Israel for the first official visit by a senior member of the royal family. William's trip included visits to Jordan, Israel, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The royal family said that the purpose of the trip was to "build on the strong links that exist not only between the two countries, but also between their respective royal families who have visited each other many times over the years."

According to ABC News, controversy surrounded the event because Israeli officials have reportedly been frustrated for years that the British royal family had never visited. They were also concerned with the palace's language when the official itinerary listed Jerusalem as part of the "Occupied Palestinian Territories." Zeev Elkin, an Israeli Cabinet member and Jerusalem affairs minister, told Israeli publication Ynet (via ABC News) that, "It's regrettable that Britain chose to politicize the royal visit."

Prince Louis' christening

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had Prince Louis baptized at the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace on July 9. Many old British traditions were included throughout the event, like the use of the Lily Font, which is part of the Crown Jewels. The royal family tweeted that it was first used in 1841, and has been used in royal christenings since then. The royal family also said that one of the three top tiers of Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding cake was being used for the christening cake. 

Although many members of the royal family were in attendance, Queen Elizabeth was notably absent. Richard Palmer, the royal correspondent for the Daily Express in London, said on Twitter that he spoke to sources who explained it was "another busy week for the monarch at 92." That week, she had to go to events for the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, and she also had to meet with President Donald Trump at Windsor Castle. 

Princess Eugenie's royal wedding

The second royal wedding of the year was between Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank on October 12. The two got married at St. George's Chapel, then did a short carriage ride from the Royal Mews, out of Windsor Castle, and down part of High Street. Afterwards, the queen gave a celebration at Windsor Castle for newlyweds. 

A few days before the wedding, Eugenie and Brooksbank gave an interview on This Morning, where they spoke about when they first met. Eugenie said, "It was love at first sight," revealing that they "just stared at each other" when they first met in the mountains. When asked to describe each other in three words, Brooksbank said Eugenie was a "bright shining light." 

According to Town and Country, Eugenie wore a wedding gown designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos. The bride later changed into an evening gown by Zac Posen for celebrations at their reception. 

Meghan Markle's pregnancy announcement

Only a few days after Eugenie's wedding, Kensington Royal announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expecting a baby due in the spring of 2019. The announcement was met with both surprise and happiness, as well as some questions. Many wondered if it would affect Harry and Markle's royal tour. Jamie Samhan, royal expert and deputy editor of Royal Central, told Marie Claire that she doesn't think Markle will stop the tour, stating, "A spokesperson for Kensington Palace said that everything will be staying the same. Even Fiji and Tonga, where Zika is a mild risk, is still a go. Meghan has said before she doesn't like to sit still and I don't see this pregnancy changing that."

And although many immediately began discussing the royal rules Markle would have to follow now that she's pregnant, CNN royal commentator Victoria Arbiter and royal historian and expert Marlene A. Koenig told INSIDER that there aren't actually any "pregnancy rules," just royal traditions and British norms. 

Pippa Middleton gave birth to her first child

More exciting baby news came right after Markle's pregnancy announcement when Kate Middleton's sister Pippa Middleton gave birth to her first child with husband James Matthews on October 16 at the same hospital her sister gave birth in. People made the announcement, with the news that the child was a healthy baby boy weighing eight pounds, nine ounces. According to the Press Association, Kensington Palace released a short statement about the birth, saying, "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are thrilled for Pippa and James."

Pippa had kept her pregnancy relatively quiet. The news was leaked in April, when a "friend" told the Sunday Express that Pippa was expecting. She also appeared in Waitrose magazine, in a column titled "Exercising during pregnancy," where she talked about the "joys of the first trimester and the challenges she faces in adjusting her exercise regime to be as healthy as possible during this exciting time."