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From babies to scandal, the Royal Family’s biggest moments of 2019

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle spending holiday season in Canada
WATCH: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle spending holiday season in Canada

It’s been a big year for the Royal Family.

From welcoming new members to others stepping down, 2019 saw no shortage of headline-grabbing events.

While Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were in the spotlight for most of this year, the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, has dominated the news cycle since his disastrous November interview about his relationship with disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

READ MORE: How the Royal Family does Christmas, from gift giving to turkey dinner

In no particular order, here are some of the biggest royal moments of 2019.

Prince Andrew’s sex allegations

The Queen’s third child, Prince Andrew, stepped down from his royal duties in November after his now-infamous interview with the BBC.

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In the interview, he denied allegations that he had sex with a woman named Virginia Roberts Giuffre in 2001 when she was only 17.

Giuffre says she was sex-trafficked by Epstein and the prince’s friend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, and was forced to have sex with the royal on three separate occasions.

Prince Andrew accuser alleges she was forced to have sex, Buckingham Palace denies any sexual contact occurred
Prince Andrew accuser alleges she was forced to have sex, Buckingham Palace denies any sexual contact occurred

Prince Andrew has denied all allegations. In his BBC interview, he also defended his relationship with Epstein and said he never saw any sex abuse take place when he was with him.

A photograph of the prince with his hand around the waist of a teenage Giuffre standing next to Maxwell has been widely circulated. The prince told the BBC he has questioned the legitimacy of the photo and says he does not recall it being taken.

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READ MORE: Prince Andrew steps down: The duke’s history with Jeffrey Epstein explained

In her own interview with the BBC, Giuffre said the prince should be held responsible for what he has done.

Birth of baby Archie

Markle and Prince Harry welcomed their first child together on May 6, named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Archie joined his parents on their royal tour of Africa in the fall, and made a royal debut in South Africa when he met Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Markle and Prince Harry have shared photos of their son on social media since his birth, teasing out candid shots for special occasions like Prince Charles’ birthday.

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READ MORE: The royal baby’s name is Archie — here’s what it means

Archie is seventh in line to the throne, behind Prince Charles, Prince William and his children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and then Prince Harry.

Prince Philip’s car crash

In January, Prince Philip — then 97 — was involved in a car accident near the Sandringham estate in eastern England. The prince was unscathed, but a woman in another vehicle broke her wrist.

A few days after the accident, Prince Philip was spotted driving without a seatbelt.

The Queen’s husband gave up his driver’s licence in February following the incident, and apologized to the two women and a baby in the other car.

Witness who helped Prince Philip after crash calls accident ‘horrendous’
Witness who helped Prince Philip after crash calls accident ‘horrendous’

The royal, now 98, went to hospital on Dec. 20 for a “planned admission.” In a statement to the BBC, royal officials said it was “on the advice of His Royal Highness’ Doctor.”

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The splitting of the royal charities and households

In June, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex parted ways from the charity foundation they shared with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince William and Kate Middleton stayed on as the Royal Foundation’s leads, while Markle and Prince Harry formed their own charity organization.

READ MORE: Who pays for the Royal Family’s lavish lifestyle?

The Royal Foundation was created by the brothers in 2009, and Middleton joined the foundation after marrying into the Royal Family, as did Markle.

The charity champions causes ranging from mental health and environmental conservation to youth and social empowerment.

The decision to split charitable efforts came after Markle and Prince Harry created their own household in March, breaking away from Prince William and Middleton’s headquarters.

The splitting of the charities and households fuelled rumours that the couples were not as close, and wanted space from one another — a situation Prince Harry addressed in an interview.

‘Any longer and I would’ve been burnt out’: Former aide to the Queen shares difficulties of job
‘Any longer and I would’ve been burnt out’: Former aide to the Queen shares difficulties of job

In the ITV documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, the prince admitted he and his brother were on “different paths” at the moment. He added that they will always be brothers and love one another.

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The royals host the Trumps

U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his family paid a visit to England in June and met with the Royal Family. The Trumps visited Buckingham Palace and dined with the royals, wearing lots of fancy outfits.

While the Queen is not meant to comment on politics or take any political stance, activists were waiting with signs and chanting for Trump to “go home” outside of Buckingham Palace when he arrived.

READ MORE: What happens when Queen Elizabeth II dies?

Posters had messages including “dump Trump” and “no to racism, no to Trump.”

The controversial visit garnered an op-ed from London Mayor Sadiq Khan in which Khan said Trump did not deserve red-carpet treatment in Britain and was “one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat” from the far right to liberal democracy.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sue tabloids

Markle and Prince Harry put their foot down this year when it came to the tabloids.

In October, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex launched a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday and its parent company, Associated Newspapers.

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The Royals shoot down Queen ‘retirement’ rumours
The Royals shoot down Queen ‘retirement’ rumours

Markle’s lawyers said in a statement that the couple is suing “over the intrusive and unlawful publication of a private letter written by the Duchess of Sussex, which is part of a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her, as well as her husband.”

Days after news of the first lawsuit broke, it was revealed Prince Harry launched another legal claim against two other U.K. tabloids over alleged phone hacking.

Prince Louis’ balcony debut

The youngest child of Prince William and Middleton made his Buckingham Palace balcony debut this year at the annual Trooping the Colour parade in June.

Prince Louis, 1, waved to the crowd wearing a vintage hand-me-down from Prince Harry. His uncle sported the white shirt with blue embroidery and bright blue shorts in 1986 during the same celebration.

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The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Louis of Cambridge on June 8 2019 (left) and Princess Anne and Prince Harry in 1986 (right). Photo: Getty Images

READ MORE: What was it like to have Queen Elizabeth II as a mom?

The young prince is brother to Prince George, 6, and Princess Charlotte, 4.

Markle and Prince Harry’s documentary

Royals are notoriously private, but Markle and Prince Harry allowed filmmakers to follow their recent African tour for an ITV News documentary.

In the doc, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Markle opens up about living in the spotlight and being a new mother.

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In Markle’s candid response, she admitted she had been struggling in her new role, and thanked the journalist for asking how she was going.

“Not many people have asked if I’m OK,” she said. “It’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”

Prince Harry also opened up about media attention and the effects of losing his mom in 1997. Princess Diana was killed in a car crash after she was chased by paparazzi through the streets of Paris.

“Every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” he said.

Princess Beatrice’s engagement

The daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, announced her engagement in September to property tycoon Mapelli Mozzi.

Princess Beatrice, 31, released a statement saying she and Mozzi are “both so excited to be embarking on this life adventure together and can’t wait to be married.”

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The royal family follows some peculiar rules
The royal family follows some peculiar rules

The Queen’s granddaughter is ninth in line to the throne. Princess Beatrice’s sister, 29-year-old Princess Eugenie, wed businessman Jack Brooksbank in 2018.

Prince Charles and Camilla go to Cuba

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla became the first members of the Royal Family to visit Cuba on an official trip in March.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attended a wreath-laying ceremony for Cuban poet Jose Marti, and had dinner with President Miguel Diaz-Canel, among other activities.

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For his 2019 Christmas card, Prince Charles chose to use an Associated Press photo taken on his trip to Cuba.

— With a file from Meaghan Wray

Laura.Hensley@globalnews.ca