The actress gets candid about her highly-publicized romance with Prince Harry for the first time.

By now you've heard the news that everyone's favourite prince (besides little George, of course) has embarked on a whirlwind relationship with American actress Meghan Markle—and, as expected, the media frenzy has gone into overdrive. Everyone wants to know: Where did 33-year-old Prince Harry meet his lady love? How long have they been together? Is an engagement imminent? And what does the Queen think of his new romance?

Markle, in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, finally sets out to answer our most pressing questions. Well...most of them.

She revealed to the magazine that, contrary to previous reports that the couple first exchanged glances in Toronto where the actress was busy filming her hit TV series and the prince was in town promoting the Invictus Games, they actually met in London through friends in July 2016—six months before their relationship became public.

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However, the 36-year-old, who stars the US legal drama Suits, admitted that the attention her relationship has garnered "has its challenges."

She admits, "It comes in waves—some days it can feel more challenging than others. And right out of the gate it was surprising the way things changed. But I still have this support system all around me, and, of course, my boyfriend's support."

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Last November, in a rare move for the famously private royal, Prince Harry publicly criticized the "wave of abuse and harassment" Markle had been subjected to by the media. He addressed "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."

READ MORE: Meghan Markle Speaks Out About Her Mixed Race Heritage

Despite this, Markle assured Vanity Fair that her relationship has not changed her. "I can tell you that, at the end of the day, I think it's really simple," Markle said. "We're two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people's perception."

She adds, "Nothing about me changed. I'm still the same person that I am, and I've never defined myself by my relationship."

Although the couple continue to protect their privacy and are rarely photographed together, they visited Botswana in August to celebrate her 36th birthday.

"We're a couple," she told the magazine. "We're in love. 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. It's part of what makes it so special, that it's just ours. But we're happy. Personally, I love a great love story."

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