At the beginning of 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they would be stepping away from their royal duties. In 2021, they were officially released from their royal roles by Buckingham Palace, making it the couple’s first full year of independence—and it was a whirlwind. The Duchess herself gave birth to the couple’s second child, a daughter named Lilibet, and published a picture book called The Bench. Together, the Duke and Duchess gave a highly publicized interview with Oprah in a special called Oprah with Meghan and Harry and announced their partnership with Ethic, a fintech platform that caters to sustainability-minded investors. Various headlines blamed the Duchess for the couple’s decision to leave their royal roles—subsequently dubbed the Megxit, a term Prince Harry has called misogynistic. Ultimately, though, making the decision to step away from royal life was bold and controversial, but the two proved that they could be much more than royals in 2021.