This time last year, Suits actress Meghan Markle was quietly dating Prince Harry. Her life would change when the press found out about their relationship, and Prince Harry would confirm it through a statement in November. He asked for privacy: “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” his Kensington Palace statement read. “It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”

Markle, who is just now talking about her relationship publicly for the first time to Vanity Fair for its October 2017 issue, admits that the scrutiny and intense coverage of her in the U.K. press isn’t always easy to take. (Markle is biracial, a divorcée, and a commoner—traits that at one point may have barred her from marrying into the family, tabloids love to point out.) “It has its challenges, and 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.”

Markle says she and Prince Harry started dating in July 2016. Their full story is going to stay private for now, she adds. “We’re a couple. We’re in love,” she prefaces. “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.”