Meghan Markle: Fairy tale role suits LA actress
Meghan Markle once struggled for roles, but the American former actress has now landed the biggest part of all as her marriage to Prince Harry on Saturday made her the latest member of British monarchy.
Markle, 36, made her name as savvy paralegal Rachel Zane in the US legal drama series “Suits,” but cultivated a high profile for herself outside the show, too.
She became a UN advocate for women’s empowerment and a global ambassador for the World Vision Canada relief agency.
The Los Angeles-born star had more than 2 million followers on her now-closed Instagram account, and ran a successful lifestyle blog, The Tig.
She was also revealed as the anonymous blogger behind The Working Actress, which chronicled the struggles of hustling for parts in Hollywood.
“She’s very focused and really wants to give back. Her great phrase is ‘make the change,’” said royal writer Andrew Morton, who has penned a biography of Markle.
Royals and slaves
Rachel Meghan Markle was born on Aug. 4, 1981 to Thomas Markle, a white, Emmy Award-winning television lighting director who worked on top US shows like “Married With Children,” and Doria Ragland, a black social worker and yoga instructor.
On her mother’s side, Markle’s ancestors were slaves who worked on cotton plantations in Georgia. Her mother’s surname was taken from a slave owner.
On her father’s side, genealogists have traced her ancestry back to King Robert I of Scotland, who reigned from 1306 to 1329.
Markle’s parents split when she was 2 and divorced five years later. She is now estranged from her older half-sister and half-brother.
Even in school, Markle was remembered for her strong sense of right and wrong. At 11, her letter-writing campaign got Procter and Gamble to change a washing-up commercial, referring to people rather than just women doing the dishes.
Determined to give herself options, Markle studied theater and international relations at Northwestern University.
She graduated in 2003, and landed a six-week internship as a press officer at the US embassy in Argentina.
In 2004, she fell in love with go-getting film producer Trevor Engelson, who helped her get on the acting ladder. They married in Jamaica in 2011, but divorced in 2013.
Through a mutual friend, Markle met Harry in July 2016 while visiting London. Their romance quickly blossomed on a whirlwind camping trip to Botswana.
After their engagement was announced in November, Markle accompanied Harry, now sixth in line to the throne, on several public events.
Her style at public engagements was unusual, noted a royal photographer. “I’ve seen Meghan do selfies and give autographs, which the royals never do.”
But a magazine editor said some readers “don’t like her way of being outspoken, saying what she thinks, having views on politics and everything else.”
In fact, Markle’s walk by herself halfway down the aisle has been seen as a sign of her feminist credentials, as does her wedding vow which omits that part about the wife pledging to obey her husband.
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