Meghan Markle's Road to Royalty Is No Rags-to-Riches Story
Many a young girl's dream is to wake up one morning and be told she’s actually next in line for a throne. While some may wait, forever dreaming of the day, others make it happen on their own. Meghan Markle, an American actress who made countless headlines as the newest addition to the British royal family, came from interesting beginnings of her own. Read about her professional, personal and philanthropic endeavors and get to know England's new sweetheart.
Before She Was Meghan, She Was Rachel
Rachel Meghan Markle was born and raised in Los Angeles by mother Doria Ragland and father Thomas Markle Sr. Her parents divorced when she was six. Markle has two older paternal half-siblings but didn't grow up with them. She was raised Protestant but attended Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girls private Catholic school.
Little Miss Hollywood
Growing up in Hollywood, Markle attended private schools, including Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse. Her father, a then-television director of photography and lighting director, often brought her onto the set of Married… With Children, where she was exposed to the hustle and bustle of television.
A Feminist From the Start
When she was 11, Markle was alarmed to see a commercial for Ivory dish soap aimed solely at women; she viewed it as sexist. Her father encouraged her to use her strongest weapon — her pen — and write to powerful figures such as Procter & Gamble, Hillary Clinton, lawyer Gloria Allred and Nick News journalist Linda Ellerbee.
A Sorority Girl Like No Other
With her background in Hollywood, Markle always wanted to become an actress but wasn't pleased with the cliché of a girl from Los Angeles who wanted to be an actress. She split her interests and double-majored in theater and international affairs at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
Making It Count
While Markle always held onto her love for acting and theater, she once seriously considered going into a career in politics. Her personal history is full of charitable acts and community service, and she was even able to secure an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires when she was 20.
Queen of Calligraphy
Early on, when she wasn't spending evenings on set with her father, Markle was working on her rigorous schoolwork. One such lesson was cursive writing, a skill that has since been tossed and forgotten by today's education system. Markle always showed impressive calligraphy potential and used it to her advantage later on in life.
Unlucky Number 26
In the beginning of her acting career, Markle booked a few contract acting and modeling jobs but had difficulty landing major roles. One such gig was on the U.S. game show Deal or No Deal as a briefcase girl, but she hated it. She recalls that she was Number 26, "which for some reason no one would ever choose."
Though she was able to land minor roles on various television shows, Markle didn't break into a full-time role right away because of the racial preferences and divides that consume the casting process in Hollywood. Many producers and casting directors unfortunately turned her down because she was "ethnically ambiguous."
A Show Here and a Movie There
Aside from booking television pilots, Markle was also cast in a few major motion pictures that helped her build credibility in the tough acting world. She was paid $187,000 for her role in Remember Me and $171,000 for her role in the short film The Candidate.
The Big Gig
In July of 2011, Markle landed a role on the USA Network television show Suits. In her biggest role to date, she played Rachel Zane, a smart, unapologetic paralegal-turned-attorney with a desire to "crack both racial and gender glass ceilings."
Behind the Scenes of Suits
During her time on Suits, Markle spent nine months of the year in a rented three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the Seaton Village neighborhood of Toronto, Canada. She befriended some of Toronto's "royalty," including Jessica and Ben Mulroney.
A Wedding on the Beach
When she wasn't with her castmates or filming an episode, Markle spent time with her then-boyfriend, actor and producer Trevor Engelson. The two began dating in 2004 and spent six years as a couple before tying the knot in Ochos Rios, Jamaica, on September 10, 2011.
A Girl With a Great Appetite
Aside from Markle’s passions for acting and politics, she's also a true foodie at heart. Some of the home chef's favorite dishes include kale chips, chicken adobo, fish tacos and green juice. One of her essential home items is her Vitamix, which she swears she cannot live without — she even lugged it to Toronto in the back seat of her car.
The Birth of The Tig
Before she was prohibited from endorsing anything outside of philanthropic causes, Markle started a lifestyle blog called The Tig. The website covered a range of topics like food, fashion, beauty and travel. As the blog's popularity grew, she profiled inspirational women and featured fitness, beauty and lifestyle experts.
A Designer Dressed to Impress
With the successful peaking of her blog and role on Suits, Markle even dabbled in fashion design, following her recognition as a put-together fashion appreciator in real life. The busy career woman was asked to collaborate on a collection with Reitmans, a Canadian retailer, which worked perfectly while she was filming in Toronto.
Meghan on a Mission
A known philanthropist, Markle was a counselor for One Young World, an international charity. She spoke at the 2014 summit in Dublin about gender equality and modern-day slavery. She also toured Afghanistan and Spain with the United Service Organizations in 2014.
A Routine Fit for Any Princess
Though she's been on the road for the majority of her life filming and traveling, Markle has always prioritized fitness and health. She approaches exercise with self-love. Her favorite forms of keeping in shape are running, pilates and yoga, especially hot yoga.
A Girl's First Puppy Love
With her lovable, do-gooder personality, Markle is a strong advocate for the "adopt don't shop" pet movement. When she was browsing at an animal shelter in Los Angeles, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi walked in while Markle was looking at a beagle.
Meghan and Serena: A Match Made on the Court
Markle surely had a slew of A-list friends picked up throughout her time on sets and in Hollywood, but one of her closest is tennis star Serena Williams, whom she met at DirecTV's Celebrity Beach Bowl in 2014. They immediately hit it off and became fast and close friends.
Meghan and Priyanka: A Complicated Friendship
Another close friend of Markle’s is Quantico actress Priyanka Chopra. They've bonded over their acting careers and became friends "like two girls would," Chopra said. The only strain on their friendship is having to keep confirming that the two are in fact still friends!
A Good-hearted Cookbook for All
As an avid food connoisseur, Markle blended her appreciation and respect for different dishes from around the world and published her first cookbook in 2018 — "Together: Our Community Cookbook." Not all are her personal recipes, however, as she was greatly inspired by the Hubb Community Kitchen and different cooking styles from various cultures.
A Non-neutral Duchess
Members of the royal family are expected to remain politically neutral, but before she was royal, Markle was particularly vocal about politics. In 2016, she backed Hillary Clinton during the U.S. presidential election and described then-candidate Donald Trump as "misogynistic and divisive."
Catching the Travel Bug
Markle’s former job as an actor included a lot of traveling, instilling in her a passion for seeing new places and experiencing new things. She's accumulated a few tips as a seasoned traveler. For one, she prefers wearing sneakers for air travel.
More Than Just a Pretty Face
The world seems to have always had a crush on Meghan Markle. From her cute school days to her sophisticated styles on Suits to her royal events as the Duchess of Sussex, she's carried herself with poise and dignity.
Get the London Look
Though she has the world's best makeup artists at her fingertips, Markle occasionally does her own makeup and tends to stick with the cult classics. Some of her favorite products include NARS blush, Diorshow Iconic mascara and Make Up For Ever’s HD Powder.
Happy Tunes for a Happy Heart
Markle’s music taste might just be as wonderfully eclectic as her food tastes, but she's admitted to being drawn to indie music the most, usually preferring "happy" music. In a post on her old blog, Markle shared a playlist of her favorite tunes.
A Royally Romantic Blind Date
Before they walked down the aisle in the second royal wedding of the century, Markle and Prince Harry met in a classic way: a blind date. Brought together by Ralph Lauren's publicist, Violet von Westenholz, the two met for a quiet dinner.
Blood Runs Thicker Than Water
While Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been portrayed as coming from two opposite ends of the world (literally and figuratively), they have more in common than meets the eye. If their records are traced back to the 15th century, the two share some family blood.
Barrier Breaker in a White Dress
The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was held on May 19, 2018, in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom. Upon their marriage, Markle was given the title Duchess of Sussex. Unlike the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, this wedding was not declared a bank holiday.
Actress-Turned-Rule Follower-Turned-Rule Breaker
As part of the royal family, it's no surprise that Markle was under strict supervision at all times. Life as a royal isn’t easy, especially when it comes to following rules. With her new status as a duchess, she faced more restrictions than ever before.