Meghan Markle (1981- )

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Sandringham, Norfolk, December 25, 2017
Photo by Mark Jones (CC BY 2.0)

Meghan Markle, film and television actor, became a member of the British Royal Family after marrying Prince Harry of Wales and grandson of Queen Elizabeth of England, on May 19, 2018. Meghan Markle, who is biracial, was born on August 4, 1981, in Los Angeles, California. Her mother Doria Ragland was a social worker and a yoga teacher, while her father Thomas Markle was a Hollywood lighting director.

Markle attended Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girls Catholic school in Los Angeles, California. After graduating in 1999, she enrolled in Northwestern University where she doubled majored in theater and international relations and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

After finishing almost all of her credits by junior year, Markle became an intern at the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She also studied abroad in 2002 in Madrid, Spain.

After graduating from Northwestern in 2003, Markle returned to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.  After nearly ten years of small rules, Markle got her big break in 2011 when she landed a starring role on the USA Network series Suits. Markle played the character Rachel Zane, a paralegal turned fierce lawyer. Markle appeared in 108 episodes of Suits between 2011 and 2018, leaving the program only after it was announced that she would become a member of the British royal family.

In 2011, Meghan married Hollywood producer Trevor Engelson in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The marriage lasted two years and the quietly separated in August 2013.

In July of 2016, Markle was set up by friends on a blind date, with Harry, the Prince of Wales. The two connected immediately, and began seeing each other privately. After filming her final season of Suits in November, Markle moved to London. Just weeks later, on November 27, 2018, Kensington Palace officially announced their engagement, and the plans for a wedding in the spring on 2018.

As a biracial African American woman, Markle’s joining the British royal family is historic. Although some do not believe that she is the first person of African ancestry in the royal family, Markle is certainly the first person to join who is unquestionably black.

On May 19, 2018, Meghan Markle married Harry, the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England. Although tradition governed much of the ceremony, Markle included many of her personal touches on the wedding to ensure that her heritage as a black woman was a seen and acknowledged by all. This included Michael Curry, the speaker at the wedding who was the first African American bishop of the American Episcopal Church, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the cello player at the wedding who was the first black person to win the BBC Young Musician of the year award, and the Kingdom choir, a gospel choir that sang renditions of traditionally black gospel music during the service.

After her marriage to Harry, Markle was given a new title, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex. The two then moved into Kensington Palace in London, England.