Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Rachel Meghan Markle

Rachel Meghan Markle was born in Los Angeles on 4 August 4, 1981, to Thomas Markle, an Emmy Award-winning lighting director, and Doria Ragland, a yoga teacher. Meghan has a bi-racial heritage, having a Caucasian father and an African American mother.

Meghan spent her childhood in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles and was educated at private schools, firstly at Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse and later at Immaculate Heart Catholic High School in the Hollywood Hills. She graduated in 2003 from Northwestern University, near Chicago.

Meghan, Duchess of SussexMeghan, Duchess of Sussex<

She originally worked as a freelance calligrapher between early acting jobs and also engaged in several contract acting and modelling jobs. In 2002, Meghan appeared in an episode of the daytime soap opera General Hospital and on the Fox series Fringe, She at first experienced some difficulty acquiring roles, in her own words: "I wasn't black enough for the black roles and I wasn't white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn't book a job."

Since July 2011, she has played Rachel Zane on the USA Network show Suits, Rachel Zane began as a paralegal who eventually became an attorney. Meghan called her role on Suits the Goldilocks of her acting career, she completed work on that series' seventh season in late 2017. Markle has appeared in two 2010 films, Get Him to the Greek and Remember Me, and one 2011 film, Horrible Bosses. She appeared in the short film The Candidate (seen on the KQED public television show ImageMakers: the Company of Men) as a secretary in 2012. She has also appeared in episodes of Century City, Cuts, Love, Inc., The War at Home, 90210, Knight Rider, Without a Trace, The Apostles, CSI: NY, The League, and Castle.

Meghan's work as a humanitarian includes becoming a global ambassador for World Vision Canada in 2016, travelling to Rwanda for the Clean Water Campaign, the agency's campaign to provide safe, clean drinking water. She has also worked with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women as an Advocate. Markle was a counsellor for the international charity One Young World, speaking at the 2014 annual summit in Dublin on the topics of gender equality and modern-day slavery. She also attended the 2016 One Young World summit in Ottawa.

She married actor and producer Trevor Engelson in September 201, the marriage ended in divorce in August 2013. After which she began dating Prince Harry, whom she met on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend. During a September 2017 interview with Vanity Fair, Meghan spoke in public for the first time about her love for Prince Harry, saying, "We're two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people's perception." Later that month, they made their first public appearances together at the wheelchair tennis event and the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Toronto.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their engagementThe Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their engagement

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall's official residence, Clarence House, announced that Meghan and Prince Harry had become engaged to marry on November 27, 2017. The fifth in line to the throne revealed in a television interview that he proposed while the couple made roast chicken. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were "delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness". The engagement ring given by Harry consists of three diamonds, two of which were taken from the jewellery collection of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.The couple lived together at Nottingham Cottage in London, on the grounds of Kensington Palace.

The couple's wedding took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, a smaller venue than Westminster Abbey where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married. Meghan was baptised and confirmed into the Church of England before the religious ceremony. Bridesmaids where Princess Charlotte, Prince Harry's god-daughters, Zalie Warren Florence van Cutsem and Meghan's Markle's goddaughters, Remi and Rylan Litt and Ivy Mulroney, the daughter of Ms Markle's friend Jessica Mulroney. The pageboys included Prince George, twins John and Brian Mulroney and Prince Harry's godson, Jasper Dyer. Prince William acted as best man and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, officiated at the wedding. Prince Charles walked Meghan down the aisle after she confirmed her father, Thomas Markle Sr., would not be attending the wedding due to recently undergoing heart surgery.

The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of SussexThe wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Meghan's simple but stylish wedding dress was designed by the British designer Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy. It was made of "double-bonded silk cady cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza" and had a boat neckline, long sleeves and sweeping train. The silk veil was 16 feet (4.9 metres) long and was embroidered with 53 flowers, representing the countries of the Commonwealth. It was secured by a diamond bandeau tiara, made in 1932 for the Queen's grandmother, Queen Mary of Teck, which was on loan from the Queen. The central brooch dates to 1893. The tiara is a platinum band, made up of eleven sections, a detachable centre brooch with interlaced opals and diamonds. Prince Harry wore the frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals.

The newly married couple were granted the titles Duke and Duchess of Sussex by the Queen on their wedding day, the last Duke of Sussex was Augustus Frederick, the sixth son of King George III and his queen, Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, who was married twice, but since both marriages contravened the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, not having been approved by the King, Meghan is the first person to bear the title Duchess of Sussex.

Research has uncovered that Meghan's paternal great-great-great-grandmother was New Hampshire landowner Mary, Hussey Smith (1823–1908), a descendant of John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford, who was beheaded in 1537 at the order of King Henry VIII. Through Lord Hussey, she is also a descendant of King John. She also descends from Captain Christopher Hussey, Esquire (d.1686) who was appointed in 1679 by King Charles II to govern the Royal Province of Hampton, New Hampshire. He was a Founding Father of Nantucket. Meghan's father was born 10 generations later in the American offshoot of the Hussey line. Her mother's ancestry is both black and white and includes the victims of slavery, Her maternal great-great-great-grandfather was a slave on Georgia plantations in the South before being emancipated with the abolition of slavery in 1865.

On October 15, 2018, five months after the couple married, Kensington Palace announced that Meghan and Prince Harry are expecting their first child together. A son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, was born to the couple on 16th May 2019 at the Portland Hospital in London.

In January 2020, following a six-week break in Canada, the couple announced that they were stepping back from their role as senior members of the royal family and wished to become financially independent. They kept their tiles of HRH but are not permitted to use them in commercial ventures.

In September of 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan entered into a commercial deal with Netflix "to develop scripted and unscripted series, film, documentaries, and children programming for the streaming service".They later signed a multi-year deal with Spotify to produce and host their own programs through their audio producing company, Archewell Audio. The couple were interviewed by US chat show host, Oprah Winfrey in a television special for CBS, which was aired on 7 March 2021. The Duchess discussed "stepping into life as a royal, marriage, motherhood" with Winfrey and made several startling revelations including that of "concerns and conversations that a senior member of the royal family is alleged to have made about the colour of her child's skin when she was pregnant Prince Harry joined her later in the interview, he confirmed this allegation but stated it was made early in their relationship and revealed that his father had refused to take his phone calls and had cut him off financially after they left the UK.