Markle was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and has a mixed ethnic heritage. During her studies at Northwestern University, she began playing small roles in American television series and films. From 2011 to 2017, she played Rachel Zane, on the American legal drama series Suits. An outspoken feminist, Markle has addressed issues of gender inequality, and her lifestyle website The Tig featured a column profiling influential women. She represented international charity organizations in the 2010s and received recognition for her fashion and style, releasing a line of clothing in 2016.
From 2011 until their divorce in 2013, Markle was married to actor and producer Trevor Engelson. In 2017, she announced her engagement to Prince Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, and moved to London. She retired from acting, closed her social media accounts, and started undertaking public engagements as part of the British royal family. She became the Duchess of Sussex upon her marriage to Prince Harry in May 2018.
Early life and education
Rachel Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981, in Los Angeles, California.Her mother, Doria Ragland, is a former social worker and yoga instructor living in View Park–Windsor Hills, California.Markle has often described having a very close friendship with her mother. Her father, Thomas Markle Sr., who lives in Rosarito, Mexico, is a retired television director of photography and lighting director, whose profession resulted in his young daughter often visiting the set of Married…with Children.Markle’s parents divorced when she was six years old. She has two older paternal half-siblings, Samantha Markle and Thomas Markle Jr., from whom she is reportedly estranged.
Describing her heritage in a 2015 essay for Elle, Markle stated: “My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white … While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.”
Markle grew up in Hollywood. She was educated at private schools, beginning at age two at the Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse. At age 11, her successful campaign to get Procter & Gamble to change a national television commercial she viewed as sexist was profiled by Linda Ellerbee on Nick News.Though she was raised as a Protestant, Markle attended Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girl Catholic private school in Los Angeles. She then attended Northwestern University, where she joined Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and participated in community service and charity projects.She also served an internship at the American embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina,and studied for a semester in Madrid, Spain. Markle received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern’s School of Communication in 2003, with a double major in theater and international studies.
Markle began a relationship with actor and producer Trevor Engelson in 2004. They were married in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on September 10, 2011,and concluded a no-fault divorce in August 2013,citing irreconcilable differences. Markle’s subsequent relationship with celebrity chef and restaurateur Cory Vitiello lasted almost two years, ending in May 2016.
In June 2016, Markle began a relationship with Prince Harry,whom she had met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend.He was then fifth in line to the British throne; his grandmother Elizabeth II is queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms, as well as Head of the Commonwealth.In November, the British royal family’s communications secretary released an official statement that addressed sexism, racism, and defamatory stories directed toward Markle.In September 2017, they appeared together in public for the first time at an official royal engagement at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada.
Markle and Prince Harry attending church on Christmas Day, 2017
Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry was announced on November 27, 2017, by Clarence House and Kensington Palace.The announcement prompted generally positive comments about the possible social significance of a mixed-race member of the royal family. Markle announced that she would retire from acting,and began the process of becoming a British citizen. In preparation for the wedding, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, baptized Markle and confirmed her into the Church of England on March 6, 2018. The private ceremony, performed with water from the River Jordan, took place in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.The marriage ceremony was held on May 19 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
The Duke and Duchess live at Nottingham Cottage in London, in the grounds of Kensington Palace.They are expecting their first child in 2019. The child will be seventh in line to the throne.After the birth they will move to Frogmore Cottage in Home Park, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, but their office will continue to operate at Kensington Palace.