Meghan, Duchess of Sussex , is an American member of the British royal family, a former actress and a celebrity philanthropist.
Markle was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. While studying at Northwestern University, her early acting career began. However, she is most known for playing Rachel Zane in the American legal drama Suits from 2011 to 2017. Identifying as mixed-race and a feminist, Markle has promoted gender equality and her lifestyle blog, The Tig, featured a column profiling influential women. She has also represented charity organizations and received recognition for her fashion and style, having released a line of clothing in 2016.
In 2017, Markle became engaged to marry Prince Harry, retired from acting, closed social media accounts, and commenced attending public events with the British royal family. Upon their marriage in 2018, she became Duchess of Sussex. The couple have a son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. In 2020, they stepped down as senior members of the royal family and moved to her native Southern California.
Contents 1 Early life and education 2 Acting career 3 Personal life 3.1 Marriage to Prince Harry 3.2 Political views 4 Fashion and style 5 Public life 5.1 Royal duties 5.2 Stepping down 5.3 Post-royal work 6 Charity work and activism 6.1 Royal patronages and interests 6.1.1 The Royal Foundation 6.1.2 Sussex Royal Foundation 6.2 Celebrity philanthropy 6.2.1 Archewell Foundation 7 Privacy and the media 8 Titles, styles, and arms 9 Filmography 9.1 Television 9.2 Film 10 Authored articles 11 References 12 External links Early life and education See also: Family of the Duchess of Sussex Rachel Meghan Markle was born August 4, 1981 in Los Angeles, California. At age six, her parents divorced. Markle has a close relationship with her mother, Doria Ragland. Markle's father, Thomas Markle Sr., worked as a television director of photography and lighting, and Meghan often visited his film sets as a child. She is reportedly estranged from her paternal half-siblings, Samantha Markle and Thomas Markle Jr.. Her mother is descended from enslaved Africans, while her father is descended from European settlers. In regard to ethnicity, Markle self-identifies as being 'mixed-race'.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Markle attended Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse. At age eleven, she convincingly wrote to Procter & Gamble to gender-neutralize a dishwashing soap commercial on national television. Raised as a Protestant, she graduated from Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girl Catholic school. In 1999, Markle was admitted to Northwestern University in Evanston, where she joined Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. After her junior year, Markle interned at the American embassy in Buenos Aires and considered a political career. However, she did not score high enough in the Foreign Service Officer Test to proceed further with the US State Department, and returned to NU. She also attended a study abroad program in Madrid. In 2003, Markle earned her bachelor's degree with a double major in theater and international studies from Northwestern's School of Communication.
Acting career Markle had some difficulty getting roles early in her career due to being 'ethnically ambiguous' because 'I wasn't black enough for the black roles and I wasn't white enough for the white ones.' To support herself between acting jobs, she worked as a freelance calligrapher and taught bookbinding. Her first on-screen appearance was a small role as a nurse in an episode of the daytime soap opera General Hospital. Markle had small guest roles on the television shows Century City , The War at Home and CSI: NY . She also did several contract acting and modeling jobs, including a stint as a 'briefcase girl' on the US game show Deal or No Deal. She appeared in Fox's series Fringe as Junior Agent Amy Jessup in the first two episodes of its second season.
Markle with Suits co-star Patrick J. Adams at Paley Center for Media, 2013 Markle appeared in three 2010 films; Get Him to the Greek, Remember Me and The Candidate. Then, one film, Horrible Bosses in 2011. She was paid $187,000 for her role in Remember Me and $171,429 for her role in the short film The Candidate. In July 2011, Markle joined the cast of the USA Network show Suits through to late 2017 and the seventh season. Her character, Rachel Zane, began as a paralegal and eventually became an attorney. While working on Suits, Markle lived for nine months each year in Toronto. Fortune magazine estimated that Markle was paid $50,000 per episode, amounting to an equivalent annual salary of $450,000.
Personal life Markle began a relationship with American film 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 Canadian celebrity chef and restaurateur Cory Vitiello ended in July 2016 after almost two years.
Markle and Prince Harry on Christmas Day 2017 In June 2016, Markle began a relationship with British Prince Harry, a grandson of Elizabeth II. In November, the prince directed his communications secretary to release a statement on his behalf to express personal concern about pejorative and false comments made about his girlfriend by mainstream media and Internet trolls. In September 2017, Markle and Prince Harry first appeared together in public at the Invictus Games in Toronto, of which Harry is patron.
Marriage to Prince Harry Meghan Markle's engagement to Prince Harry was announced on November 27, 2017 by Harry's father Charles, Prince of Wales. The announcement prompted generally positive comments about having a mixed-race person as a member of the royal family, especially in regard to Commonwealth countries with populations of blended or native ancestry. Markle announced that she would retire from acting, and began the lengthy process of becoming a British citizen, which is subject to strict immigration rules concerning the number of days lived outside of the UK.
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. It was reportedly agreed in advance that excess funds generated from the BBC broadcast of the ceremony would go to a charity chosen by the newlywed couple. In April 2020, Feeding Britain was nominated to receive £90,000 from the BBC.
After the wedding, the Duke and Duchess lived at Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace in London. They later moved to Frogmore Cottage in the Home Park of Windsor Castle. The Duchess gave birth to a son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, on May 6, 2019. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's office moved to Buckingham Palace and officially closed on March 31, 2020 when the Sussexes ceased 'undertaking official engagements in support of the Queen'. After some months in Canada and the United States, the couple bought a house in June 2020 on the former estate of Riven Rock in Montecito, California. In November, the Duchess revealed in an opinion piece for the New York Times that she suffered a miscarriage in July 2020.
Political views Members of the British royal family are politically neutral by convention, and Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to Prince Charles, expected Markle would follow suit. However, Markle was politically vocal before marrying Prince Harry. She backed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 United States presidential election and publicly denounced the opponent, Donald Trump. The same year, when the referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union resulted in favor of Brexit, Markle expressed her disappointment on Instagram. As an eligible United States citizen on National Voter Registration Day 2020, she released a video with her husband encouraging others to register accordingly for the upcoming presidential election. Some media outlets took it as an implicit endorsement of the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden.
Fashion and style
Markle at the New York Fashion Week in 2013 In 2014, Markle founded her own lifestyle blog The Tig. She wrote about food, fashion, beauty, travel and inspirational women. The viewing audience consisted primarily of the fans of Markle and Suits. Promotion of the blog on other social media platforms targeted 3 million followers on Instagram, 800,000 on Facebook, and 350,000 on Twitter. In April 2017, The Tig closed. In January 2018, Markle took all articles offline and deleted her social media accounts. It is estimated that Markle's social media activities annually earned her about $80,000 from endorsements and sponsorships.
Markle became known through The Tig for her fashion sense, releasing two fashion collections with Canadian clothing company Reitmans in 2015 and 2016. The lines were based on her personal style and that of her Suits character. Markle has cited Emmanuelle Alt as her style inspiration.
Shortly after her engagement to Prince Harry in 2017, Markle caused a surge of interest in Scottish retailer Strathberry after carrying one of its handbags to a public event. This was reported as an indication that her fashion choices would produce a variation of the Kate Middleton effect. After Markle and Prince Harry's first appearance as a couple, brands Mackage, Birks, R&R Jewelers, Crown Jewelers and Everlane noted an upswing in their website hits and sales. It was speculated that Markle's effect would be broader internationally because she already had a strong American appeal. Consequently, the United States saw a boost in yellow gold jewelry sales in the first quarter of 2018.
In 2018, Tatler named the Duchess with other senior royal women on its list of Britain's best dressed people. Following the announcement of her pregnancy, the Duchess appeared in a Karen Gee dress that resulted in the Australian designer's website crashing. Fashion website Net-a-Porter ranked the Duchess as one of the best dressed women in 2018. and was nominated for the 2018 Teen Choice Awards in the category Choice Style Icon. In 2019, British brand Reiss reported a growth in profits after the Duchess was seen wearing a mini-dress by them on International Women's Day.
Public life Royal duties
Markle greeting the public in Belfast, March 2018 After becoming engaged, Markle's first official public appearance with Prince Harry was at a World AIDS Day walkabout in Nottingham on December 1, 2017. On March 12, the 2018 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey was the first royal event she attended with the Queen. On March 23, Harry and Meghan made an unannounced day visit to Northern Ireland. In total, Markle attended 26 public engagements prior to the wedding.
The Duchess's first official engagement after marriage was on May 22, when she and her husband attended a garden party celebrating the charity work of the Prince of Wales. In July 2018, Meghan's first official trip abroad as a royal was to Dublin, Ireland with Harry.
In October 2018, the Duke and Duchess traveled to Sydney, Australia for the 2018 Invictus Games. This formed part of a Pacific tour that included Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. As representatives of the Queen, the couple were greeted warmly by crowds in Sydney, and the announcement of the Duchess's pregnancy hours after their arrival delighted the public and media.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed to New Zealand, October 2018 During their visit to Morocco in February 2019, the Duke and Duchess focused on projects centered on 'women's empowerment, girls' education, inclusivity and encouragement of social entrepreneurship'. It is otherwise noted that the Duchess participated in her husband's work as youth ambassador to the Commonwealth, which included overseas tours.
As part of establishing a separate office from Kensington Palace in 2019, the Duke and Duchess created an Instagram social media account, which broke the record for fastest account to reach 1 million followers to date. In August 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were criticized by environmental campaigners for using private jets regularly when taking their personal trips abroad, which would leave more carbon footprint per person compared to commercial planes. The criticism was in line with the reactions the royal family faced in June 2019, after it was revealed that they 'had doubled carbon footprint from business travel'.
In September–October 2019, a Southern African tour included Malawi, Angola, South Africa and Botswana. Because infant son Archie traveled with the Sussexes, this was 'their first official tour as a famil'y.
Stepping down See also: Megxit In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess returned to the UK from a vacation in Canada and announced that they were stepping back from their role as senior members of the royal family, and would balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America. A statement released by the Palace confirmed that the Duke and Duchess were to become financially independent and cease to represent the Queen. The couple would retain their HRH stylings but not be permitted to use them. The formal role of the Duke and Duchess would be subject to a twelve-month review period, ending in March 2021. The Duchess's final solo engagement as a senior royal was a visit to Robert Clack School on March 7 in Dagenham ahead of International Women's Day.
Post-royal work The Duke and the Duchess remain president and vice president respectively of The Queen's Commonwealth Trust . Periodically, online QCT chat sessions are conducted and uploaded to YouTube for general public viewing. In September 2020, the Sussexes signed a private commercial deal with Netflix 'to develop scripted and unscripted series, film, documentaries, and children programming for the streaming service'.
Charity work and activism
Markle addressing the audience during a USO show at Naval Station Rota, Spain, December 6, 2014 Markle spoke at the 2014 summit for the international charity One Young World in Dublin and attended the 2016 opening ceremony in Ottawa. Also in 2014, she toured Afghanistan and Spain with the United Service Organizations.
In 2016, Markle became a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, traveling to Rwanda for the Clean Water Campaign. After a trip to India focused on raising awareness for women's issues, she penned an op-ed for Time magazine concerning stigmatization of women in regard to menstrual health. She has also worked with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women as an Advocate. The Duchess is a vocal feminist and intended to use her role as a member of the royal family to continue supporting women's rights and social justice. In 2017, Markle joined Prince Harry in teaming up with the charity Elephants Without Borders to assist with the conservation efforts taking place in Botswana.
In January 2018, Markle became interested in the Hubb Community Kitchen run by survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire. She visited the kitchen regularly, and suggested that the displaced women publish a cookbook to assist in funding for the group. Together: Our Community Cookbook, her first charity project as Duchess of Sussex, was announced in September.
Royal patronages and interests The Duchess's patronage of London's National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Smart Works, and Mayhew reflects her earlier interests in the arts, access to education, women's empowerment, and animal well-being, respectively. In March 2019, the Duchess was appointed the vice president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust. In October 2019, the Duchess voiced a Public Health England announcement with other members of the royal family for the 'Every Mind Matters' mental health program.
In 2019, the Duchess was a contributor and guest editor for the September issue of British Vogue and highlighted the works of 15 women from different areas, who were described as 'Forces for Change'. Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of the British Vogue, later revealed that the issue had become the 'fastest-selling issue in the history of British Vogue'. In the same issue, it was announced that she had collaborated with a number of British fashion houses and stores to launch a capsule collection, called The Smart Set, in September 2019 to benefit the charity Smart Works, of which she is a patron. The collection sought to help 'unemployed and disadvantaged women', through selling items 'on a one-for-one basis, meaning an item is donated for each item purchased'. Taking advantage of 'the Meghan effect' , in 10 days the collection provided a year's worth of clothes for the charity.
The Royal Foundation Before their marriage, Meghan attended the first annual forum of The Royal Foundation in February 2018 with Harry. After her marriage into the royal family, the Duchess became the foundation's fourth patron, alongside Prince Harry, his brother Prince William, and sister-in-law Catherine. In June 2019, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would split from the charity and establish their own charity foundation by the end of 2019. It was reported that the couples would collaborate on mutual projects, such as the mental health initiative Heads Together.
Sussex Royal Foundation See also: Sussex Royal In July 2019, Harry and Meghan's new charity was registered in England and Wales under the title 'Sussex Royal The Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex'. However, it was confirmed on February 21, 2020 that 'Sussex Royal' would not be used as a brand name for the couple following their step back from public life as working royals. In July 2020, relevant paperwork was filed with UK authorities to formally close the Sussex Royal charity.
Celebrity philanthropy In March 2020, it was announced that Meghan's first post-royal project would be the narration of Disneynature's documentary Elephant, which was released on April 3. In support of elephants, Disneynature and the Disney Conservation Fund would donate to Elephant Without Borders for species conservation in Botswana.
In April 2020, the Duchess volunteered with her husband in a private capacity to personally deliver foods prepared by the Project Angel Food to Los Angeles residents amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. In July 2020, Meghan spoke in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Archewell Foundation In April 2020, Meghan and Harry confirmed their new foundation would be called 'Archewell'. The name stems from the Greek word 'arche', which means 'source of action'; the same word that inspired the name of their son. Archewell was registered in the United States. Its website was officially launched in October 2020.
Privacy and the media In 2018, Time magazine included the Duchess on its list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World and placed her on its shortlist for Person of the Year. She was also chosen as one of the most influential women in the United Kingdom by British Vogue magazine. Her influence was also recognized in both the 2019 and 2020 editions of Powerlist, the 100 most influential Britons of African and Afro-Caribbean descent.
In May 2019, Splash News issued a formal apology to the Sussexes for sending photographers to their Cotswolds residence, which put their privacy at risk. The agency also agreed to pay a 'substantial' sum of damages and legal costs associated with the case. In January 2020, lawyers for the Duke and Duchess issued a legal warning to the press in general after paparazzi photographs were published in the media.
At the end of the tour of Southern African countries in September – October 2019, it emerged that the Duchess was suing The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline for alleged breach of privacy, infringement of copyright, and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018 over the publication of a letter she had sent to her father. The Duchess lost the first round in the High Court of Justice case with the Daily Mail in 2020, and was ordered to pay £67,000 legal costs for Associated Newspapers Limited . In September, ANL successfully applied to use the recently published biographical book Finding Freedom, alleging that the Duchess had passed information onto the authors. The two sides return to court in January 2021.
In July 2020, the Duchess jointly launched legal action with her husband against an unnamed individual for taking pictures of their son in Los Angeles. American news agency X17 issued an apology. It also agreed to reimburse some of the other party's legal fees, hand over photos on hand, destroy any copies in its possession and cease distribution of the images.
Titles, styles, and arms
The Duchess of Sussex's monogram Upon marriage to Prince Harry in 2018, Meghan Markle became a princess of the United Kingdom entitled to the style of Her Royal Highness as well as Duchess of Sussex, Countess of Dumbarton and Baroness Kilkeel. She is the first person to hold the title Duchess of Sussex. However, following a decision to step back from royal duties in 2020, Meghan and Harry agreed not to use the style of Royal Highness as the couple no longer formally represent the Queen. Nevertheless, they still technically retain the HRH style.
Coat of arms of the Duchess of Sussex Coat of arms of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.svg Notes Meghan bears the arms of her husband impaled with her own. Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms, the senior officer of the College of Arms, helped the Duchess with the design, which was approved by the Queen. Adopted May 25, 2018 Coronet Coronet of a child of the heir apparent. Escutcheon Quarterly 1st and 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langed Azure , 2nd Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure within a double tressure flory counterflory , 3rd Azure a harp Or stringed Argent , the whole differenced by a label of five points Argent, the first, third and fifth points charged with an escallop Gules ; Impaled with a shield Azure a feather bendwise Argent quilled Or between two bendlets Or all between two like feathers Argent quilled Or . Supporters On the dexter side the lion used as a supporter by the Duke of Sussex and to the sinister a songbird Argent wings spread, unguled Or and gorged with the coronet of the Duke of Sussex. Compartment Below the shield, a mount of grass with golden poppies and wintersweet in flower. Symbolism The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of the Duchess's home state. The three quills represent communication and the power of words. Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace. The songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak represents the power of communication.