When she married Prince Harry in May 2018, Meghan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex and one of the most famous women in the world. Where did she grow up?
Meghan Markle grew up in Los Angeles, California, where she was born in 1981. She attended school in the city until she enrolled at Northwestern University in Illinois. Meghan has divided her time between the US and UK since marrying Prince Harry in 2018.
For more on Meghan Markle’s early life and her path to joining the British royal family, read on.
Rachel Meghan Markle was born in Los Angeles, California on August 4, 1981. Thomas Markle Sr., her father, was a director of photography and lighting director who worked in television. Doria Ragland, her mother, was a social worker and yoga instructor.
Thomas is descended from European settlers, while Doria has African slave ancestry. Meghan has spoken about how she felt her mixed heritage left her often feeling as though she could not fully identify with white or black culture, but has since come to embrace both and to take pride in being a mixed-race woman.
Thomas had two children from a previous relationship, Samantha and Thomas Jr., and Meghan is reportedly estranged from her half-siblings.
Meghan’s father worked on “Married… with Children”, leading to her frequently visiting the set as a child. Thomas and Doria divorced when Meghan was six years old.
Education and Acting
Meghan attended private schools from a very early age, starting with the Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse at just two years old. She also started her activism young, campaigning to get Procter & Gamble to pull a commercial that she considered sexist while she was eleven.
In her teens, she attended Immaculate Heart High School, a Catholic school, despite being raised Protestant. She then enrolled at Northwestern University in Illinois, interning at the American embassy in Buenos Aires as well as spending a semester studying in Madrid.
Markle graduated in 2003, majoring in both theater and international studies. She began acting professionally shortly after graduating with minor roles on TV shows such as “General Hospital”, “CSI: NY”, “Fringe” and working as a “briefcase girl” on “Deal or No Deal”.
She has blamed her lack of notable roles early in her career on being “ethnically ambiguous”, saying that it allowed her to audition for almost any role but she felt it also meant she was considered unsuitable for both black and white roles.
After a couple of film roles in “Get Him to the Greek” and “Remember Me”, Markle was cast in her most memorable role in “Suits” in July 2011. She portrayed attorney Rachel Zane and stayed with the show until the end of its seventh season in 2017.
Duchess of Sussex
In June 2016, Markle was set up on a blind date by a friend, only to discover that her date was none other than Prince Harry, fifth in line to the British throne at the time. They appeared in public as a couple for the first time in September 2017.
Their engagement was announced on November 27, 2017, a cause for celebration by those who felt a mixed-race member of the royal family was a sign of significant progress. She announced her retirement from acting and became a British citizen in preparation for her marriage.
Markle was also baptized in March 2018, confirming her membership in the Church of England. She and Harry were married on May 19 at Windsor Castle, with Rachel Meghan Markle becoming Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
In January 2020, following excessive media scrutiny of their relationship, Meghan and Harry announced that they would be stepping away from their roles as active members of the royal family.
They announced that they would seek financial independence while continuing their charity work and select engagements around the world, officially stepping down on March 31, 2020.