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Tue, 08.04.1981

Meghan Markle, Duchess born

Meghan Markle

*Meghan Markle was born on this date in 1981.  She is a Black actress, model, humanitarian, and Duchess Of Sussex.

Born in Los Angeles, CA, Rachel Meghan Markle's father is white, and her mother is black.  Her mother, Doria Radlan, has a master's degree in social work and is a psychotherapist and yoga instructor.  Her father, Thomas W. Markle, is of Dutch, English, Irish, and Scottish descent and is a TV/Film lighting director. Her paternal grandfather, Gordon Arnold Markle, was descended from Abraham Merckel of Alsace.  Markle's maternal great-great-great-grandfather was an African slave on Georgia plantations before the abolition of slavery in 1863.  Markle grew up in Hollywood and attended private schools, first at Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse and Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girl, private Catholic school in Los Angeles.

Research compiled in 1997 by historians, including Markle's great-uncle, Mike Markle, revealed that her paternal great-great-great-grandmother was New Hampshire landowner Mary Hussey Smith, a direct descendant of nobleman John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford, who was beheaded in 1537 at the order of King Henry VIII.  Through Lord Hussey, Markle is a descendant of King John.  Markle is also a descendant of Captain Christopher Hussey, Esquire, appointed in 1679 by King Charles II to govern the Royal Province of Hampton, New Hampshire, and was a Founding Father of Nantucket.

She graduated in 2003 from Northwestern University, completing her bachelor's degree in theater and international studies; coursework included an internship at the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires.  To support herself between early acting jobs, Markle worked as a freelance calligrapher and took on acting and modeling jobs, including a stint as a 'briefcase girl' on the U.S. game show Deal or No Deal.   In 2002, Markle appeared in the daytime soap opera General Hospital episode. She appeared in the series Fringe as Junior Agent Amy Jessup in the first two episodes of its second season.  In 2011 she played the paralegal Rachel Zane on the USA Network show Suits. 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 in 2012.

Markle was married to Trevor Engelson from 2011 until their divorce in 2013.  She was a counselor for the international charity 'One Young World, speaking at the 2014 annual Dublin summit on gender equality and modern-day slavery.

Markle was the founder and editor-in-chief of the lifestyle website The Tig, which closed in April 2017.  In 2016 Markle and Canadian clothing company Reitmans released a women's fashion workwear line. She became a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, traveling to Rwanda for the Clean Water Campaign.  She has also worked as an Advocate with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.  She also attended the 2016 summit in Ottawa.   Markle is a self-proclaimed foodie and is friends with several celebrities, including Serena Williams, Jessica Mulroney, and Ben Mulroney.

In June 2016, she began a relationship with Prince Harry of Wales. Markle is a distant relation to the Prince.  Their common ancestors are Elizabeth Bowes and her husband, Richard Bowes, son of Sir Ralph Bowes of Streatlam Castle and High Sheriff of County Durham, ancestors of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (née Bowes-Lyon).  On November 8, 2016, the Royal Family's communications secretary released an official statement addressing the "wave of abuse and harassment" directed toward Markle that followed the announcement of her relationship with the Prince.

The statement spoke to the sexism, racism, and defamatory stories directed at Markle and urged the press to "pause and reflect" before driving these storylines.  Later that month, they made their first public appearances at an official royal engagement, the wheelchair tennis event, and the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Toronto.  On November 27, 2017, it was announced that Markle and Prince Harry had become engaged. 

She married Prince Harry on May 19th, 2018.  The couple had their first child in May 2019, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.   In 2020, the couple announced their intention to step back as senior members of the royal family and split their time between the UK and North America.

In March 2020, it was announced that the Duchess would be the narrator of Disneynature's documentary Elephant. The proceeds from the documentary are donated to Elephant Without Borders for species conservation in Botswana.  She then volunteered to deliver foods prepared by Project Angel Food to Los Angeles residents amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Soon after, their royal titles were taken away.  In a March 2021 interview, she and her husband revealed they left the royal family over racism directed at them.  Markel was emotionally abused by administrators of the queen and many British tabloids.  The royal family offered no protection from the press and told her and her husband that (during her pregnancy) they were concerned about her son’s skin color and that he would not be a royal.

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