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Meghan, duchess of Sussex

consort of Prince Harry
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Alternative Titles: Meghan Markle, Rachel Meghan Markle

Meghan, duchess of Sussex, original name in full Rachel Meghan Markle, (born August 4, 1981, Los Angeles, California, U.S.), American British actress and consort (2018– ) of Prince Harry, duke of Sussex and sixth in line to the British throne.

Markle was born to Doria Ragland, an African American former television studio intern who later became a social worker and yoga instructor, and her husband, Thomas Markle, a lighting director who was white; the couple met on the set of the soap opera General Hospital. Markle’s parents divorced when she was a young child, but both remained active in her life. In 1995 she had an uncredited role in the sitcom Married…with Children, for which her father served as director of lighting and of photography. After graduating from Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girls Roman Catholic school, in 1999, Markle studied theatre and international studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (B.A., 2003).

Markle then returned to Los Angeles to embark on an acting career. She quickly began landing guest roles in TV shows, including CSI: NY, 90210, CSI: Miami, and Fringe, and she supplemented her income working as a freelance calligrapher. Her big break came when she was cast as paralegal Rachel Zane in the popular USA Network legal drama series Suits (2011–19). She also played leading roles in such movies as Random Encounters (2013) and Anti-Social (2015). In addition, she ran a lifestyle blog, The Tig (2014–17).

Markle, who had briefly been married (2011–13) to producer Trevor Engelson, was introduced to Prince Harry by a mutual friend in 2016; Harry was the younger of the two sons of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. An early date was a camping trip to Botswana. The tabloid press quickly discovered the relationship, and its coverage of the couple was seen by many as salacious and often insulting and racist. Late in 2016 Harry made the relationship public while berating the British press for its treatment of Markle. The couple’s engagement was announced in November 2017. The wedding took place at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018, and Meghan was given the title duchess of Sussex. Their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, was born on May 6, 2019.

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Though Meghan was often praised for her open and relaxed demeanour, the couple continued to be bedeviled by the tabloid press. In addition, a rift between Harry and Meghan and the other royals began to appear. In January 2020 the couple announced that they would retreat from their royal duties and planned to become financially independent of the royal family. It was later announced that they would, as of March 31, no longer be “working members” of the royal family. The couple subsequently relocated to Los Angeles, where they continued to support various charities. In addition, Meghan publicly discussed politics and personal subjects that were considered unsuitable topics for members of the royal family. Notably, in 2020 she revealed that she had experienced a miscarriage.

Patricia Bauer
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