Meghan Markle’s name has been splashed across headlines since news first broke of her relationship with Prince Harry. With royal wedding bells due to ring in May 2018 for the couple’s much-anticipated nuptials, all eyes have turned to the princess-to-be. The Hollywood actress best known for her part as Rachel Zane on the American legal drama “Suits” seemingly popped onto the world’s radar out of nowhere, but she had quite an interesting path that led her from fairly humble beginnings to a modern-day fairy tale. Therefore, we’ve gathered these fun facts about the fun-loving future royal and everything you’d want to know about her impressive resume, altruistic extracurriculars, her change of religion, and much, much more.
1. Meghan Isn’t Really Her First Name
As the actress-turned-royal-to-be increasingly becomes a media phenomenon, interesting tidbits about her personal life have turned up. While it is not really a secret, many may be surprised to know that “Meghan” is not actually her first name.
The Los Angeles native was born Rachel Meghan Markle, but goes by her middle name. It is not clear why she chose to do this, but we think it works. Meanwhile, “Suits” fans flipped when they discovered the show’s star, in fact, shared the same name as her character Rachel.
2. Her First Job Was at Age 13
She might be living every girl’s dream now, but it can also be said that Meghan Markle embodies the “American Dream.” From a young age, she demonstrated her industrious, hard-working nature that seems to have taken her far in life.
During her childhood, the soon-to-be-duchess was very much a girl-next-door and took her first job at age 13 working as a shop girl at a frozen yogurt store in LA. She was paid minimum wage, which was just $4 an hour then. It seems this modern-day Cinderella story is getting its well-deserved happy ending.
3. She’s Related to Shakespeare
Shakespeare wrote “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” and Meghan Markle is about to be one. But that’s not all the two have in common, apparently. According to genealogy service MyHeritage.com, the actress’ ties to Britain date way back.
The firm researched Markle’s lineage upon news of her royal engagement, and discovered that she is the world-famous playwright’s fifth cousin 13 times removed! It turns out that she’s ALSO a distant relative of renowned statesman Winston Churchill. It seems there is so MUCH ado about Markle!
4. She Appealed to Hillary Clinton
Markle’s affinity for activism and feminism made waves way before she was in the spotlight. At a mere 11-years-old, she wrote to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton of her objection of gender-specific language in an Ivory soap ad.
The precocious pre-teen found the narration stating “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans” to be sexist. Markle’s petition indeed spurred change, and the detergent brand altered the tagline to say “people” instead of specifically “women.” You go, girl!
5. She Has a Hidden Talent
Before her acting skills were discovered, Meghan Markle excelled at a not-so-hidden talent. Learning to perfectly cross her ‘t’s’ and dotting her ‘i’s’ at Catholic school came in handy later in life when Markle was a little cash-strapped before her big on-screen breakout.
Before “Suits,” Markle earned some extra cash doing freelance calligraphy. In between auditions, her quilled gigs included inking invitation for Robin Thick and Paula Patton’s wedding and penning celebrity correspondences for Dolce & Gabbana. Perhaps this will come in handy for all those invitations she has…?
If you enjoyed that piece of Meghan Markle trivia, you’ll definitely love the next one!
6. She Had a Very Down-to-Earth Question before Meeting Prince Harry
Meghan Markle has admitted that she did not know much about her royal fiancé before she met him. Ahead of her first date with Prince Harry, Markle had only one very down-to-earth question about him: “Is he nice?”
She explained that she had understood there was “global interest” surrounding the British monarchs, but her upbringing in America wasn’t steeped in acute understanding of the royals. The prospect of dating a prince may have eclipsed some people’s sensibilities, but it seems Markle always had her priorities straight.
7. She Ran a Lifestyle Blog Until Recently
Just when you thought Meghan Markle’s resume couldn’t get any more impressive, there was another bullet point to add. Until recently, she juggled her acting career, personal life, fitness regimen and travels all the while taking on a personal “passion project.”
On her blog, entitled “The Tig,” she shared her insights on cooking, food and wine. Like Queen Elizabeth, Markle enjoys a nice drink. She even named her now defunct blog after her favorite wine – Tignanello. Unfortunately for Markle, as a royal she won’t be able to pursue such passion projects, or even post on social media. Perhaps she should start the first-ever royal food blog: “Royal A-Fare”… anyone?
8. She Was the Top-Searched Actress on Google in 2016
Markle seemingly emerged out of nowhere (to those who don’t watch “Suits” at least) to become one of the most recognized names in the world. She only started sweeping headlines last year after her relationship with Prince Harry was announced. And that apparently had the Internet wondering – “who is she?”
Mass searches about the red-headed royal’s beau catapulted Markle to being crowned the No. 1 most-searched-for actress on Google in 2016. The “Suits” star surpassed other major showbiz ladies like Marion Cotillard, Alicia Vikander and Brie Larson. Can you say #kween?!
9. She Met Harry Through Mutual Friends
Meghan and her prince charming only have eyes for each other now, but their first encounter was actually a BLIND date. A royal romance ensued thanks to some considerate thinking by a mutual friend. The pair first met in London in July 2016.
They initially had two back-to-back dates in the British capital. As Harry explains it, he convinced her to meet him a few weeks later in Botswana. Luckily, she agreed and they camped under the stars for five days. Swoon! It seems the stars truly aligned for them.
10. So who played matchmaker?
While the identity of the mutual friend who introduced the two has yet been confirmed, several reports suggest that the person in question is fashion designer Misha Nonoo, a close friend of Markle’s. Nonoo was also married to one of Prince Harry’s closest friends from Eton College, Alexander Gilkes, until recently.
When asked about the identity of their matchmaker in a recent interview, the Prince responded, “We should protect her privacy and not reveal too much of that.” Only a true gentlemen would protect his friends like that!
11. Canada Has a Special Place in Her Heart
Meghan Markle will soon call Kensington Palace her permanent home. But for years she lived a relatively quiet life in Toronto, where “Suits” is filmed. Perhaps due to the fact that “Suits” didn’t initially air in Canada, Markle was able to keep a pretty low profile in the country.
Some of the actress’ favorite haunts in Toronto allegedly include Trinity Bellwoods Park, Kensington Market and the downtown Soho House club. Her million-dollar home there reportedly sold in less than a week after going on the market.
12. She Met Barack Obama
She may be rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Queen now, but before she was on the royal radar, Markle met another renowned head of state – Barack Obama. In March 2015, the “Suits” star was pictured alongside the former president as two share glances of seemingly equal amazement.
“Such a pleasure to meet you Mr. President @barackobama #grateful us #whitehouse,” she captioned a photo on Instagram. Markle’s encounters with world leaders didn’t end there though. Keep reading to find out which other dignitaries she has met.
13. She Loves to Cook
Eat your heart out. That’s apparently one of Meghan’s favorite pastimes. The self-described “foodie” loves to whips up edible creations in the kitchen and is always looking to indulge in some local grub during her travels. Her lit Instagram has us salivating.
Markle is quite a queen in the kitchen and loves to cook. Prince Harry has apparently gobbled up all his gorgeous gal had to offer and proposed to her during a cozy night in over, what else, but a roast chicken. Seriously!
14. The Queen’s Corgis Gave Meghan Markle Their Bark of Approval
Queen’s approval – check. Kate and Wills’ thumbs up – check. Prince Charles’ okay – check. Meghan Markle seems to have everyone’s approval, even the furriest members of the royal family – the queen’s beloved corgis. The queen’s famous pets quickly gave Markle their proverbial bark of approval.
“I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at—this one walks in, absolutely nothing,” Prince Harry said of the dogs’ instant liking of his bride-to-be. Of the K-9 encounter, Markle seemed equally as smitten with the pups, saying they were “just lying on my feet during tea. It was very sweet.”
Don’t miss out on the last couple fun facts about Meghan Markle, read on!
15. She Gets Along with the In-Laws
Meeting the in-law is usually a big deal. But when your father-in-law is the heir apparent to the throne and your future brother-in-law is next in line, it’s understandable that family get-togethers could be a little nerve-wracking.
Don’t forget the American actress’ soon-to-be sister-in-law is Kate Middleton, aka Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, aka the future queen consort, aka one of the biggest fashion icons of our time. Yet, the members of the monarchy have reportedly openly and excitedly welcomed Markle to the family.
16. She Adopted Her Dogs Because of Ellen DeGeneres
Before Prince Harry entered the picture, Meghan Markle had a couple other loves of her life. No, we’re not talking about former romantic interest, but her two furry, four-legged friends. Another famous American media personality, Ellen Degeneres, actually convinced Markle to adopt the two.
The actress took in her first rescue – Bogart the beagle – per the talk show host’s urgings after the two crossed paths at a shelter. The “Suits” star later adopted labrador-shepherd mix, Guy. She has since become an advocate for K-9 adoption. The fairy “tail” just keeps getting better.
17. She’s a Humanitarian and Philanthropist
While the glamor of red carpets and blue bloods might be nice, Meghan Markle also spends her time taking on some very altruistic pursuits. The soon-to-be-royal has been hailed as “a true humanitarian” for her extensive advocacy work.
Aiming to use her celebrity to highlight the plight of others, the actress has been a Global Ambassador for World Vision. Her repertoire of charity involvement includes advocacy with several groups largely focused on women’s rights and youth. Her philanthropic passions have drawn comparisons to her late mother-in-law and dedicated humanitarian, Princess Diana.
18. Meghan’s signature look
We all know Meghan Markle as a fresh-faced beauty with long flowing locks and a great sense of style. She often likes to play with her look, with an occasional dark lip or a sexy smokey eye. However, the Queen’s view on makeup isn’t as progressive.
Women of the royal family are required to keep their makeup neutral, meaning no more experimenting with color, highlighting, heavy conturing or even bright nail colors for the soon-to-be royal. Furthermore, according to several sources, the actress-turned-princess won’t be allowed to put on her favorite pair of wedge heels anymore – apparently, the queen is not a fan.
19. A New Religion
Though Markle grew up Protestant and went to a Catholic school, she plans to get baptized and confirmed in the Church of England before she marries her Prince Charming, much like Kate Middleton before she married Prince William.
By doing this, Markle will honor Harry’s grandmother the Queen, who holds the title “Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.” among her many titles. Though she doesn’t define herself as a religious person, Markle is willing to do so as a tribute to her new family.
20. She Has Queen Elizabeth’s Nod of Approval
While nuptial tradition has seen hopeful grooms seeking the blessing of their future bride’s family, things are little different when a royal is involved. As fifth in line to the British throne, Prince Harry HAD to get permission from the sovereign in order to wed.
And so, he asked for his grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s approval before popping the question to Markle. The sovereign seemingly gave her regal stamp of approval seeing that Harry got down on one knee in November 2017, and Meghan couldn’t wait to say “yes”!
21. Prince Harry Hadn’t Seen ‘Suits’ Before He Met Her
Before ever meeting, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry seemed to have one thing in common: neither knew very much about the other. While Meghan wasn’t too familiar with the royal, Harry had never seen the show that made her famous – the USA Network drama “Suits.”
“I’d never heard of Meghan before and I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her,” Harry adorably admitted of his now-fiancée. Luckily, neither was too offended and the two actually thought the whole matter was very refreshing. Sounds… pretty normal, actually.
22. No more PDA
The royal family may possibly be a very affectionate bunch indoors, but they definitely keep any sort of PDA hidden from the public eye. Though it’s not known as a formal rule, it’s been reported that members of the royal family aren’t allowed to kiss, cuddle or even hold hands in public.
As a newly engaged couple, it must be hard for Prince Harry and his lucky lady to keep their hands off each other. Furthermore, since the Royal family is known for being reserved and strait-laced, Markle will also have to keep her knockout figure covered up in relatively demure outfits.
23. She Graduated from a Top University
Not only is she beautiful, talented and engaged to one of the most famous royals in the world, but Meghan Markle is SMART! Before gracing the halls of Kensington Palace, she wandered the corridors of another historical establishment – Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
The scholarly student graduated in 2003 with a double major in communications and theater. She was also a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Markle has spoken fondly of her time at university, during which she learned to embrace her heritage. She certainly gets an A+ in our books!
Want to learn more about the future royal? Keep reading to complete your Meghan Markle education!
24. She is Making British Royal History
You might be surprised, but Meghan Markle actually isn’t the first American divorcee to marry a British royal. However, there doesn’t seem to be as much of a crisis now compared to when King Edward VIII chose to wed American Socialite Wallis Simpson.
That incident led Edward to abdicate the throne. Although Prince Harry isn’t first in line to the throne, royal protocol seems to have made progressive strides and readily accepted his engagement to Markle, who was married once before, is Catholic and has a mixed African-American and Dutch-Irish heritage.
25. She is Older than Prince Harry
When it comes to matters of the heart, age isn’t always a deciding factor. Luckily, this seems to be the case with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. The fresh-faced American actress born in 1981 is, in fact, three years older than her 33-year-old betrothed.
While her age doesn’t seem to matter for her marriage, that wasn’t always the case in Hollywood. Markle said she was repeatedly advised to lie about her age at auditions once she passed 30. Interestingly, at 36, she will make history as the oldest British royal bride. But seriously, age is just a number.
26. She’s Proud of her Heritage
Meghan Markle has addressed making history as the first person of mixed heritage to marry into the royal family, saying she is “really proud.” Meghan’s mother, Doria, is a yoga instructor and social worker of African-American descent. Her father, Thomas, has Dutch-Irish roots.
Amid rumors of Meghan and Harry’s courtship, Kensington Palace issued an unprecedented statement warning against media attacks with “racial undertones” against Markle. The chivalrous move backing the prince’s cause has been viewed as one of many increasingly progressive steps the Crown has taken as of late.
27. She Has Family Ties to Showbiz
Meghan Markle’s big break came with the 2011 debut of “Suits.” But before her own rise to fame, the LA native was familiar with the Hollywood showbiz scene. She was able to visit many famous sets while tagging along with her father – Emmy Award-winning lighting director, Thomas Markle.
She has explained that she basically “grew up” on the set of “Married with Children.” “Every day after school for 10 years I was there.” Markle was able to mingle with the cast and help out with craft services, where she first learned about food presentation.
28. She’s Come a Long Way Since her Gameshow Days
Years before “Suits,” there were suitcases for Meghan Markle. About 10 years ago, the US-actress was trying to break into showbiz and took on several contract gigs. One of those early acting and modeling jobs was a “suitcase girl” on the popular game show “Deal or No Deal.”
Markle stayed in the mini dress-clad role for less than a year and has since packed her bags for bigger and better things. She had some casting difficulties early in her career as she was frustrating labeled as “ethnically ambiguous.” Fortunately, she went on to snatch some deals of a lifetime.
29. She Will Apply for UK Citizenship
Following her engaged to Prince Harry, news traveled of Meghan Markle’s plans to apply for British citizenship. The process to become a Brit is long-winded, and the future royal bride will not receive any special treatment.
Like every other naturalization hopeful, she will need to obtain a special “family visa” and pass a TEST on all things UK in order to stay in the kingdom. The whole immigration process could take up to several years. However, taking into account her illustrious English ancestors, it seems destined she’d become a Brit.
30. She Has Several A-Lister BFFs
When she’s not schmoozing with members of the royal court, Meghan Markle has a pretty posh posse. The actress’ inner circle includes several celebrity A-listers, and the world is wondering which famous faces will flock to Windsor Castle when royal wedding bells ring in May 2018.
Markle has surrounded herself with a group of solid gal pals, including tennis champ Serena Williams, “Quantico” star/former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra, New York socialite Olivia Palermo, designer Misha Nonoo and “Suits” co-star Abigail Spencer. Now the question remains, how will Markle choose bridesmaids with so many fabulous friends?
31. She Worked at the US Embassy in Argentina
Meghan Markle’s past experience in international relations will perhaps come in handy in her new role as a member of the British Royal Family. Markle began honing her diplomatic skills at the age of 20 when she was going into her senior year at Northwestern.
She may soon be part of the monarchy’s motorcade, but Markle is no stranger to high-profile convoys. Markle rode around with luminaries during an internship at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires before taking on Tinsel Town. She definitely gets our vote as an exemplary emissary.
If you liked that interesting tidbit, keep reading for more insights on the prudent future princess.
32. She Plans to Leave Acting After Marriage
Like Grace Kelly (aka Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco), Meghan Markle plans to leave acting after her wedding and take on another job: full-time royal. The day after her engagement, the actress said cheers to “Suits,” informing producers that the show’s seventh season would be her last.
Markle will undergo a whole lifestyle transition, leaving her career, home country and several humanitarian posts. Yet, her royal duties will include involvement in initiatives “that are working on the same causes that I’ve always been passionate about.” Sounds good, where can we apply?
33. She Also Knows Justin Trudeau
Preparing to become a fixture in the British Royal Family is one of Meghan Markle’s mains tasks. Luckily, she is already acquainted with some prominent figures in the Commonwealth. Take for example Canada’s much-fawned-over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Markle chatted with the Canadian leader in October 2016, almost a year before her royal engagement, at the One Young World Summit in Ottawa. The actress has also reportedly been getting tips from Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, on living in such a high-profile public position. Very impressive, eh?
34. She’s A Passionate Yogi
As the daughter of a yoga teacher, it’s no surprise that Meghan Markle has followed in her mother’s very flexible footsteps. The 36-year-old credits her mom for her love of the practice, which she swears by as a staple of her fitness regime.
The royally fit Markle started the discipline as a child and has stayed in shaped every since, thanks to a lot of posing and bending. Prince Harry’s flexible fiancée also keeps her figure fit for a queen with jogging, healthy eating and green juices. Maybe she’ll team up with Kate Middleton for some royal running…
35. She was Homecoming Queen
Before her connection to the British Crown, Meghan Markle bore the tiara as her high school’s homecoming queen. She looks as regal as ever in this photo from her 1998 prom. Little did the secondary school homecoming queen know, she would later be a real-life princess.
Markle attended the LA-area Catholic girl school Immaculate High from age 11 to 18. Her elegant essence was already apparent back then as she was dubbed “Classy Girl” in her school’s yearbook. She’ll probably be needing a lot more ball gowns for her future engagements.
Wait till you read the next Meghan Markle fact.
36. She Had Cameo Appearances in Several Blockbuster Flicks
Meghan Markle landed major screen cred after the 2011 debut of “Suits.” But before she scored her first leading role, Markle took some small parts in multiple TV shows and movies. Her first on-screen appearance was in 2002 as an extra on the daytime soap “General Hospital.”
She also had some short gigs on “Century City,” “The War at Home” and “CSI: NY.” Fans may also be tickled to know she appears in the 2011 flick “Horrible Bosses” and in a role labeled “hot girl” in the 2005 Ashton Kutcher rom-com “A Lot Like Love.”
37. She Starred in ‘Suits’ since the Very Beginning
Meghan Markle has proven her loyalty on the path to becoming royalty. She starred as an original castmate since the 2011 pilot of her breakthrough show, “Suits.” For seven seasons she played paralegal-turned-attorney Rachel Zane.
The popular legal drama is due to resume the finish the second half of season seven in 2018 despite Markle’s exit. The studio shouldn’t be too sad though, all the media hype around Markle has definitely given the show the royal treatment when it comes to promotion.
38. She’s an Only Child
Meghan Markle’s life may seem charmed now, but the coming-royal had to overcome some hardships on her way to happiness. Public interest has piqued in Markle’s background as she becomes ever more a household name. Among what’s been discovered is that her parents split in 1988 when she was six-years-old.
While Meghan is the only child from that union, she does have two half-siblings from her father’s previous marriage – Thomas Markle Jr. and Samantha Grant. Meghan apparently is estranged from the two and has had a rocky relationship with her dad, but things seem better now. However, she has always been very close to her mom.
39. Meghan and Harry Tried to Keep Their Relationship on the DL
Chances are we’ll only be hearing more and more about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry as their big day nears. There certainly has been a lot of fanfare surrounding their engagement. But, the deliciously darling couple wanted to keep their love very private at first.
Well, their efforts lasted a short while. About six months to be exact before rumors of their romance were confirmed. The pair may have initially managed to largely avoid the prying eyes of the public but they have since sparked a media frenzy on both sides of the Atlantic.
40. She’s Not the First American to Wed a British Royal
Meghan Markle is not the first divorced American woman to marry into the British Royal Family, but she is the first who has been welcomed. In 1936, King Edward abdicated to marry Baltimore socialite and two-time divorceé Wallis Simpson after the matter caused a constitutional crisis.
Wallis was snubbed and denied an HRH title, which Markle will receive. The Church of England’s easing rigidity about divorced people over the decades and Harry’s proximity to the throne contribute to the royals not caring so much that Markle was married before to actor/producer Trevor Engelson (who also happens to be Jewish).
41. She Designed a Fashion Collection, or Two
Meghan Markle, like her famous future sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge, is renowned for her impeccable style and status as an inspiring fashion icon. The American actress definitely has a keen sartorial sense, but did you know she designed two wearable collections?
The stylish celeb teamed up with Montreal-based designers to create two capsule collections for Canadian retailer Reitmans. The apparel company named Markle their brand ambassador in 2015 in an attempt to re-energize the label. While that initiative has since ended we’re sure she’ll continue influencing global attire.
42. She Used to Date a Celebrity Chef
It’s no wonder that Meghan Markle has captured the hearts of men the world over. But before Prince Harry took her off the market, she was involved with well-known Canadian chef Cory Vitiello. The pair allegedly dated between 2014 and 2016 while Markle was filming in Toronto.
It seems that not all the right ingredients were in that relationship, however, and the timer went off for their time together. The American actress started dating Harry shortly thereafter in June 2016. One thing is for sure, she sure has good taste in men.
43. Her Nickname is ‘Flower’
Meghan Markle’s social media is full of beautifully budding flowers, particularly pics of her favorite picks – peonies. This is particularly suiting for the “Suits” star as she has blossomed into quite a fine young woman over the years.
While the British might want to claim her as an “English Rose,” those close to Markle have always regarded her as lovely. Growing up, her mom even nicknamed her “flower.” Her other nicknames are “Meg,” “MM” and “M&M.” Either way you put it, she stills seems as sweet.
44. Her Engagement Ring Holds Sentimental Value
If Meghan Markle and her handsome Prince Harry’s romance isn’t a true-life fairy tale, then we don’t know what is. Meghan’s gallant guy personally designed the engagement ring he proposed to her with. The sparkling spectacle is made of a rare yellow diamond from Botswana, where their romance budded early on.
Two diamonds from the collection of Harry’s late mother, the revered Princess Diana, also adorn the ring that Markle proudly wears. Prince Harry teamed up with jewelers Cleave and Company to make the touching treasure. It sure sounds like Meghan has found herself a keeper.
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