Meghan Markle: From actress to royalty

Belinda Tasker
Already known for supporting a variety of causes, Meghan Markle is used to championing charities

WHO IS MEGHAN MARKLE?

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BORN

Rachel Meghan Markle was born in Los Angeles on August 4, 1981. It's unclear when or why Markle started going by her middle name.

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FAMILY

- Mum is Doria Ragland, an African-American social worker and yoga instructor.

- Dad is Emmy Award winner Thomas Markle, a lighting director who has Dutch and Irish heritage.

- They met in the late 70s when Markle was a lighting director on a TV soap and Ragland was working as a temp at the studio. They split when Meghan was six.

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SIBLINGS

- Meghan has two older half-siblings, Samantha Grant and Thomas Markle Junior, who were born when Thomas Markle was with his first wife Roslyn.

- Grant, 52, is a former actress and model, who lives in Florida and has multiple sclerosis. She reportedly hasn't spoken to Meghan since 2008.

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PETS

- Two rescue dogs, Bogart, a labrador/shepherd cross, and Guy, a beagle.

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EDUCATION

- The Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse and the Immaculate Heart High School, a private Catholic school for girls in LA.

- Graduated in 2003 from the Northwestern University School of Communication, Illinois, where she studied theatre and international relations.

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PREVIOUS MARRIAGE

- In September 2011, Meghan married movie producer and manager Trevor Engelson in Jamaica after a seven-year romance. The couple divorced in August 2013, citing irreconcilable differences.

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HOBBIES/INTERESTS

- Cooking, writing, travel, yoga, politics, social issues.

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CAREER

- Best known as Rachel Zane in US TV drama Suits.

- Markle got her break on US soap General Hospital in 2002.

- Minor TV roles followed on shows including CSI New York, Knight Rider, 90210, and Without A Trace.

- Her movie credits include British thriller Anti-Social and the comedy romance Random Encounters.

- Before breaking into acting, Markle worked as a freelance calligrapher.

- She also ran a lifestyle blog, The Tig, as a "hub for the discerning palate - those with a hunger for food, travel, fashion & beauty", but brought it to a close in April 2017 as things began getting serious with Harry.

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HUMANITARIAN WORK

- Markle is a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, an ambassador for UN Women, and an advocate for gender equality.

- She told Vanity Fair her social awareness began during the Los Angeles riots sparked by the police beating of Rodney King, in 1991.

- As an 11-year-old she was also enraged by a TV ad suggesting women belong in the kitchen washing up.