Despite being American, Meghan Markle has sometimes been known in Canada as Toronto "royalty," mingling with other celebrities in the city where Suits, the US legal drama in which she starred as a high-flying paralegal Rachel Zane, was filmed.
The 36-year-old, mixed-race divorcee is very different from most of the women who have married into Britain's royal family.
She appeared on Canadian television alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while her friends reportedly include US tennis star Serena Williams.
Markle is a graduate of the US Northwestern University's theatre program, according to her Suits biography.
Apart from the legal drama, she made "notable recurring and guest-starring roles" in television productions including Fringe, Without a Trace, CSI: NY, CSI: Miami and The League.
She is also credited on feature films such as Get Him to the Greek, Remember Me, A Lot Like Love, and Horrible Bosses.
Markle, who was previously married to US film producer Trevor Engelson, confirmed she was giving up her acting career in her first joint television interview with Prince Harry in November.
The couple told the BBC they were "set up" by a mutual friend in their first meeting in July 2016.
Markle told the broadcaster she didn't feel she was "giving anything up" by ending her acting career.
"It's a new chapter, right. And now it's time to, as you (Harry) said, work as a team with you."
Markle describes herself as mixed race, and has written online about racism experienced by her African-American mother.
For Elle magazine in 2015, she discussed the casual racism she experienced while growing up in Los Angeles and said she took "pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman."
Markle wrote that she often reluctantly tells people: "My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African-American. I'm half black and half white."
In a later interview with the Toronto Star, she said she had failed to fit in with any racial group during her school years.
"I grew up in LA in a school that was diverse, but it was not really integrated," she told the newspaper.
"So I didn't ever fully fit in with the black girls or the white girls or the Latina girls."
Instead, Markle immersed herself in school clubs "because I didn't want to sit alone at lunch ... so that I had something to do, so I could find a place where I fit in."