Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The fairytale romance between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has reached a thrilling chapter with the couple’s engagement. In a very private moment a few weeks ago, the fifth in line to the British throne got down on one knee during a roast chicken dinner at Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace, where the couple will set up home. Then through an official Palace statement on Monday, the world got to celebrate with them.
As well as the flurry of Tweets about the royal wedding, which will take place in May 2018 at Windsor Castle, we got to see the beautiful ring Prince Harry designed for his sweetheart during the official photo call in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden. The ring, which has a yellow gold band and a diamond from Botswana at the centre, includes diamonds from his mother’s personal jewellery collection. And during a BBC interview, the popular royal said Diana, Princess of Wales, would have been “over the moon” about his union with the actress.
Their love story has involved a blind date, falling in love under the stars in Botswana, a country that holds special significance for Prince Harry, and staying committed to seeing each other every two weeks while courting long-distance. It also saw Prince Harry, 33, issuing a statement to the press to protect Markle, a mixed-race woman, from bigoted remarks from the tabloids.
While we love the way Prince Harry has gone from former “wild child” to someone who proudly spent 10 years working in the Armed Forces and now spearheads charities, there’s a lot to be said about the bride-to-be. Here’s what you should know about the first American to officially marry a British royal, earning her the title of Duchess of Sussex.
She is proud of her mixed heritage: While they both “came from little” according to the 36-year-old Markle, her parents are from different racial backgrounds. Her mother, Doria Ragland, a free-spirited psychotherapist and yoga instructor, is African-American while her father, Thomas Markle, is Dutch-Irish.
"While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that," Markle wrote in an “Elle” magazine article. "To say who I am, to share where I'm from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.” While the future senior royal’s parents divorced when she was six, they showed unity in a joint statement saying how “incredibly happy” they are about the wedding.
She is a dedicated humanitarian: The dark haired beauty, who divorced Trevor Engelson in 2013, is an avid humanitarian, just like her fiancé. Markle’s mother gave her a head start by taking her to remote, often impoverished, places around the world, and then she volunteered in a soup kitchen from the age of 15. In 2016, Markle became a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, a position that involved travelling to Rwanda for the ‘Clean Water’ campaign, the agency's push to provide safe, clean drinking water. She has also been a counsellor for international charity One Young World, and she spoke at their 2014 annual summit. Markle, who has filmed her final “Suits” series, is excited to carve out a new career as a global charity campaigner.
She is a feminist: Markle, who also became an entrepreneur through her former lifestyle blog, The Tig, has become known for campaigning for gender equality. She was just 11 years old when she got involved. As she explained during a speech for UN Women, that’s when she saw a television ad she felt suggested kitchen work was a woman's role, leaving her angry and shocked. “It just wasn't right, and something needed to be done," she said at the event in 2015. She wrote letters to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, a female attorney and the manufacturer of the dishwashing product, Proctor and Gamble. Soon afterwards, the beginning of the offending line, which originally started with “women” was changed to “people.” Markle has been a UN women’s advocate for Political Participation and Leadership since 2014, and she publicly supported the ‘He For She’ campaign launched by fellow advocate Emma Watson.
She is a gifted actress: Born Rachel Meghan Markle, the most Googled actress of 2016 was raised in Los Angeles before moving to Toronto. She knew what it was like being on set from an early age due to her dad working as a lightening director on shows like “Married with Children” and “General Hospital.” Thanks to winning the lottery when she was nine, her dad, an Emmy winner, was able to send her to top private schools and Northwestern University. She double-majored in Theatre and International Relations, all paving the way for Markle’s incredible rise to global fame, according to her older half-brother Tom Jr.
She made her acting debuts on episodes of “General Hospital” and “CSI: Miami,” but is now mostly known for her work as Rachel Zane on slick legal drama series “Suits.” The self-proclaimed foodie, a trait incorporated into her “Suits” character, is also known for her role as special agent Amy Jessup in the sci-fi thriller “Fringe.” Plus, she has appeared in some movies like “Get Him to the Greek,” “Remember Me” and “Horrible Bosses.”
She’s a talented calligrapher: Most budding actresses make ends meet by doing part-time jobs like waitressing, yet Markle earned her money using her impressive handwriting skills. While trying to find acting jobs, she split her time between auditions and working as a freelance calligrapher. “I used to be a calligrapher for weddings and events — that was my side job while I was auditioning,” she told “Good Housekeeping.” An apparent whiz at calligraphy, which is interestingly having a resurgence, she had some impressive clients including Dolce & Gabbana and Robin Thicke for his marriage to Paula Patton. The Queen will surely find Markle’s secret weapon handy in case of some urgently needed scripted place cards!