The Duchess of Sussex – A new life

meghan sussex
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The future Duchess of Sussex was born as Rachel Meghan Markle on 4 August 1981 as the daughter of Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland in Los Angeles in the United States. She has two half-siblings from her father’s first marriage to Roslyn Loveless. Her parents divorced when she was six years old, and while she had a relationship with her father and siblings in childhood, they are currently estranged.

From the age of 2 to 11, Meghan attended the Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse before continuing her education at Immaculate Heart High School in 1992. She then went to Northwestern University, where she doubled majored in Theatre and International Relations and graduated in 2003. She did an internship at the US Embassy in Argentina during her time at university and learned to speak Spanish.

After graduating from university, Meghan went into acting. During those first years as she was starting out, she supported herself by working as a calligrapher. She has several small guests roles in films and television shows before joining the cast of Suits in 2011 in the role of Rachel Zane. She stayed on the show for seven years and appeared in over 100 episodes.

In 2004, she began dating Trevor Engelson, and they were married on 10 September 2011, but they were divorced two years later. She subsequently dated Cory Vitiello, which ended in 2016. In July 2016, Meghan began dating Prince Harry after they met during a blind date set up by a mutual friend, and they appeared together in public for the first time in September 2017 at the Invictus Games in Toronto. In November 2016, Prince Harry released a statement following the intense attention from the press. “His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”1

The engagement between Meghan and Prince Harry was announced on 27 November 2017, and Meghan revealed during the following engagement interview that the proposal was “sweet and natural, very romantic.” Shortly before the wedding, she was baptised and confirmed into the Church of England, even though this was not a requirement. Prince Harry and Meghan were married on 19 May 2018 at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Meghan wore a wedding dress designed by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy. Her veil was embroidered with flowers representing the countries of the Commonwealth, the California poppy, in honour of her home state of California, and wintersweet, a flower that grows at Kensington Palace. The veil was held in place by a diamond bandeau tiara that had been made for Queen Mary in 1932.2 Prince Harry was created Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel3 on the day of the wedding, which meant that after the wedding, Meghan became known as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, with the status of a Princess4.

They initially lived at Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace before moving to Frogmore Cottage near Windsor Castle. Shortly before their first wedding anniversary, Meghan gave birth to their first child – a son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. A daughter named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor was born on 4 June 2021. Meghan also suffered a miscarriage in the summer of 2020.

Under the current 1917 Letters Patent, Archie and Lili are entitled to be HRH Prince(ss). The 1917 Letters Patent state “It is declared by the Letters Patent that the children of any Sovereign of the United Kingdom and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour.” This was amended to include all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (namely The then Duke of Cambridge’s children, George, Charlotte and Louis), mainly because if George had been born a girl, she would have been “Lady” rather “Princess,” while changes to make the succession gender neutral were already underway.5 As of March 2023, it has been confirmed that Archie and Lili will be using their titles.

Meghan had begun royal duties shortly before the wedding and continued them after the wedding. Her first official trip abroad took her to Ireland in October 2018; she and Harry travelled to Australia for the 2018 Invictus Games and also visited Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. The following year, they also visited Morocco and undertook a tour of Southern Africa.

In January 2020, Harry and Meghan announced that they would be stepping back from their roles as senior members of the royal family. A statement read that they would retain their style of HRH but would no longer be using them. They also have not been stripped of any titles and remain The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Their formal role was subject to a 12-month review period, which ended in March 2021. Since then, it has been confirmed that they are to be financially independent, and they have also repaid the £2.4 million renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage. They have since moved to the United States, where they bought a house in Montecito. In a later interview with Oprah Winfrey, their stepping down was caused by not getting the help they wanted on issues such as tabloid stories about the Duchess and her not getting help for her mental health, as she had even contemplated suicide.

Whatever the future holds for the Duchess of Sussex and her family, it can only be hoped that she has gotten the help she desperately needed and is happy in her new life.

  1. See the full statement here
  2. The author of this article went slightly viral with a tweet that challenged the notion that Meghan had not curtseyed on her way out of the chapel.
  3. Announcement of titles
  4. What makes a Princess?
  5. London Gazette

About Moniek Bloks 2701 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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