Rachel Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981. She is an American actress, model, and humanitarian. Since 2011, she has portrayed Rachel Zane on the legal drama series Suits. She is also known for her role as special agent Amy Jessup in the sci-fi thriller Fringe. She had previously worked as a freelance calligrapher.
Markle was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in theater and international studies in 2003. Her engagement to Prince Harry of the British royal family was announced on November 27, 2017. Following her engagement, she plans to retire from acting and devote her time to humanitarian causes.
Markle was in a relationship with actor and producer Trevor Engelson from 2004 until 2011. They married in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on September 10, 2011, and divorced in August 2013. Since June 2016, she has been in a relationship with British royal Prince Harry, who is fifth in line to the throne. Prince Harry and Markle met on a blind date that a mutual friend set up. The press reported on the relationship in October 2016.
On November 8, 2016, the British royal family’s communications secretary released an official statement that addressed the “wave of abuse and harassment” directed toward Markle. The statement spoke to the sexism, racism and defamatory stories directed at Markle, including an unspecified “smear on the front page of a national newspaper”. It urged the press to “pause and reflect” before driving these storylines.
During a September 2017 interview with Vanity Fair, Markle spoke in public for the first time about her love for Prince Harry, saying, “We’re two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception.” Later that month, they made their first public appearances together at an official royal engagement—the wheelchair tennis event, and the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Toronto. Markle maintained an apartment in Toronto because Suits was filmed there but moved out in late November 2017 after work on the seventh season had been completed.
On November 27, 2017, it was announced that Markle and Prince Harry were engaged. By then, she had met Harry’s family and had met Queen Elizabeth II several times. The couple will live together at Nottingham Cottage in London, on the grounds of Kensington Palace, after the wedding in May 2018. The engagement ring given by Harry to Markle consists of three diamonds, two of which were taken from the jewelry collection of the Prince’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
The engagement announcement prompted much comment about the possible social significance (or insignificance) of Markle becoming a proudly mixed-race royal.
Though she attended Catholic school as a child, Markle identified as a Protestant prior to her engagement to Prince Harry. Following her engagement, it was announced that she would be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England before the wedding. She will also become a British citizen. Despite Markle’s status as an American divorcee, neither the Crown nor the Church of England have raised objections to the marriage, unlike in 1936 when Edward VIII was forced to abdicate the throne to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson; thus, Prince Harry will remain in the line of succession.