Rachel Meghan Markle (born August 4, 1981) is an American actress and model. From 2011 she portrayed Rachel Zane on the legal drama series Suits. She has also been known for her role as special agent Amy Jessup in the sci-fi thriller Fringe.
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 was announced on November 27, 2017, when it was said that she would retire from acting and devote her time to humanitarian causes as a member of the British royal family.
Rachel Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981, in Los Angeles. Describing her parents, she has said, “My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American … I have come to embrace [this and] say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident, mixed-race woman. Her mother, Doria Ragland, has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California, lives in View Park-Windsor Hills, and works as a psychotherapist and yoga instructor. Her father, Thomas W. Markle, who lives in Mexico, is an Emmy Award-winning lighting director whose profession resulted in his young daughter often visiting the set of Married… with Children. Markle is of Dutch, English, and Irish descent through her father. Her parents divorced in 1988 when Markle was six years old. Markle’s two older paternal half siblings are Thomas Markle Jr and Samantha Grant.
Markle grew up in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. From age five, she was educated at private schools, beginning at Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse. At age 11, she was profiled by Linda Ellerbee on Nick News concerning Markle’s successful campaign to get a company to change a national television commercial she viewed as sexist. Markle later attended Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girl, private Catholic school in Los Angeles.She graduated in 2003 from Northwestern University, near Chicago, where she earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in theater and international studies; coursework included an internship at the US embassy in Buenos Aires.
Markle worked as a freelance calligrapher to support herself between early acting jobs. Her first appearance on screen was in the background of an episode of the daytime soap opera General Hospital. Early in her career, Markle had small guest roles on the television shows Century City (2004), The War at Home (2006), and CSI: NY (2006). She also took on several contract acting and modeling jobs that included a stint as a “briefcase girl” on the US game show Deal or No Deal. She appeared in Fox’s series Fringe as Junior Agent Amy Jessup in the first two episodes of its second season. Markle had some difficulty getting roles early in her career. In 2015, she wrote: “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”
Since July 2011, Markle has played Rachel Zane on the USA Network show Suits, which is filmed in Toronto, Ontario. The character began as a paralegal who eventually became an attorney. She completed work on that series’ seventh season in late 2017. Markle has appeared in two 2010 films, Get Him to the Greek and Remember Me, and one 2011 film, Horrible Bosses. She has also appeared in episodes of Cuts, Love, Inc., 90210, Knight Rider, Without a Trace, The League, and Castle.
During a BBC interview, Markle said that she would not return to Suits and that after she marries, she will transition out of her work as an actress.
From 2014 to 2017, Markle was founder and editor-in-chief of lifestyle website The Tig. In November 2016, Markle and Canadian clothing company Reitmans released a line of women’s fashion workwear.
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 began to report about 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 jewellery collection of the Prince’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. The publicity photos accompanying the announcement showed Markle wearing a coat designed by Line the Label, which proved so popular that excessive online orders for the jacket caused the company’s server to crash.
The engagement announcement prompted much comment about the possible social significance (or insignificance) of Markle becoming a proudly mixed-race royal.
Markle is a Protestant and Kensington Palace announced that she would be baptised 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 have raised objections to the marriage, unlike in 1936 when King Edward VIII was forced to abdicate the throne to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson.
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