Everything You Need To Know About Meghan Markle, The (American) Princess

Who is Meghan Markle? It's the question everyone's asking since noted hot royal Prince Henry of Wales (or Harry, as he's best known) stepped out with her in June 2016. Her biography details her time as an actress and lifestyle blogger, but she remained relatively under the radar until she and Harry got engaged in November 2017. Stories about Meghan Markle reveal that her royal wedding was so much more than just a real-life fairytale.

Markle's marriage into the British royal family seems to have caused quite the stir in the still overwhelmingly traditional monarchy. Markle is the first acknowledged mixed-race member of the British royal family; Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, may have been partially Black, but that has never been officially confirmed. Then there's the matter of Markle's religious and social background: she's a divorced woman with Catholic connections. Even just a few years earlier, Markle and the Prince's union would have been considered impossible.

Here's everything you need to know about Meghan Markle, the woman from Los Angeles, California who became royalty.

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  • She Was A Suitcase Model On Deal Or No Deal

    She Was A Suitcase Model On Deal Or No Deal
    Photo: NBC

    Before she landed her gig on Suits, Markle appeared in 34 episodes of the US game show Deal or No Deal. She was a "briefcase girl" – a model tasked with standing on stage and opening a briefcase to reveal some amount of money.

  • She's Been Married Before

    She's Been Married Before
    Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment

    Markle was previously married to producer Trevor Engelson; the pair divorced in 2013. Fortunately for her, the Church of England adjusted its stance on divorced couples remarrying in 2002. Previously, the Church viewed marriage as a lifelong commitment.

    Queen Elizabeth has a complicated personal relationship with divorce and remarriage as well. She forbid her sister Princess Margaret from marrying the divorced Peter Townsend in 1953, and her own father ascended the throne after his brother abdicated to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson.

  • She Speaks Frankly About The Challenges Of Being Mixed Race

    She Speaks Frankly About The Challenges Of Being Mixed Race
    Photo: WPA Pool/Pool / Getty Images Entertainment

    In an article she wrote for Elle in 2016, Markle spoke about the ignorance she experienced and the isolation she felt growing up as a mixed race child. Her father is white and her mother is Black, and she says she often felt like an "other" no matter where she was.

    Today, Markle says she prefers to eschew simple labels and "draw [her] own box."

  • She Has Catholic Ties (Which Is A Big Deal To The Royal Family)

    She Has Catholic Ties (Which Is A Big Deal To The Royal Family)
    Photo: WPA Pool/Pool / Getty Images Entertainment

    Markle is reportedly Protestant, but she attended Catholic school as a child. Fortunately, the passage of the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 came just in the knick of time for her to marry Prince Harry. Before that, the family had to follow the 1701 Act of Settlement, which banned Catholics or royalty who married Catholics from succession to the throne.

    Why is this such a big deal? The Protestant-Catholic divide is part of Britain's fraught history. The situation isn't as tense as it was hundreds of years ago, but Queen Elizabeth still takes her role as the head of the Anglican Church very seriously. Allowing her grandson to marry a woman with Catholic ties was a big deal.

  • She Had A Relatable Lifestyle Blog

    She Had A Relatable Lifestyle Blog
    Photo: The Tig

    Markle wrote and produced a lifestyle blog named The Tig for nearly three years. The site focused on food, fashion, travel, beauty, décor, and people she found inspirational. Instead of pricey gifts and lavish lifestyles, The Tig set out to promote charitable causes and achievable luxuries.

    Once Markle and Prince Harry went public with their relationship, she closed down the blog.

  • She Was A Professional Calligrapher

    While Markle was a struggling actress, she made extra money doing calligraphy for weddings and events. She thinks of handwritten notes as a lost art form, and treasures a letter her dad hand wrote to congratulate her when she booked her first TV pilot.

    "The idea of someone taking the time to put pen to paper is really special," she says.