November 8, 2023 | Stephanie Kelsey

Royal Facts About Meghan Markle, The Duchess Of Sussex

It seems like Meghan Markle has lived over three lifetimes in the past three years. While she started out as a well-respected television actress on the hit show Suits, Markle is most famous today for her fairy tale wedding to Prince Harry—but also for the way she just threw all those royal privileges away. What was behind her decision, and what's behind those Buckingham Palace doors? Read on to find out.

1. It Don’t Matter If You’re Black Or White

Meghan Markle is biracial; her mother Doria Raglan is black and her father Thomas Markle is white. Raglan worked as a makeup artist before having Meghan, while Thomas Markle worked as a lighting technician on television shows; the pair met on the set of General Hospital. That's right, it turns out that show business runs in the family.


2. All In The Family

Even though she grew up in the City of Angels, Markle didn't have the best childhood. Her parents divorced when she was just six years old, with her father eventually moving all the way to Mexico and Markle staying back with her mother. And when it came time for her royal wedding, her father dealt her a cold-hearted betrayal. 

Meghan Markle FactsWikimedia Commons, Genevieve

3. Father Knows Best

Just days before her wedding to Prince Harry, Meghan's father Thomas started causing a hailstorm of trouble. Meghan has always been private, so when paparazzi photos of her father surfaced, she naturally wanted to protect him. She found out the dark truth later.  Turns out, Thomas actually staged the photos in exchange for money—and that's not even the worst part.

Meghan Markle FactsShutterstock

4. Papa Don't Preach

When Harry and Meghan asked Thomas about the photos and the possibility that he sold them, he lied and told them he was innocent. He then rubbed salt in the wound by going on multiple talk shows to discuss his relationship with his daughter and Prince Harry, claiming that she would "be nothing without me. I made her the Duchess she is today".

Meghan Markle FactsShutterstock

5. A Little Piece Of My Heart

The "Thomas Markle Affair" became an instant media sensation, but few people know the heartbreaking coda to the story. Meghan Markle wrote her father a private letter and confessed that he had broken her heart into "a million little pieces" with his behavior before the wedding. How do we know this? Thomas later publicized the letter for all to see, naturally.

Meghan Markle close up portrait  - 2015UJA-Federation of New York, CC BY 3.0 , Wikimedia Commons

6. A Royal Rift

Thomas Markle ultimately didn't attend his daughter's royal wedding, leading to speculation that Meghan had banned him entirely from the service. In truth, Thomas was undergoing heart surgery on the day, though many felt the timing was a little too convenient. According to Thomas, he and Meghan have not talked since the royal wedding. Shocker.

Meghan Markle FactsShutterstock

7. Second Time’s The Charm

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got engaged, the public was happily surprised. But to royal insiders, there was one big problem. Markle is actually a divorcee; her first husband was producer Trevor Engelson. The British crown has a long and sordid history of disapproving of divorces, and for many, this was a scandalous piece of her history.

But if some reports are to be believed, things only got worse from there.

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

8. From Royal Court To The Tennis Court

The guest list for Meghan and Prince Harry's wedding read like a who's who of both Hollywood and English society. Not only did people like Oprah Winfrey and Idris Elba make an appearance, but so did tennis champion Serena Williams. She and Markle are close friends, and Markle still supports Williams during her matches.

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

9. Can We Come To A Dinner Party?

Meghan Markle loves cooking. Her go-to dish is a roasted chicken, and she brings it to dinner parties wherever she goes. She calls it a “game-changer,” and had said that it makes her a lot of friends. As for the chicken being a "game-changer"? Well, let's just say it was involved in the very night that Prince Harry proposed to her...

Portrait of Meghan Markle smiling - 2018Northern Ireland Office, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

10. Sweet Moments

Markle and Harry have revealed details about the night that he proposed. Apparently, they were roasting Meghan's famous chicken when the prince decided to get down on one knee. Markle claims she was so excited, she didn't even wait for him to finish before she said, "Can I say yes now?" The pair were so in love, they even momentarily forgot about the ring.

Prince Harry And Ms. Markle - 2018Northern Ireland Office, CC BY 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

11. Switching Sides

In January 2020, Thomas Markle dug the blade even deeper into his daughter's side. In the wake of Harry and Meghan's suit against The Daily Mail for hateful publications, the magazine has cited Thomas as a possible witness against the Duchess of Sussex. That's right, he could testify against his own little girl in court.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

12. Age Ain’t No Thing

When it comes to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, age really is just a number. At 38 years old, Markle is actually three years older than the 35-year-old Harry.

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

13. The Princess Diaries

Rumors of Markle's relationship to Prince Harry began in October 2016, but the palace didn’t confirm it until closer to the end of that year. All of this talk ended up making her the most Googled actress of 2016, which is pretty impressive when you consider the other Hollywood heavy-hitters she was up against.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

14. We All Need New Friends

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry met in a very unconventional way: A mutual friend actually set them up on a blind date. This one meeting ended up creating a whirlwind romance, with each of them falling quickly in love with the other. No, really—Prince Harry admitted that Markle “just tripped and fell into my life".

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

15. The Big Day

The royal wedding took place on May 19, 2018, at St. George's Chapel in Windsor. Before the wedding, the media speculated endlessly about what Markle would wear, and she did not disappoint. Her wedding dress was from high-end fashion label Givenchy, and sported an elegant bateau neckline and a long train. But the details give away Markle's personal secrets.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

16. Veiled Symbolism

Markle's bridal veil was chock full of symbolism. The fabric had 55 embroidered flowers that represented not only the 53 Commonwealth countries, but also contained the blooms wintersweet and the California Poppy. Why these two flowers? They symbolize Harry and Meghan's union: Wintersweet grows outside Nottingham cottage where they live, and the poppy is the state flower of Markle's native California. Aw.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

17. The Royal Rebound

It's a little-known fact that when Markle first met Prince Harry, she was actually on the rebound. She had dated celebrity chef Cory Vitiello for almost two years, but the relationship ended in May 2016. She then met Prince Harry the very next month, in June. Can't say a quick rebound works out for everyone, but it certainly did for her.

Meghan Markle FactsWikimedia Commons, Mark Jones

18. All That Glitters

Markle's engagement ring truly is something special. Prince Harry created the ring himself with help from royal jewelers Cleave and Company. One large diamond he got from Botswana flanks two smaller stones from his mother Princess Diana's own personal collection. The meaning behind these stones is beautiful.

Harry and Markle have a special relationship to Africa, which explains the Botswana connection. Meanwhile, he continues on Diana's legacy with her gemstones.

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

19. Crowning Glory

To top off her bridal attire, Meghan Markle wore an unforgettable diamond bandeau tiara that made the whole world gasp. The custom jewelry piece was made especially for Mary of Teck, the wife of King George V, all the way back in 1932. Queen Elizabeth II lent it to Markle from her own personal collection as a sign of her support.

Meghan Markle FactsFlickr

20. Happily Never After

After marrying her prince, Meghan Markle was supposed to live happily ever after. But nothing could be further from the truth. Since the wedding, British publications have continually attack Markle, with occasional help from sources inside the palace. Things got so bad that the royal couple are even suing the tabloids for running certain stories, including publishing Markle's private letter to her father Thomas.

Meghan Markle FactsShutterstock

21. The Little Master

On May 6, 2019, Harry and Meghan welcomed a son: little baby Archie Mountbatten Windsor. Both parents want the boy to grow up as normal as possible. As a result, he has no fancy titles: he's styled simply as "Master" Archie. How is that even more adorable somehow?

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

22. Father Figure

Since Thomas Markle was unable to attend the wedding, Meghan was left scrambling for someone to walk her down the aisle. The royal family stepped up in the best possible way. In a heartwarming act of kindness, Harry's father Prince Charles—AKA the next in line for the throne—performed the duty. What a way to say "welcome to the family".

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

23. The Markle Effect

As a visible member of the royal family, Markle's fashion instincts often become worldwide phenomena. When she announced that she was pregnant with baby Archie, she wore a white Karen Gee sheath dress. Such was the "Markle effect" that that very same day, the Karen Gee website crashed because of all the requests for the same dress.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

24. Love At First Sight

When someone asked Prince Harry when he knew Markle was "The One," his answer was like something out of a rom-com. As he confessed, he knew "The very first time we met". Now that's a fairy tale romance.

Meghan Markle FactsWikimedia Commons

25. I've Got News For You

On January 8, 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle surprised both the normal world and the royal palace when they announced that they'd be stepping back from their duties. Reportedly, neither the Queen nor Prince Charles knew of the so-called "Megxit," and sources close to the palace say Harry's father was "furious" at the news. So why did they make such a sudden decision? More on that later.

Meghan Markle FactsShutterstock

26. O Canada

After deciding to curb their royal duties, Prince Harry and Meghan also decided to leave the UK and live on the other side of the Atlantic. First, they moved to a mansion in Vancouver, Canada that's worth millions of dollars. In July 2020, they relocated to a gated community in Montecito, Santa Barbara, not far from where Markle's mother still lives. Grandma must be thrilled!

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

27. Give It Up

Meghan Markle gave up a lot to join the royal family when she married Prince Harry. Not only did she quit her acting career, she also completely shut down her popular lifestyle blog The Tig, deleting all the previous posts and social media. After all, a member of the royal family can't be seen as relatable now, can they?

Ms. Markle Visit Belfast’s Crown Liquor Saloon - 2017Northern Ireland Office, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

28. Put (Another) Ring On It

Meghan Markle had lots of little nods to Prince Harry and his family during the public wedding, but few people know about the massive tribute she made to Princess Diana in private. At the closed reception held only for friends and family, Markle stepped out in a white halter dress and an enormous Aquamarine ring that used to belong to Diana.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

29. I Will Remember You

Princess Diana was obviously tragically absent on her son's big day, but Prince Harry made sure to remember her. His tribute was incredibly touching. Harry actually handpicked Markle's bouquet that day, and he included forget-me-nots specifically in honor of his late, beloved mom. I'm not crying, you're crying.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

30. I've Got The Blues

Markle took her "something old, something new" to the next level. Her dress and tiara  were new and borrowed, respectively, but her "something old" was actually fabric from Princess Diana's wedding dress that she had sewn into her outfit. Perhaps even more sweet, Markle's "something blue" was a piece of the dress she wore on her first date with Harry.

Meghan Markle FactsShutterstock

31. Mommy And Me

Markle’s mother Doria has had a great influence on her life. As a yoga instructor, her mom brought her to "mommy and me classes" when she was little. She also made sure her daughter was a global citizen, and they traveled to many remote places that opened Markle’s eyes to poverty and the harsh realities many people around the world face.

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

32. This Beauty Has Brains

Markle completed her Communications degree from Northwestern University, where she also joined the illustrious Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. After graduating, she traveled to Buenos Aires, where she worked for the US Embassy. She hasn’t ruled out more schooling, either, saying that she’s considered going for her Masters.

Ms. Markle Visit Belfast’s Crown Liquor Saloon - 2017Northern Ireland Office, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

33. And They Called It Puppy Love

While Markle was making Suits in Toronto, she had three dogs: a beagle named Guy, a Labrador named Oz, and a Lab/German Shepherd mix named Bogart. But when Markle moved to the UK to be with Prince Harry, she had to make a heartbreaking decision. Because Bogart was too old to fly, she left him behind in North America with friends.

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

34. The Peasant Presents

You'd expect the royal wedding gift bags to be full of swag, but that wasn't exactly the case. The presents Harry and Meghan gave to members of the public at the wedding were so low-key, I'd be a little insulted. The bags contained: a chocolate gold coin, a fridge magnet, a bottle of water, some shortbread, and a 20% off coupon for the Windsor Castle gift shop. Um, what?

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

35. Hello, Nurse!

Markle's very first acting gig was a small part as a nurse on General Hospital, the same show her parents met on.

Meghan Markle FactsGeneral Hospital, ABC

36. Never Stop Learning

As an actress, Markle went through the wringer more than a few times on set. In the 2005 movie A Lot Like Love, a scene required her to learn how to drive a manual engine, all just an hour before she actually filmed it. One way or another, the future Duchess pulled it off. At least it was good practice for living in the United Kingdom?

Meghan Markle smiling and looking at side - 2018Office of the Governor-General, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

37. Tiny Crusader

The press has accused Markle of purposely defying old royal traditions, but we're going to guess that Markle is proud of this. After all, she's always been outspoken. When she was 11, she penned a letter to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton to complain about an ad for soap, which claimed a woman's place was in the kitchen. Thanks in part to Markle's efforts, the company changed the ad.

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

38. A King's Ransom

Fairy tale days come with a high price tag. From Markle's stunning dress, to the cake, to the lavish reception, experts estimate that Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding cost somewhere around 32 million British pounds. But don't worry: His family paid for it.

Meghan Markle wearing glasses is looking at side - 2013M Doucette Production, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

39. Deal With It

Few people remember Markle's humble Hollywood beginnings even before she joined Suits. Before the hit show, Markle actually worked as one of the briefcase models on Deal or No Deal—and she didn't enjoy it. She said she was always uncomfortable standing in her five-inch heels, and loved when someone called her number because it meant she could sit down.

 Meghan Markle facts Deal or No Deal, Endemol

40. True Love Conquers All

Markle is the first American to marry into the British royal family since 1937. The last time this happened, it was the tragic story of King Edward VIII and his beloved divorcee Wallis Simpson. Although the pair did get married, Edward had to abdicate the throne to accomplish it. Thank goodness Harry and Meghan weren't put through that circus.

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

41. Flower Power

Markle's mother Doria Raglan gave Meghan the nickname "Flower" when she was growing up. It ended up suiting her very nicely: Markle loves flowers, and her favorite blooms are peonies.

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

42. Sussex Royal

On the morning of their wedding, Queen Elizabeth II officially granted Harry and Meghan the titles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

43. Love Of The Written Word

If you ever need someone with gorgeous writing, be sure to call Markle up. When she was struggling to make ends meet as an actress before landing her role on Suits, she relied on her calligraphy skills for weddings and events to pay her bills. Markle even did the invites for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s wedding.

Meghan Markle looking at side and smiling - 2016M Doucette Production, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

44. The Bride Wore White

According to palace insiders, Harry's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II was shocked by the color of Meghan Markle's dress. Since she had been married before, the Queen didn't expect to see her newest granddaughter-in-law walking down the aisle in a white dress. You heard it here, folks: Queen Elizabeth is just like other grandmas.

Dangerous Crooks And Charlatans Facts

45. What’s In A Name?

Meghan is actually Markle's middle name. Her first name is Rachel, which is coincidentally also her character’s name on Suits.

 Meghan Markle facts Suits, Universal Cable Productions

46. As Seen On TV

Meghan Markle admitted that while filming her first intimate scene in Suits, she actually found it a little "weird," and that filming the racy romps that fans love was always a bit strange. When asked about what scenes were specifically tough to shoot, she said, "in the file room was weird. Yeah, that was a little strange".

As her co-star Patrick J. Adams said, "Meghan and I are like brother and sister at this point, so a scene like that is basically just hilarious for us to shoot, but also really fun, because for these characters this is a big moment".

Meghan Markle factsGetty Images

47. The Only Way

Harry and Meghan have since given some insight into their unprecedented decision to recede from royal life. Though some have argued it was actually the palace's doing, most believe the royal couple is trying to get away from the and malice discrimination of the tabloids. As Harry put it, "There really was no other option". But one recent interview gives even more details.

Meghan Markle FactsShutterstock

48. Keep Calm And Carry On

As a part of their work in Africa, a film crew followed Harry and Meghan for a documentary. During one interview about media pressure, Markle was more candid than any royal has ever been. She revealed that though she "really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip" about the tabloid scrutiny, she ultimately couldn't.  Harry's comments, though, give another heartbreaking angle.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

49. A Raw Wound

In the same documentary, Harry revealed that his mother Princess Diana still haunts him in his marriage. Harry confessed that though he thought he was over his mother's tragic fate, "suddenly it all came back" when the media started attacking Markle. As he said, "So everything that she [Diana] went through and what happened to her is incredibly raw every single day".

Princess Diana FactsGetty Images

50. Sister Spats

According to some sources, Markle and her sister-in-law Kate Middleton are "very different people" and don't actually get along very well. Although this is a vague rumor, one unsettling story hints at the truth. After Middleton went into a bridesmaid's fitting just before Harry and Meghan's wedding, she reportedly left the room in tears.

Further details about the incident are scarce, but given Harry and Meghan's recent decision to leave the royal family, it seems like all was not well in paradise. As one royal source put it, “Kate had just given birth to Prince Louis, so maybe she was a little bit emotional. But whatever the thing was, the future queen of England was in tears over what Meghan had said to her". For months, this was the story that spreadhowever, there was a different side to it. 

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

51. The Big Interview

In March 2021, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat down for a surprised interview with Oprah Winfrey, where they laid bare what really happened after their fairy tale wedding, and the events that led to “Megxit". One of the things that Markle shared was how the story of her disagreement with Kate Middleton during the dress fittings had been misconstrued.

The common story was that Markle had made Middleton cry—and as Markle claimed during the interview, the reverse was true. According to Markle, Middleton had actually made her cry, but had apologized and sent flowers afterward. Markle says there’s no bad blood, and that she wishes the press would stop pitting them against each other.

Of course, this was just the first of many revelations that Markle made during the interview.

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

52. She Faced Untold Sorrow

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced that she was pregnant, the couple sparkled with joy. Sadly, behind the scenes, the truth couldn’t have been more different. As the tabloid scrutiny heightened and the expectations from the royal family intensified, Markle became increasingly despondent. It got so bad that she reached out to palace officials to ask for help—and their response was chilling. 

When Markle confessed to them that she felt like she “didn’t want to be alive anymore,” they responded that there was nothing they could do to help her. When she asked a palace official about the possibility of some sort of inpatient care, they said it “wouldn’t be good for the institution". And that wasn’t the only rough period of her pregnancy.

Meghan Markle FactsOprah With Meghan And Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, CBS

53. They Had Questionable Concerns

The birth of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son Archie should’ve been joyous—but instead, Markle faced untold heartbreak. During her interview with Oprah, Markle confessed that “certain” members of the royal family were more rudely preoccupied with the child’s skin color than whether she and the baby were happy and healthy. They also ensured that baby Archie wouldn’t have a royal title.

Of course, this was compounded by years of tabloid scrutiny over her race. The reactions of the royal family members to all of this have been mixed.

Meghan Markle FactsOprah With Meghan And Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, CBS

54. They Always Twist The Story

When Meghan and Harry announced that they’d be stepping back from palace life, many tabloids made it seem as if they’d blindsided the Queen and Prince Charles—but as they explained, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Harry discussed his plan at length with his family, but some reacted more graciously than others.

While Harry explicitly said that he is still in regular contact with the Queen, he described the situation with his father as one of “space,” and it appears that Prince William and Kate Middleton have also distanced themselves. Strange, as they’d once been so close…

Meghan Markle FactsOprah With Meghan And Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, CBS

55. They Had A Romantic Secret

Of course, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, and some revelations were more poignant than others. For one, Markle and Prince Harry confessed that they’d actually had a secret wedding three days before the big royal one. They’d wanted something more private and just for them, so they secretly said their vows to each other in their backyard, with only the Archbishop of Canterbury to officiate them.

On top of that, they also revealed that their second child will be a girl!

Meghan Markle FactsGetty Images

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

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