On May 19th, Prince Henry of Wales will become Mr. Meghan Markle. Here's everything you need to know about the talented, politically active dynamo who's stolen Harry's heart — and ours.
Her full name is Rachel Meghan Markle
It's true! Although 'Meghan Markle' has alliteration going for it, her given name is Rachel Meghan Markle. Markle also portrayed a character named Rachel on the show Suits starting in 2011, but left the show after shooting its seventh season. Her final episode will air on USA April 25th.
Her childhood nickname was 'Flowers'
Markle's mother, yoga instructor and social worker Doria Ragland, calls her only child 'Flower.' After Ragland separated from Markle's father, Emmy Award-winning lighting technician and cinematographer Thomas Markle, Meghan lived with her mother full-time.
In an essay Markle wrote for ELLE in 2016 about biracial identity, she shared that her mother was often mistaken for the nanny in their primarily white neighborhood when Markle was a child: "There was my mom, caramel in complexion with her light-skinned baby in tow, being asked where my mother was."
She grew up spending time on Hollywood sets
Because of her father's career, Meghan spent a lot of time on the set of Married...with Children and General Hospital in her youth. Meghan told Esquire in 2013 that after-school hours often found her hanging out on set: "Every day after school for 10 years, I was on the set of Married ... with Children, which is a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up."
She double majored in international studies and theater ... and worked for the US Embassy
Markle graduated from Northwestern in 2003 with a double major in international studies and theater. While attending school, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. At age 20, she interned with the U.S. Embassy in Argentina.
She worked as a calligrapher to support herself while auditioning
After school, Markle spent eight years juggling odd jobs, acting gigs, and auditioning prior to landing her Suits role. One of her most unique jobs was teaching calligraphy, book-binding, and gift wrapping at a Paper Source store. She also worked as a freelance calligrapher for a time, a business she described to Esquire as "super-lucrative."
She was a briefcase girl on Deal Or No Deal to stay afloat
On the 2006-2007 season of the Howie Mandel game show Deal Or No Deal, Markle worked as a briefcase model. She says it was just one of a variety of jobs she worked prior to landing her spot on Suits: "I went from working in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal."
She has appeared in two Hallmark Movies
You can catch Markle in the holiday Hallmark movie Dater's Handbook (2016), in which she plays Cass, a young professional who no longer trusts her own judgment when it comes to men and decides to put all of her faith in a self-help book called The Dater's Handbook. Markle also graced the Hallmark small screen in When Sparks Fly (2014). This time she played Amy, a small-town girl turned bigshot Chicago reporter who returns home for 4th of July to learn her best friend is engaged to her ex.
She's a longtime activist and advocate for gender equality
Decades before this guy Harry was in the picture, Markle was already using her platform as an actress to push for gender equality. In addition to her work on a clean water campaign as a Global Ambassador for World Vision, she's also a United Nations Women advocate, and delivered a speech to the UN in 2015 during which she proudly identified herself as a feminist.
Additionally, Markle is also a counsellor for One Young World. At a One Young World conference in 2014, she explained how she addressed sexism on Suits: "this season, every script seemed to begin with Rachel enters wearing a towel and I said 'No, I'm not doing it anymore, I'm not doing it' [...] So I rang the creator and I was like, 'It's just gratuitous, we get it, we've already seen it once.'"
At age 11, she launched a successful campaign to change a sexist commercial
When she was only 11, Markle was surprised to see a Procter & Gamble commercial on TV advertising soap specifically to women, with the copy 'women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.' With her father's encouragement, she wrote to the company asking them to change the copy from 'women all over America' to 'people all over America.'
In addition to writing to Procter & Gamble, she also wrote to influential women like Gloria Allred, Hillary Clinton, and Nick News anchor Linda Ellerbee. Markle was interviewed on Nick News about the ad, and Procter & Gamble eventually updated the copy to be more inclusive.
Decades later, during her speech at the UN, Markle referenced the experience as a formative moment from her childhood.
She was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election
Over the past few years, Markle has stood up to increasingly radical conservatism in the states and the U.K.: she's decried Trump's misogyny, and said before the election that she intended to vote for Clinton “not because she’s a woman, but because Trump has made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world that he’s painting." She also implicitly criticized Brexit on her since-deleted Instagram account (it's traditional for members of the royal family to not have individual Instagram accounts).
So, who's this Harry guy?
Who knows. But he's lucky to land Meghan.