The shady side of Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle became Prince Harry's fiancée when the royal popped the question in November 2017, causing both American and British citizens to rejoice. Her mixed-race background, previous marriage, and, of course, status as an American citizen have all drawn extra attention to the groundbreaking engagement. And when the two married in a gorgeous ceremony at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018, the public's interest in their relationship — and Markle, specifically — grew.

But there have been a few things behind the scenes that have made us raise our eyebrows. Here's a look at the shady side of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

She's related to Prince Harry

Yep, you read that right: The two lovebirds come from the same family tree. Of course, we should take this with a grain of salt, because, after all, we probably all share a few genes here and there if we trace our ancestry back far enough. Though Markle was born American and Prince Harry's British, in October 2017, the Daily Mail performed what they called "a genealogical investigation," revealing that the two are allegedly cousins dating back to the 15th century. The connection is on Markle's father's side — but it's 15 generations back, so there's no need to worry about family dinners getting more awkward over the holidays.

Hollywood may have changed her

In December 2017, news broke that Markle's estranged half-sister Samantha Grant was gearing up to release a tell-all book focused on revealing some damning family secrets, going so far as to call Markle a "social climber" in an interview with The Sun

"Hollywood has changed her. I think her ambition is to become a princess," said Grant when Markle and Prince Harry had started dating. Grant also complained that Markle all but forgot about her after gaining high society status. However, according to E! News, a person close to the family says Grant can't be trusted. 

"Samantha Grant doesn't have a relationship with Meghan Markle and she never has," said the source. "Meghan has never done anything to her and continues to take the high road." Be that as it may, it's worth noting that it isn't only Grant who thinks Markle's completely different these days. "The person I knew is not there anymore," Markle's former best friend, Ninaki Priddy, told the Daily Mail in December 2017. "There's Meghan Before Fame and Meghan After Fame."

Her career may have interfered with her first marriage

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's engagement was untraditional for a number of reasons — and her status as a divorced woman was arguably first among them. Before meeting Prince Harry, Markle was married to producer Trevor Engelson for two years before they split, citing "irreconcilable differences." 

Former friend Ninaki Priddy, who served as maid of honor at Markle's wedding to Engelson, told the Daily Mail that Markle's career ultimately led to the demise of that union, saying, "It was such a shock when she told me they were getting divorced." Another person close to the couple told Woman's Day (via Life and Style Mag) that the stress of a long-distance relationship likely played a part, as Markle lived in Canada during filming on her USA Network series Suits while her husband lived in Los Angeles. As the magazine's source pointed out, "It was a very difficult way to start married life."

A secret royal fascination?

In their BBC engagement interview, the couple revealed that they'd met on a blind date. "Because I'm from the States, you don't grow up with the same understanding of the royal family," Markle said. "And so while I now understand very clearly there's a global interest there, I didn't know much about him." However, Priddy's Daily Mail interview told a different story. 

"I know the Royal Family was something she found fascinating," said Priddy. "She had one of Princess Diana's books on her bookshelf." Plus, between Princess Diana's popularity and Prince Harry's days as prime tabloid fodder (remember that time he went wild in Vegas?), it's hard to believe she didn't know anything about the prince.

Family ties

In a radio interview with the BBC, Prince Harry made a quick comment about Meghan Markle's family history, saying "she's done an absolutely amazing job" of fitting in with the royals and adding that "it's the family that I suppose she's never had." That one short line quickly turned into a huge deal when a couple of Markle's family members were interviewed by the Daily Mail, telling quite a different story. 

"She's had a really good family," said her half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr. "We were as close as we could be, as tight as we could be, that's what we were." This led to some people accusing the then-soon-to-be royal of lying to her fiancé. It could all easily be chalked up to a misunderstanding exacerbated by typical tabloid shenanigans, but it's still enough to make you wonder.

Puppy trouble

In her Daily Mail interview, Priddy claimed dog-loving Markle flaunted her status as a way to adopt a dog. Now the owner of two rescues, Markle seems to have a rocky relationship with both of them. 

In November 2017, a Kensington Palace spokesperson broke the news that Markle's retriever, Bogart, would not join her overseas. "It takes a toll on an animal to travel so far across Atlantic combined with the hard, long process of getting approval," said the spokesperson. "It's in the best interest of the animal's well-being to stay." Instead of traveling with Markle, Bogart will stay with one of her friends in the United States. 

In December 2017, the Daily Mail reported that Markle's other dog, Guy, broke two legs. Circumstances surrounding the injury are unknown, but sources claimed Markle was "distraught" over the accident.

Her reps may have planted rumors

Markle starred on the hit show Suits for years — we would never try to take that away from her — but let's be honest: She didn't become a household name until her relationship with Prince Harry, and her reps may have tried to take advantage of that new-found notoriety. 

In December 2017, gossip emerged that Markle was on the short list for a role in the next James Bond movie. "Meghan fits the role of a Bond girl perfectly," a source told The Sun, but Blind Gossip refuted this claim. Its source said Markle was never in the running and alleged the chatter was just stirred up by "her people" for publicity. These rumors aren't too far-fetched if you consider the fact that Markle's former friend also suggested the actress had grown a bit too big for her britches. "Even by season two of Suits, she was turning down lunch with us because she said she'd be recognized," Priddy told the Daily Mail. "There were instances when I felt she developed a sense of entitlement because she was on the show."

A friendship ended in bitterness

While Priddy did have some nice things to say about her former friend while recounting their childhood together, she didn't hesitate to call Meghan Markle out for her opportunistic ways. "All I can say now is that I think Meghan was calculated — very calculated — in the way she handled people and relationships," Priddy told the Daily Mail. "She is very strategic in the way she cultivates circles of friends." Ouch! 

Priddy also claimed it was always Markle's dream to be famous, recalling that "she just loved to be the center of attention." That trait will likely serve her well in the royal palace — and may, in fact, be a reason her relationship with Prince Harry is likely to work out. "One of the advantages of Meghan is because she is in the public eye, she likes that," Penny Junor, author of Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son, told the Express. "The real problem with Harry's girlfriends in the past is that they absolutely hated the media attention and that's scared them off."