The Untold Truth Of Meghan Markle

Since joining the British royal family through her marriage to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle has grown increasingly well known — and not always for the best reasons. In January 2020, the former "Suits" star and her husband made headlines after announcing their decision to step down as working members of the royal family. "We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen," they wrote in a statement released at the time. Sadly, after stepping down and leaving the United Kingdom, Meghan and Harry become largely estranged from the royal family — a situation stemming from the alleged unfair treatment the couple, and particularly Meghan, suffered while in the institution.

"That was hard to reconcile because it was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected, but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family," Meghan told Oprah Winfrey during a 2021 interview, per Insider. In the sit-down, Meghan also accused the royal family of discriminating against her then-unborn child's skin color — a claim that The Firm has since refuted. 

Beyond all of the negative press, however, there is a lot more to this woman. You might know her as an actor, a duchess, a wife, or a mom, but with Meghan Markle, there simply are too many layers to unfold.

Meghan Markle's interest in Hollywood stemmed from her dad

In his heyday, Meghan Markle's dad, Thomas Markle, worked as a Hollywood lighting director. Most notably, Thomas worked on "General Hospital" beginning in the late '70s, as well as "Married... with Children," a popular sitcom that ran between 1987 and 1997. 

During his time working on the latter, a young Meghan frequently visited her father on set but was often forced to stay in the crafts services room due to some of the show's more mature content. "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 recounted in a 2018 interview with Esquire.

So, despite her father's ties to "Married... with Children," Meghan was also not allowed to watch the show. Unsurprisingly, Meghan's time on set with Thomas left a lasting impact as she soon developed an interest in acting. This in turn prompted her to join the drama team at her school, Immaculate Heart High School, where Thomas also lent his services. "He voluntarily came over and helped with lighting," Christine Knudsen, a former staff of the school, told People. "... He did lighting for our plays and musicals. Even after Meghan graduated, he still came back."

The duchess was close to both parents as a kid

Though estranged now, Meghan and Thomas Markle once had a typical loving father-daughter relationship. In a 2016 personal essay for Elle, Meghan took a trip down memory lane to her childhood, sharing in detail how her parents shielded her from the cruel reality of racism. Notably, Meghan recalled how her father once put together a mixed-race doll set; a representation of their own family. "On Christmas morning, swathed in glitter-flecked wrapping paper, there I found my Heart Family: a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each color. My dad had taken the sets apart and customized my family," she wrote. 

In the Netflix docuseries "Harry & Meghan," the former "Suits" star also opened up about her relationship with Thomas, revealing that she spent a lot of time with him after he and her mother, Doria Ragland, divorced. With Vanity Fair having previously reported that Meghan lived with Thomas for the most part of her teenage years, there is no telling how strong their bond was.

The pair's remarkable father-daughter relationship was also on full display in 2016 when Meghan shared a sweet Father's Day tribute to honor Thomas on Instagram. "Thanks for my work ethic, my love of Busby Berkeley films & club sandwiches, for teaching me the importance of handwritten thank you notes, and for giving me that signature Markle nose. I love you," she wrote at the time.

Meghan Markle has a religious background

Though not overly religious, Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland raised their daughter in the Christian faith. Though Protestants, Thomas and Ragland enrolled Meghan Markle in Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girls private Catholic school in California. However, despite her own faith and upbringing, Meghan was baptized and confirmed into the Church of England ahead of her wedding to Prince Harry. As reported by the Daily Mail, though this was not a necessary step, the future duchess asked to be formally welcomed into the Anglican faith as a way of honoring Queen Elizabeth II, who served as head of the Church of England at the time. Yet, one might wonder if this decision was also influenced by Meghan's own strong spiritual ties.

In 2019, a longtime friend of the duchess revealed that despite keeping it private, Meghan took her Christian faith seriously. "Meg is extremely faithful," the friend anonymously told People. "We pray a lot together. We meditate. She has had, and especially has now, a very close relationship with God." According to the friend, Meghan's Christian journey has been characterized by a deep sense of gratitude and humility as can be found within Jesus Christ in the Bible. "We can still be modern women and feel all the feels with feminism and be strong moms and strong wives but understand that [our] relationship [with God] is so critical," the pal added.

She was a sorority sister

Before becoming one of the most talked about members of the British royal family, Meghan Markle was a student at Northwestern University, where she bagged a double major bachelor's degree in theater and international studies. "She reminded me of a lot of our other very promising alumni, in that she was passionate about theater and really had a sense of self-confidence that you could imagine would allow her to weather the storms of the professional world," Harvey Young, Meghan's former professor, told the Chicago Sun-Times (via People). 

Academics, however, was not the only area Meghan excelled in, as she also left her mark in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, where she served as the recruitment chairwoman. "Meg was sort of always this ethereal, sophisticated, beautiful creature who lived with us and was always willing to lend you a top," Liz Kores Graham, a former member, told the Chicago Tribune. Erica Bethe Levin, another former sister of the sorority who spoke about the duchess, described her as warm, adding that she made her feel welcome as a newbie. "She made me think, 'I can be a part of this.' Once you meet her, you can't forget her," Levin told The Palm Beach Post of Meghan. 

Meghan Markle struggled in her early acting days

In her early acting career, Meghan Markle struggled to find her place in Hollywood. In her 2016 personal essay for Elle, Meghan detailed her experience as a young actor, revealing that she often experienced discrimination because of her biracial identity. "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," she recounted in the piece.

But not only was she not getting roles, but Meghan was also struggling financially. As reported in 2018, the duchess once worked as a calligrapher while also teaching bookbinding and gift-wrapping as a multi-layered side hustle while attempting to get her footing in the movie industry. "It was her part-time job as she was going through auditions," Meghan's former boss, Winnie Park, told People. "She taught calligraphy and hosted a group of customers and instructed them during a two-hour class on how to do calligraphy."

During a November 2021 appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Meghan shared a memory from her early acting days, admitting that she was once too broke to fix her car. "I had this very, very old Ford Explorer Sport, and at a certain point the key stopped working on the driver's side, so you couldn't get yourself in through the door," she recalled, revealing that she'd have to climb into the car through the trunk.

Her relationships before Prince Harry

Long before her fairytale love story with Prince Harry started, Meghan Markle was in a committed long-term relationship with movie producer Trevor Engelson. Meghan and Engelson first met in 2004. They would go on to date while bonding over their shared interest in showbiz. In the years that followed, Engelson and Meghan's love waxed stronger, and then in September 2011, they got married in a low-key Jamaican ceremony. 

Sadly, the pair's union was short-lived, with the future duchess filing for divorce in August 2013. In her petition, the former "Suits" star cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the divorce. However, sources close to the former couple have since attributed their split to Meghan's job on "Suits," where she portrayed the character Rachel Zane. "Meghan landed her role in 'Suits' just a few months before they married. And despite being together for six years before getting hitched, things started to fall apart not long after the wedding," an insider claimed to Woman's Day Magazine (via The Sun). While Engelson lived in Los Angeles, Meghan moved to Toronto, where the USA Network series was filming. According to the source, the distance negatively impacted the couple's relationship, adding, "It was a very difficult way to start married life."

Meghan's next long-term relationship was with Canadian celebrity chef Cory Vitiello, with whom she broke up in May 2016, reportedly the same month she met Prince Harry.

Before Prince Harry, Meghan Markle was a blogger

According to "Finding Freedom," a 2020 biography chronicling the lives of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the former "Suits" star once ran a website called The Working Actress. On the blog, Meghan — a budding actor at the time — wrote about the struggles she faced in the industry. "The blog captured the heartfelt moments of joy when she booked a job and the despair and rejection actors felt each felt time a role was lost in an industry often driven by appearance rather than by talent," authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote in the book (via Hello!). In 2012, two years after its launch, Meghan shut down The Working Actress. Then came her second lifestyle blog.

In 2014, the future duchess launched The Tig, where she wrote articles covering different niches, including beauty, fashion, and food. Through the blog, Meghan reportedly earned a reputation as a fashion guru. It, therefore, was only fitting when she released two collections with Reitmans, a popular Canadian fashion retailing company, in 2015 and 2016. With The Tig and her social media endorsements, Meghan was reportedly raking in about $80,000 in annual income, in addition to her "Suits" pay.

However, despite The Tig's success, Meghan ended up closing the lifestyle website in 2017. "Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being 'the change you wish to see in the world,'" she wrote in part in a closing remark to her readers. 

Megan Markle's charitable ventures

Right from her college days, Meghan Markle had her charity hat on. During her time as a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, Meghan volunteered with The Glass Slippers Project, a nonprofit foundation aimed at providing high school juniors and seniors from low-income families with prom attires. And even as she progressed in her acting career, Meghan continued to engage in charity work. While living in Canada, the "Dater's Handbook" star reportedly donated food to St. Felix Centre, a charity organization in the country's capital. "The Duchess also donated food from the set of 'Suits,' and on one Thanksgiving she brought in all the food, turkeys, and the fixings for over 100 people," a post from the organization revealed at the time (via ET).

While still a working member of the royal family, Meghan carried out several charitable duties, resulting in a special interest in the Hubb Community Kitchen, where she interacted with some survivors of the 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire. "I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen; it is a place for women to laugh, grieve, cry, and cook together," the Duchess of Sussex said in a statement. In September 2018, Kensington Palace announced that the Meghan, alongside the Grenfell women, would be launching "Together: Our Community Cookbook," a recipe book published by Penguin Random House. 

For her many charitable activities and commitment to social justice, Meghan, alongside her husband, Prince Harry, were honored with NAACP President's Award in 2022.

She takes her physical fitness and mental health seriously

Between acting, being a mom of two, being a wife to one of Britain's princes, and being the target of many Internet trolls, Meghan Markle has had a lot on her hands through the years. Yet, she never loses sight of her well-being. When asked in 2019 how she keeps fit, the former "Suits" star listed running and yoga as some of her favorite activities. This, of course, is only fitting, given that Meghan was raised by Doria Ragland, a longtime yoga instructor. 

"Yoga is my thing. ... I started doing mommy-and-me yoga with [my mother] when I was seven," Meghan explained to Best Health. When she is not sweating it out in yoga, however, Meghan tries out Pilates — another activity she swears by. "It's hands down the best thing you could do for your body. Your body changes immediately ... give it two classes and you will see a difference," she previously said, per Hello!.

Beyond physical activities, the former actor also tends to her mental health in various ways, such as moving meditation and deep breathing. She also noted in an interview with Women's Health, "I give myself the luxury of downtime. We are all so incredibly busy and juggling so many things, but I always take an hour to just decompress, watch mindless TV, snuggle with my dogs, and enjoy a glass of wine."

The Duchess of Sussex has many nicknames

The world might know her as Meghan Markle, but behind closed doors, the Duchess of Sussex goes by many very different nicknames. During a November 2022 episode of her Spotify podcast "Archetypes," Meghan revealed that she still goes by a childhood nickname coined by her mother, Doria Ragland. "My mom still calls me Flower," she revealed to "Sex and the City" author Candace Bushnell and actor Michaela Jaé Rodriguez. As for whether the duchess still enjoys being called her childhood nickname, she said: "I do! I'll be a 41-year-old flower, that's fine." Ragland, however, is not the only one with a pet name for the mom of two. Prince Harry has also come up with his own cute nicknames for Meghan: Meg or M. 

But while Meghan has garnered a slew of adorable nicknames for herself, she apparently also has quite a number of snarky ones. As revealed in "Kensington Palace: An Intimate Memoir from Queen Mary to Meghan Markle" (via The Sun), some royal staffers allegedly referred to the former "Suits" star as "Me-Gain" and the "Duchess of Difficult." Seemingly referencing similarities between Meghan and the late Princess Diana, certain workers in Kensington Palace allegedly also called her "Di 2" and "Di Lite."

Meghan Markle's short stint working at a U.S. Embassy

Though she had always wanted to be an actor, Meghan Markle also had a passion for politics. This, as you might have guessed, influenced her course of study in college. "I ended up changing my major completely and double-majoring in theater and international relations," she explained in an interview with Marie Claire. And so, when an opportunity came up at the end of her junior year to intern at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Meghan took it. A fun experience no doubt, Meghan recalled former United States Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill also being at the embassy while she interned. "So I'm 20 years old, in Buenos Aires, in a motorcade, doing that whole thing. I thought for sure I would still have a career in politics," she added. Her political dreams, however, were cut short after meeting a talent manager upon her return to Los Angeles.

But while Meghan has suggested she applied for the internship at the embassy, there have been contrary claims about how she landed the role. Back in 2018, Meghan's paternal uncle and former U.S. diplomat, Michael Markle, told the Daily Mail how he supposedly used his connections to help his niece get the internship. "I personally talked to the ambassador in Argentina for her," Michael claimed. However, the Duchess of Sussex has reportedly denied this claim, with estranged half-sister Samantha Markle alleging to Vanity Fair that Meghan has instead insisted that she does not know him.