Tragic details about Meghan Markle

Despite her Hollywood success and storybook royal romance with Britain's Prince Harry, Meghan Markle's life hasn't been easy. Meghan's life has changed substantially in the years since she married Prince Harry in May 2018 and welcomed her first son Archie in May 2019, with Meghan and Harry shocking the world by announcing in 2020 that they would be stepping away from their British royal duties. Meghan's brief time as a member of the royal family was marked by turmoil, an escalation of the personal and professional challenges she'd faced in the years before she met Harry. Despite her seemingly-unshakable public persona, her road to happiness has been marked with romantic woes and Hollywood struggles and then, as a duchess, newfound issues with her family in America and her adopted nation of Britain. 

With Meghan, Harry, and Archie leaving Britain to forge new paths as civilians outside the royal family, a more peaceful lifestyle seems to be waiting ahead for the starlet. And as any fan of the actress-turned-duchess would attest, she's earned it. Read on for the many difficulties and tragedies Meghan Markle has weathered in her path towards happiness. 

Meghan Markle's parents divorced

Meghan Markle's parents, Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle Sr. raised Meghan together before divorcing when she was young. "My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American ... It was the late Seventies when my parents met, my dad was a lighting director for a soap opera and my mom was a temp at the studio," Meghan wrote in a 2015 Elle essay about her upbringing, in which she described the unkind perceptions that met her parents' interracial marriage. "They moved into a house in The Valley in LA, to a neighborhood that was leafy and affordable. What it was not, however, was diverse. And there was my mom ... [neighbors] assumed she was the nanny."

Meghan recalled to Elle a racially-charged interaction with a "closed-minded" college classmate, who implied her parents' races had to do with their divorce. "'You said your mom is black and your dad is white, right?”" Meghan remembered the woman asking, adding that it "makes sense" they were divorced. "I understood the implication," she explained.

Meghan also told Esquire that her unique family dynamic included spending time with her father while he worked on the sitcom Married... with Children, which brought her into contact with "off-color" material for her young age. "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 said. 

She experienced racism in Hollywood and beyond

Meghan Markle's path to Hollywood success came with some racial speed bumps. Markle has been open about the challenges that she's experienced because of her biracial identity, describing herself in a 2015 Elle essay as an "ethnic chameleon who couldn't book a job." Markle revealed that the characters she auditioned for in Hollywood often were assigned a specific race. "There couldn't possibly be a more label-driven industry than acting, seeing as every audition comes with a character breakdown: 'Beautiful, sassy, Latina, 20s'; 'African American, urban, pretty, early 30s'; 'Caucasian, blonde, modern girl next door,'" she wrote, adding that her "ethnically ambiguous" status often meant she "wasn't black enough for the black roles and [she[ wasn't white enough for the white ones."

Markle's experiences with racism only grew more public when she married into the British royal family. The press and public's bigoted treatment of Markle was widely seen as a potential reason why she and Prince Harry stepped away from the monarchy. "A young couple have been hounded out of the country by the intrusive and racist treatment of the rightwing press," British Labor Party politician Rebecca Long-Bailey told The Guardian in 2020. "Women of color in public life are subject to bullying, harassment, disrespect and smears – and all the while are expected to be grateful that they're getting any attention at all."

Meghan Markle battled low self-esteem into her twenties

Like many other young women, Meghan Markle struggled with her self-image as a teenager into her twenties. In a since-deleted 2014 post on her lifestyle blog The Tig (via The Express), Markle wrote about the groups that left her "grappling with how to fit in" during her school years. "My high school had cliques: the black girls and white girls, the Filipino and the Latina girls," she wrote "Being biracial, I fell somewhere in between. So every day during lunch, I busied myself with meetings – French club, student body, whatever one could possibly do between noon and 1 pm – I was there ... so that I wouldn't have to eat alone."

Navigating Hollywood in her twenties presented a new set of challenges for her self-esteem, she claimed. "My 20s were brutal – a constant battle with myself, judging my weight, my style, my desire to be as cool/as hip/as smart/as 'whatever' as everyone else," she wrote. "I must have been about 24 when a casting director looked at me during an audition and said, 'You need to know that you're enough. Less makeup, more Meghan.'"

She went through a divorce

Following the divorce of Meghan Markle's parents when she was young, Markle experienced an annulment of her own. Markle and ex-husband Trevor Engelson (pictured above) began dating in 2004. After a lengthy courtship, the couple eventually married in September 2011, with tabloids reporting that their nuptials included a four-day-long party in Jamaica, including bikinis, barbecue, and beach games.

Unfortunately for the newlyweds, her marriage to the producer corresponded with her landing her breakout role on the USA Network drama Suits, which filmed in Canada eight months out of the year. With Markle shooting in Toronto while Engelson stayed behind in Los Angeles, the distance allegedly contributed to the couple's eventual divorce in 2013, considering the amount of time the duo spent apart. A report in Woman's Day claimed that Markle and Engelson found maintaining a long-distance relationship to be challenging and that their marriage began to fall apart. 

By August 2013, their relationship was over, and Markle and Engelson ended their marriage in a no-fault divorce. Markle may have ended her marriage by mail, according to claims by royals biographer Andrew Morton in his 2018 book Meghan, A Hollywood Princess. "A wealthy entrepreneur friend claimed the marriage ended so abruptly that Meghan sent Trevor her diamond wedding and engagement rings back by registered mail," he wrote (via The Express), also claiming that Engelson angrily denied an interview request for the book, telling him about Markle, "I have zero to say about her."

Meghan Markle struggled to find satisfying work

Before joining Suits in 2011, Meghan Marke's experience in Hollywood was a revolving door of roles, including gigs she openly found unsatisfying. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2003, Markle moved to Los Angeles to act, finding early success in her first audition, only to continually experience difficulties finding lasting roles. "Before Suits, I did a pilot every single year," she told Marie Claire in 2013, referencing her role on USA Network's hit legal drama. "I was really spoiled because I booked my first audition right away, so it's the biggest tease because you think, 'Oh, this is easy.' All things considered, I'm so grateful and fortunate that I have a show now that's doing well, but it's not easy. It was definitely a struggle."

Markle's so-called struggle included a stint as a suitcase girl on the Deal or No Deal, with Markle telling Esquire that, after scoring prestigious positions in college like an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, appearing on the game show brought her back down to Earth. "I would put that in the category of things I was doing while I was auditioning to try to make ends meet," she said about the role. "I went from working in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal. It's run the gamut. Definitely working on Deal or No Deal was a learning experience, and it helped me to understand what I would rather be doing."

Her friends urged her not to date Harry

As an American, Meghan Markle has admitted that she didn't grasp how the British media would treat her relationship with Prince Harry. Meghan has claimed that her British friends warned her against dating Harry, fearing the negative repercussions on her life. Speaking to ITV as part of the 2019 documentary Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, Meghan described, "When I first met my now-husband my friends were really happy because I was so happy, but my British friends said to me, "I'm sure he's great but you shouldn't do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life," she said. "And I very naively [thought], 'I'm American, we don't have that there, what are you talking about, that doesn't make any sense.'"

As Meghan would, unfortunately, come to realize, her British friends' warnings about the tabloids would turn out to be accurate, with Meghan and Prince Harry struggling with negative press coverage. As she told ITV, she didn't agree with the longstanding idea of British stoicism referred to as the "stiff upper lip." "I've said for a long time ... it's not enough to just survive something, I think that's not the point of life. You've got to thrive, you've got to feel happy, and I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging."

Meghan Markle lost out on the perks of civilian life

When Meghan Markle began dating Prince Harry, her life transformed, as she lost the privacy and freedom she enjoyed as a more minor celebrity. The many changes Meghan made in her life prior to her May 2018 wedding included selling her house in Toronto, becoming baptized into the Church of England, and leaving the USA Network show Suits in 2018 — her longtime on-screen home which first premiered in 2011. As part of her introduction to the royal family, Meghan had to comply with a set of rules, both explicit and implicit, intended to govern her behavior as a duchess. Thanks to Queen Elizabeth II's disdain for selfies, garlicky dishes, and women wearing skirts without tights, Meghan likely couldn't indulge in any of those behaviors without some backlash. Meghan also erased her online personality from the internet, shutting down her lifestyle blog The Tig and wiping her personal social media profiles, posting instead from her joint @sussexroyal Instagram account with Prince Harry. 

However, Meghan and Harry's announcement in Jan. 2020 that they would be separating from their roles in the British royal family presented new possibilities for Meghan to regain some of the pleasures of normal civilian life. Meghan and Harry announced in March 2020 that they would no longer be using their royal Instagram account, for example, and the internet buzzed that Meghan may relaunch The Tig in the future. 

She went to war against the British tabloids

From the very beginning of her relationship with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle was vilified by the British press, with tabloids publishing sexist, racist, and classist comments about her. In a then-unprecedented move early in their relationship, Prince Harry issued a public plea petitioning the press to respect the privacy of his then-girlfriend in 2016, issuing a statement condemning the "wave of abuse and harassment" that met Meghan once their relationship went public. Offensive tabloid headlines aimed at Meghan included the Daily Mail surmising about Meghan's "exotic DNA" and "straight-outta-Compton" upbringingand in 2019, a BBC presenter Danny Baker was fired after posting a tweet comparing Meghan and Prince Harry's then-infant son, Archie, to a chimpanzee. 

Meghan fought back, breaking royal protocol — with British royals normally playing nice with the press, even in the face of negative coverage — by suing The Mail on Sunday tabloid in 2019. Following news of the lawsuit, Prince Harry issued another statement supporting his wife, writing, "Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son." 

When Meghan and Harry stepped away from the royal family in 2020, the couple sent letters to a number of British tabloids, informing them of a new "zero engagement" policy locking them out.

Meghan Markle's relatives embarrassed her

There's no surprise that Meghan Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, was one of the only members of her family who attended her 2018 royal wedding. In the years since Markle's relationship with Prince Harry has gone public, she's experienced a specific kind of betrayal at the hands of her family members, including her father, Thomas Markle Sr., and his two children from a previous marriage, Thomas Markle Jr. and Samantha Grant. Thomas Markle Sr. embarrassed his daughter the week before her May 2018 nuptials by staging paparazzi photos that showed him trying on tuxes and studying British history, eventually telling TMZ that the images were "stupid and hammy," and later skipping his daughter's wedding. Markle Sr. came out against his daughter again in 2020, when Meghan and Prince Harry announced they would be stepping away from their royal duties, telling Us Weekly that he was "disappointed" by their decision. 

Meghan's half-siblings haven't been any kinder, with Thomas Markle Jr. allegedly writing a letter to Prince Harry in 2018 (via In Touchslamming Meghan as a "jaded, shallow, conceited woman." Markle Jr. eventually walked back his comments, but his sister, Samantha Grant, hasn't stopped attacking Meghan in the press, beginning in 2016, when she called Meghan a "social climber" (via The Sun). Grantwho began publicly going by the name Samantha Markle, criticized Meghan for not inviting her to her wedding in 2018, and in 2019 tweeted that Meghan was a "narcissist."

Did she have a feud with Kate Middleton?

In the years leading up to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announcing they were stepping away from their royal duties in January 2020, Markle was dogged by rumors that she and her sister-in-law, Prince William's wife Kate Middleton, were embroiled in a feud. Buzz continued to swirl years after Meghan and Prince Harry's wedding in 2018, with Tatler reporting in 2020 that Meghan and Kate had an argument in the weeks leading up to Meghan's wedding, insisting that her young bridesmaids, including Kate's three-year-old daughter Charlotte, would not wear tights during the ceremony. "Kate is furious about the larger workload," the Tatler article claimed, pointing to Harry and Meghan's departure from their royal duties as a new source of stress on Kate. "Of course she's smiling and dressing appropriately but she doesn't want this. She feels exhausted and trapped."

While the royals issued a statement shooting down the Tatler article as inaccuratethe story wasn't the first time the press surmised about the bad blood between the wives of the British royal brothers, Prince William and Harry. In 2019, Us Weekly reported that Meghan and Kate had an unpleasant exchange over Christmastime 2018 about their frustrations with each other, with rumors following them throughout 2019 claiming that the friendly moments they shared in public were actually PR stunts, covering up their rocky relationship.