American actress Meghan Markle, who shot to fame for the portrayal of lawyer Rachel Zane in legal drama series Suits, will be marrying Prince Harry, the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales in Spring 2018. The American, mixed-race and "fiercely independent" Meghan Markle will breathe fresh air into the British royal family. The Clarence House announced today that the couple got engaged in London earlier this month and will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace after marriage. Prince Harry, 33, has been dating the 36-year-old actress since 2016.
Here are 10 facts about Meghan Markel:
1. Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981 in Los Angeles and will be the first mixed race person to marry a British Royal. Her mother, Doria Ragland is an African American who works as a psychotherapist and yoga instructor. Her father Thomas W Markle, a Caucasian, is Emmy award-winning lighting director.
2. Since her father belongs to the film fraternity, Ms Markel grew up in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. She was educated at private schools since the age of 5. She first went to study in Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse and later at Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girl, private Catholic school in Los Angeles.
3. She took up theatre studies and graduated from Northwestern University, near Chicago, in 2003.
4. Meghan Markle has worked on several acting assignments on television. She has appeared on shows like Deal or No Deal, General Hospital, Fringe and most recently, Suits, among others.
5. Meghan Markle also has three films to her credit. In 2010, she worked on Get Him to the Greek and Remember Me and in 2011, she acted in Horrible Bosses. Apart from this, she also appeared in a short film called The Candidate.
7. Ms Markle has worked in humanitarian space as well and has a reputation of a feminist. She is quite vocal about issues relating to gender equality and women empowerment and has worked with the United Nations as an advocate for the cause. In a speech she made on the 2015 International Women's Day, she urged women to make their voices heard, saying: "Women need a seat at the table, they need an invitation to be seated there, and in some cases, where this is not available, they need to create their own table".
8. Beyond her role as an ambassador for the Canadian charity "World Vision Canada," which works to improve children's lives in developing countries, Ms Markle regularly asserts the feminist beliefs she forged during her childhood. "Aged 11, she forced a soap manufacturer to alter an advert after she wrote a letter to then First Lady Hillary Clinton and other high-profile figures complaining that it implied women belonged in the kitchen," wrote the BBC.
9. Before dating Prince Harry, Meghan Markle married actor and producer Trevor Engelson in 2011 and the two split in August 2013 after a relationship of 9 years.
10. Ms Markle met Prince Harry in 2016 and made their relationship public after six months of dating. The couple made their first public appearances together in September while attending the opening ceremony of the third Invictus Games - created by Prince Harry for disabled or wounded soldiers and veterans. "We're two people who are really happy and in love," Ms Markle told Vanity Fair shortly before the event.
(With Inputs From AFP)