Born Rachel Meghan Markle on August 4, 1981, in Los Angeles, the aspiring actress’ career started with minor roles in films, guest appearances on TV shows like Fringe and 90210, and starring in made-for-TV movies. Markle landed her big acting break in 2011 when she was cast as Rachel Zane in the USA series Suits, on which she went on to star for seven seasons.
Markle’s first marriage was to actor and producer Trevor Engelson. The duo tied the knot in 2011 after nearly seven years of dating, but called it quits in August 2013, citing irreconcilable differences. After a nearly two-year relationship with celebrity chef Cory Vitiello, Markle began a relationship with Prince Harry in 2016.
Markle and Harry, who was fifth in line to the British throne at the time, met through a mutual friend. While they kept their relationship under wraps for months, Harry confirmed the dating rumors in November 2016 with a public statement slamming the sexist and racist trolls who criticized Markle. The twosome were seen for the first time in public together in February 2017 during a date night in London.
Then in November 2017, Harry and Markle announced their engagement. The pair tied the knot on May 19, 2018, in front of 600 guests at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in London. Harry and Markle were given their royal titles, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, after their nuptials.
Five months after their wedding, Kensington Palace announced that the couple were expecting their first child. Markle gave birth to the pair’s first child, a son named Archie, on May 6, 2019.
Markle sued the Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter she sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in October 2019. Later that month, Harry released a public statement slamming the British media’s treatment of Markle in the press. The former model opened up about the struggles of living in the spotlight in the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, which made headlines in October 2019 for her emotional interview.
In January 2020, Meghan and Harry announced their decision to step back as senior members of the royal family and to work to become financially independent. Shortly after, Harry and Meghan relocated to Vancouver, Canada, with Archie.
The couple officially exited the royal family in March 2020. Harry, Meghan and Archie moved to the former actress’ native California the same month. Meghan marked her return to the entertainment industry in the Disneynature documentary, Elephant, which began streaming on Disney+ in April 2020. She and Prince Harry signed deals with Netflix and Spotify later that year.
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In July 2020, Meghan shared she suffered a miscarriage. Less than one year after the couple’s loss, the pair welcomed daughter Lilibet, named after Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana, in June 2021.