Meghan Markle has come a long way from her California roots.
The daughter of retired lighting director Thomas Markle and former makeup artist Doria Ragland, who got her start in showbiz with a single-episode appearance on soap opera General Hospital, is now a member of the British royal family, with the title of Duchess of Sussex, following her May 2018 marriage to Prince Harry.
The road to worldwide fame was a long one, with studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, a previous marriage to director Trevor Engelson and a career-defining role as Rachel Zane on the USA Network hit Suits.
Along the way, the L.A. native also became an outspoken advocate for issues she is passionate about, speaking on gender inequality at a summit in Dublin in 2014 and holding workshops on body image and self-esteem one year later.
And then, there was Harry: The couple started dating in London in the summer of 2016. In November 2017, they announced their engagement to the world with a photo call at Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden in London. The former actress tied the knot with her now-husband with a gorgeous ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in England in front of about 600 guests.
In October 2018, the palace announced that the Sussexes were expecting their first child in spring 2019. “Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” the palace’s statement read at the time.
Meghan and Harry welcomed their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, in May 2019.
The twosome revealed their plans to “step back” from their roles as senior members of the royal family in January 2020. They completed their official duties in March 2020 and relocated to California.
Harry and Meghan announced in February 2021 that she was pregnant with their second child after suffering a miscarriage in July 2020. “We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother,” a spokesperson for the duo said on Valentine’s Day. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child.”
The following month, the prince shared that they would be adding a daughter to their brood. “Just to have a boy and a girl, what more can we ask for?” he gushed in his and Meghan’s CBS tell-all interview. “We’ve got our family. We’ve got, you know, the four of us and our two dogs, and it’s great.”
Meghan gave birth to their daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, in June 2021.
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Scroll down to see photos of Meghan’s transformation through the years!