Meghan Markle at the inaugural Royal Foundation Forum. 2018. Photo by Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images.
What does she do? Meghan Markle is an American actress and humanitarian. She was a counsellor One Young World, an international charity, and spoke at their 2014 annual summit in Dublin. She is concerned with gender equality and modern slavery and has traveled to Afghanistan and Spain as part of the USO Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tour. She is a global ambassador for World Vision Canada and has worked with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Markle also portrayed Rachel Zane on the legal drama series, Suits. She is engaged to Prince Harry, making her the first woman of color to join the British royal family.
Who is she? Born in Los Angeles, Markle grew up in Hollywood. Her parents divorced when she was just six years old. Her first venture into activism came at age 11, where she successfully campaigned to get a company to change a national television commercial that she viewed as sexist. She was profiled by Linda Ellerbee on Nick News. She later earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in theater and international studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In school, she worked as a freelance calligrapher to support herself, and she interned at the US embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In her early career, Markle had small guest rolls on television shows such as General Hospital, Century City, The War at Home, and CSI: NY. In 2011, she won the role of Rachel Zane on the USA Network Show Suits. While filming, Markle was also the founder and editor-in-chief of a lifestyle website, which profiles women professionals. In June of 2016, Markle began a relationship with Prince Harry, who is fifth in line to the British throne.
Why watch? Markle is transitioning out of her life as an actress and into a place within the British royal family. Her engagement to Prince Harry is nontraditional—Markle is divorced, an American, and a woman of color. The couple engagement announcement prompted commentary on the significance of Markle’s race and status, and periphery members of the royal family have made both sexist and racists comments regarding the bride-to-be. We are interested to see just how much discussion on royalty and race Markle sparks.