And the question had always been “when,” not “if,” Prince Harry and American actor Meghan Markle would announce their engagement.
On Monday, the UK royal household confirmed the pair became engaged earlier this month and that the wedding will take place in spring 2018.
Despite her very public career — as an actor, a feminist and a humanitarian — Markle has kept her personal side largely hidden. So who is she?
Markle, 36, grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in communications.
Her breakthrough as an actor came in 2011 when she first appeared as ambitious paralegal Rachel Zane in the hit US television series “Suits,” now in its seventh season.
She has also acted in “CSI: Miami,” “90210” and “General Hospital.” Her film roles include Jamie in “Horrible Bosses” (2011) and Megan in “Remember Me” (2010).
“Being ‘ethnically ambiguous,’ as I was pegged in the industry, meant I could audition for virtually any role,” she wrote.
“Sadly, it didn’t matter: I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”
She spoke highly of the producers of “Suits” who “weren’t looking for someone mixed, nor someone white or black for that matter. They were simply looking for Rachel.”
‘Proud to be a feminist’
She had just been named the UN Women’s Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership.
Her commitment to gender equality began many years earlier, Markle explained. As an 11-year-old she had watched a soap commercial with the tagline “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”
She described how two boys in her class said loudly in response that women belonged in the kitchen and how the younger Markle, “shocked and angry,” decided to take action. On the advice of her father, she wrote several letters, including one to the soap manufacturer and one to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
In the end, she explained, the commercial was changed: The word “women” was removed and replaced with “people.”
“It was at that moment that I realized the magnitude of my actions,” she said.
She went on to call for more female political participation and representation. “Women need a seat at the table,” she said. And where that’s not possible, “then they need to create their own table.”
In 2016, she became a global ambassador for World Vision and traveled to Rwanda to see the impact of the charity’s clean water initiatives.
Until earlier this year, Markle ran a lifestyle website, sharing her tips on food and fashion. But she posted pieces about self-empowerment too.
Markle: We’re ‘really happy and in love’
Markle was married to film producer Trevor Engelson for two years before they divorced in 2013. It was three years later — in July 2016 — that she first met Prince Harry, introduced by mutual friends.
“I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us.”
The last time a divorced American became engaged to a member of the British royal family, it triggered a crisis that ended with the abdication of King Edward VIII, her future husband.
That was in 1936. Things have moved on in the past eight decades, but change does come slowly in the world of British royalty. After all, it’s only two years since the law changed to give sons and daughters of British monarchs an equal right to the throne.
Source: Lady Gaga