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Meghan Markle was the most googled name of the year in 2017, and understandably so! Her Hollywood star-to-Royalty transition enthralled the world and fans immediately became intrigued with every detail of her life, from her family to her clothing. Andrew Morton released a sensational biography on the life of Princess Diana, and now he’s done the same for the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. At 37 years old, Markle has definitely been through quite a few phases of her life, so follow along for some shocking revelations that Morton uncovered about Markle in his illuminating biography:
Meghan mourned the loss of Princess Diana alongside Prince Harry decades before they’d ever met. As a young girl in 1997, she and her friends watched old videos of the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles and grieved together while watching her funeral. “She was intrigued by Diana not just for her style but for her independent humanitarian mission, seeing her as a role model,” Morton wrote. Her childhood friend confirmed that Markle kept a Princess Diana biography on her bookshelf and observed, “She was always fascinated by the Royal family. She wanted to be Princess Diana 2.0.”
Throughout her adulthood, Meghan made her role in politics and activism very evident. She stood up for women’s rights issues and undertook quite a few mission trips to understand the political climate of other countries and help find solutions. Her passion for humanitarianism began at a young age when she stood up to Procter & Gamble for releasing a commercial that claimed: “Women everywhere fighting greasy pots and pans.” This moment sparked the feminist in her to stand up to the company and write letters to various female figureheads including Hilary Clinton and Gloria Allred. The commercial was later changed to “People everywhere..,” which made Meghan realize at a young age that her small contribution can truly make a difference.
Surprisingly, Markle’s ancestry actually crosses paths with Royalty. Her father’s side of the family traces back to royal roots that Morton wasn’t entirely certain Meghan herself was even aware of. “Meghan has, through her father’s family, links to the royal families of Scotland, England and beyond… It is possible to trace a direct line through twenty-five generations to Robert I of Scotland,” Morton explained.
In 1990 Meghan’s father Thomas Markle won the California State Lottery with a jackpot win of $750 000. According to Morton, the lottery win ended up being “more of a curse than a blessing” and Markle declared bankruptcy within three years of the big win proving unable to control his spending.
As a humanitarian, Meghan found the value in sharing think-pieces and personal experiences on her blog about growing up in a biracial family. It wasn’t always easy for her and she faced firsthand discrimination from everyone from teachers, sorority sisters, and even strangers. Morton explained, “As Meghan was to learn, the history of her mother’s family was one of exploitation, discrimination, and injustice. Some of it she would experience firsthand, such as when she felt the rush of blood to her cheeks when someone in a parking lot used the N-word to her mother because she did not leave briskly enough.”
Despite how poised and polished Meghan seems in her adulthood, her childhood was somewhat different and was quite laissez-faire in nature. Morton shared, “Their house was still generally party central, Doria [her mother]’s friends coming over, smoking weed, playing music, practicing yoga — which Doria now taught — and barbecuing.”
All of Meghan’s classmates thought fondly of her and she had a reputation as someone with high-value morals and a good head on her shoulders. One classmate recalled, “I was bullied and miserable and my only salvation were the kids who liked me. I really liked Meghan a lot. She didn’t turn me away if I started talking about offbeat subjects. She listened… She was one of the most righteous people I have ever met. If someone was being treated unfairly she stuck up for them. Meghan called it like it was. She was going to defend those who needed it.”
Before her decision to become an actress, Meghan wanted to pursue a career in politics and international relations. She was a student still confused about exactly what path she wanted to take, but she knew she was passionate about humanitarian work. Her Uncle Mick pulled some strings and got her a 6-week internship as a junior press officer with the American embassy. “It was quite the adventure for the twenty-year-old, flying from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires on her own. She joined a team of nearly thirty State Department officials and guards in the mid-sized American enclave,” he explained of her journey.
Meghan had all the personality traits and passions to be a successful addition to the US diplomats, but her success all laid in the hands of her results on the Foreign Service Officer Test. “The three-hour exam is a mix of politics, history, general knowledge, and math, requiring an awareness of everything from the origin of be-bop to East Asian labor laws. It proved a stretch too far, and Meghan failed the exam.” She returned home and the switched gears of her career path towards the entertainment industry.
As many actresses do, Markle struggled for many years before getting her big break in the entertainment industry. She took many small roles, some without any lines at all, and even succumbed to a few degrading roles to make ends meet. One of these questionable roles includes her stint as a scantily clad briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal. Morton explained, “This was not what she had in mind when she went into acting but, at only twenty-five, she was earning more than she ever had in her life, and the shooting schedule was perfect: long blocks of filming followed by weeks of downtime.”
Although she leads a life of luxury now, it wasn’t always this way for young Meghan Markle. As many actresses do, she struggled for nearly 10 years before making a name for herself in the industry and was forced to live on the bare minimum. In her early twenties, she even drove a broken down Jeep to get between auditions which she mused about fondly later in life. Morton explained, “On the way to an audition one day, the electric button that unlocked the doors to her Jeep Explorer failed to open… Trying not to panic, she went around to the hatchback, which used a different key. By some miracle, it opened. Running short on time, she had no choice but to crawl in through the back and clamber over to the seat… Too broke to get her Jeep repaired, Meghan repeated this routine for months, parking far from other cars and waiting for the coast to clear before emerging from the hatch, feigning that she was searching in the back of the car for a script or photos before climbing back inside.”
Long before she launched her popular lifestyle blog The Tig, Meghan ran an anonymous blog about the struggles of making it as an actress called “Working Actress.” On it, she shared her innermost thoughts while trying to find her big break in a cutthroat industry. In an excerpt from the blog she shared about one of her first roles, “At the start of my career, I remember freaking out and celebrating over getting one line on a sh-tty UPN show. At the time, that was a big success. It was phone calls of congrats, and flowers, and celebratory dinners with wine glasses clinking. It was a landmark of more work to come, and a glimmer of hope that said ‘holy sh-t, you’re really doing this.'”
After years of auditions and callbacks, Meghan became quite the expert on gauging reactions and how her audition went. Surprisingly, she didn’t feel confident following her Suits audition and didn’t believe she’d get a callback. “Meghan didn’t feel great about her audition and called her agent, Nick Collins at the Gersh Agency, from her car. She told him that she could not get her head around the lines,” Morton explained. “It was a mouthful, the worst audition of her life. ‘I don’t think I did a good job in that room, and I need to get back in there,’ she wailed. ‘I really want this part.’ Her agent had heard this before from so many of his clients, and his answer was always the same: ‘There’s nothing I can do. Just focus on your next audition.'” Little did she know that the producers were putting together a test deal for her behind the scenes, especially after they saw her chemistry with co-star Patrick J. Adams!
As a matter of fact, her on-screen chemistry with co-star Patrick J. Adams, who plays Mike Ross, was so strong that fans began to typecast Meghan as her character Rachel. This came to a peak when Rachel cheated on Mike with an old flame on the show. Her Instagram instantly became littered with abusive comments alongside emojis of knives and guns. Morton explained, “Fans weren’t just angry at her character, Rachel Zane, for kissing her old boyfriend… they were furious at Meghan Markle. They believed that the actor was responsible for the storyline, not the scriptwriters. As she pondered how fans could become so invested in the story, which was, after all, make-believe, the comments kept heating up. Now there were death threats. ‘Meghan Markle, you slut. I wanna kill you.’ This was out of control.”
The divorce between Meghan and Trevor Engelson is a topic of much speculation and seemed to happen in a cold way and on Meghan’s terms. “Her Californian friends were genuinely shocked when she announced the end of her two-year marriage in the summer of 2013,” Morton wrote. “Trevor went from cherishing Meghan to, as one friend observed, ‘feeling like he was a piece of something stuck to the bottom of her shoe.’ A wealthy entrepreneur pal claimed that the marriage ended so abruptly that Meghan sent Trevor her diamond wedding ring and engagement rings back to him by registered mail.”
One of the most interesting facts about Meghan is that she existed in both worlds — that of the sometimes vanity-centered entertainment industry and that of humanitarian and philanthropic work. She was even appointed as a UN Women Advocate for Leadership and Political Participation which lead to her speaking before the United Nations about her story of growing up as a biracial. When given the choice, Meghan put her role as an activist ahead of her fame, which came at a peak when she had to decide between attending the BAFTAs or helping in Rwanda. “Her management company told her that she would be sponsored by a high-end jewelry company that would fly her directly from Kigali to London… ‘No,’ screamed her gut. It had always been a dream to attend the BAFTAs, but she couldn’t shift emotional gears that quickly, from the purpose-driven work she had been doing all week in Rwanda to the polished glamour of an award show.”
Once Meghan’s relationship with Prince Harry was out in the open, her friends and family began to crack under pressure and turn their backs on her. One of the worst burns came from her childhood best friend Ninaki Priddy who was the maid of honor at her first wedding. “What was no laughing matter was the decision by Meghan’s lifelong friend Ninaki Priddy … to sell her photograph albums and story to the highest bidder, receiving a six-figure sum for her memories. Given the longevity of their relationship, Meghan may have expected more loyalty.”
Once Meghan met Prince Harry, she slowly began to adjust to a new way of life. As a blogger, she was accustomed to sharing her life and being open to her followers, which was definitely a very different way of living than that of the reserved Royal family. While courting with Prince Harry, she sent subtle signals to her fans on Instagram giving a nod to their relationship without sharing too much. Her first subtle signal was a photo she posted of two Love Hearts candies with the message “Kiss me” on it in which she captioned the photo, “Love hearts in London.” Just hours after the story broke publically of Markle and Harry’s relationship, Markle posted a photo of two bananas cuddling with the caption, “Sleep tight xx.” She also shared multiple photos of her wearing the exact same blue-beaded bracelet that Prince Harry was known to wear quite often in 2016.
Meghan is a bona fide foodie, which is quite apparent considering the fact that the majority of her Tig articles focussed on new and experimental recipes. There were quite a few aspects of her pre-Royal life she needed to sacrifice before entering the world of Buckingham Palace, including her blog, but her passion for food and cooking was something she integrated into her and Harry’s new life as a couple. “Though all members of the royal family have their dietary quirks, none seemingly enjoy the act of cooking… Meghan, though, comes from the other end of the foodie chain… Just as Meghan encouraged a helping of culinary adventure, so she dramatically changed the contents of his fridge. Meghan never leaves home unless she has hummus, carrots, green juice, almonds and chia seed pudding in the fridge. When California met Kensington, there was only going to be one victor in the dietary smackdown.”
The wedding affair of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was the event of the decade and one that will always be remembered. It took place in St. George’s Chapel which can accommodate a guest list of 800. Obviously, a royal affair has quite the hefty price tag to go along with it as an event so lavish, but luckily the royal family covered the bill for the majority of it. Morton shared, “It will have relieved Tom Markle Senior to know that the royal family was paying for the flowers, reception, the service, and the music. He or Meghan would only have to shell out for her dress.”