In the span of just 18 months, Meghan Markle has gone from an actress on Suits with a lifestyle blog, to a woman with her very own biography. Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, written by noted royal biographer Andrew Morton, was published on April 17 – and is bursting with the kind of details you need to know, if you've been afflicted with royal wedding fever.
In light of her impending royal status (is she a princess? Is she a duchess? Is she just going to be "the American?"), every detail of Markle's past has now been coated with a sheen of importance. Each event a stepping stone in the path that brought her closer to Prince Harry. And we want to know them all.
Recently, we've been collecting details of Markle's life as if they were little gems. We know her favorite wine is a red called Tignanello. We know she's getting style lessons from Victoria Beckham. All of this information is readily available, released in Markle's former blog or through media interviews — but what of her past? What she thought of herself? What she dreamed her life would be? That's where Andrew Morton's biography comes in. In this incredibly detailed book, Morton tracks her lineage hundreds of years into the past; interviews her high school teachers; and attempts to piece together a picture of Markle as we've never seen her before. Here are the juiciest revelations.
1. Markle’s parents met on the set of ABC’s General Hospital.
Doria Ragland was on set training to be a makeup artist when she met Thomas Markle, General Hospital’s longtime lightning technician. Thomas was 12 years Doria’s senior. In 1979, Doria and Tom Senior were married in a ceremony at the Self-Realisation Fellowship Temple, which was founded by Yogananda, a Hindu yoga guru.
2. Doria and Thomas had an adorable nickname for their new daughter.
Doria became pregnant within a year of the wedding, and Rachel Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981. Her parents called her “Flower” or “Bud,” a nickname that persisted throughout Markle’s life – in a blog post for The Tig, Markle wrote about her mother calling her “Flower.”
When Markle was born, Thomas already had two older children from a previous marriage. Still, Markle became the centre of his life. “My dad was more in love with her than anyone else in the world...she became his whole life, his little princess,” Tom Junior, Meghan’s half-brother, said in Meghan: A Hollywood Princess.
3. Her career in activism began early – elementary school early.
When Markle was 10, she staged her very first protest. By that point, Morton writes, Markle was already politically engaged, speaking up in class about racial issues, the Gulf War, and the impending Clinton-Bush election. In 1991, after a classmate burst into tears worried about his brother serving in the Gulf War, Markle organised a war protest with classmates. They picketed outside their school with antiwar signs. A local TV organisation arrived to document the protest.
4. When she was 11, she successfully altered a sexist ad campaign.
At a young age, Markle was hypersensitive to subliminal messaging in media and ads. She was perturbed by the Proctor & Gamble tag line, “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.” Why is it exclusively women’s job? Markle launched a campaign and wrote handwritten letters expressing her concern to Procter & Gamble and to feminist leaders like First Lady Hillary Clinton, news anchor Linda Ellerbee, and Gloria Allred. All three wrote back with messages of encouragement. Even though Procter & Gable stayed silent, it seemed like they listened. A month later, the ad campaign changed to, "People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”
5. She once worked at a frozen yogurt store called Humphrey Yogart.
Look, you have to respect a good pun where you get it. When Markle was 13, she worked at a fast-paced yogurt store at Beverly Hills called, yes: Humphrey Yogart. The gig was short-lived. She began working at a soup kitchen in South Los Angeles soon after.
6. Her mom had a vanity license plate designed just for her daughter.
Doria drove a Volvo station wagon with the plate, “MEGNMEE.”
7. She’s played a Queen before — twice.
In high school, Markle was crowned homecoming queen around the same time that she was cast to play Queen Jocasta in Oedipus Rex — the royal doomed to marry her son, Oedipus, and take her own life.
In the past, enthusiasm for the high school productions had been minimal. But Markle’s presence in the show caused the three-night show to quickly sell out. "'A lot of pupils went to the show just to see Meghan,'” said drama director Manny Eulalia. “'Quite a few of the boys had crushes on her.'”
8. She got her start in music videos.
Not long before beginning her freshman year at Northwestern, Markle appeared in the music video for Tomi Amos’ “1000 Oceans.” She then auditioned for a Shakira music video, but didn't get a call back.
9. She almost became a diplomat.
Even though she always wanted to become an actress, Markle actually majored in international relations at Northwestern. When Markle was in college, she scored a six-week internship in the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires, working as a junior press officer. Markle was taken with the work and was sure this was what she wanted to spend the rest of her life doing. While she was still in Argentina, Markle took the Foreign Service Officer Test, a gruelling three-hour exam that tests knowledge in everything from pop culture to geography to math. Unfortunately, Markle didn’t pass the test. “If she had stayed with the State Department she would have been an excellent addition to the U.S. diplomatic corps,” said her former boss, Mark Krischik.
10. She addressed the invitations for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s wedding.
Before breaking into acting, Markle had a series of side jobs. She worked as a hostess. She taught gift wrapping. And, perhaps most surprisingly, she had a steady income as a calligrapher. According to Morton, she has impeccable handwriting. That's how she ended up providing cursive for the envelopes of Paula Patton and Robin Thicke’s 2005 wedding.
11. She worked with Chrissy Teigen — and Donald Trump – on Deal or No Deal.
Thanks to an audition scored by her producer boyfriend, Trevor Engleson, Markle became a “briefcase girl” for the game show Deal or No Deal in 2006 when she was 25 years old. Chrissy Teigen was on the backup squad along with Markle. According to Tameka Owens, one of Markle’s coworkers, the salary was good — briefcase girls were paid £350 per episode, adding up to £18,000 a week when the show was recorded regularly. But Markle knew she was on her way to better things. She rarely joined in on in the cast parties (one of which included Donald Trump) or got involved in office gossip. Where the other women starved themselves on celery, she ate pizza. “She knew where she was going, and it certainly wasn’t spending her days on Deal or No Deal,” Morton wrote.
12. Markle allegedly had a secret blog called Working Actress.
We know Markle for the fashion and lifestyle blog The Tig — but before that highly polished site, Markle allegedly authored an anonymous, confessional blog about the struggles of being a working actress. In the blog, she detailed sexism from casting agents, financial hardships, and loneliness. "I'm not gonna lie. I've spent many days curled up in bed with a loaf of bread and some wine. A one-woman pity party. It's awful and ridiculous...All you're doing is setting yourself up for heartbreak,” she wrote early on in her career, while she was dating Engleson.
13. This last-minute wardrobe change might've gotten her her breakout role.
At the audition for Suits, Markle drastically reconsidered her outfit. She was wearing a plum-coloured tank-top, black jeans, and pumps — which, she realised, wasn't what her lawyer character Rachel Zane would wear to work. Markle quickly ran into H&M and purchased a £25 black dress without even trying it on. She killed at the audition, and was cast almost immediately.