Meghan Markle: Six things you didn't know about Prince Harry's girlfriend

Nov 8, 2016

Royal 'worried' about safety of Suits star and says she has been subjected to 'outright sexism and racism'

Prince Harry is said to be "worried" about the safety of his new girlfriend, US TV actress Meghan Markle, who has been subjected to a "wave of abuse and harassment", according to Kensington Palace.

In a statement, the palace said a line had been crossed in the past week and that Markle faced "outright sexism and racism" from online trolls, as well as a "very public… smear" and "bombardment" from sections of the media.

It added: "Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm.

"He knows commentators will say this is 'the price she has to pay' and that 'this is all part of the game'. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game – it is her life and his."

Markle was famous before she was rumoured to be seeing Prince Harry, having starred in the US TV drama Suits as well as big screen comedies Get Him to the Greek and Horrible Bosses.

Here are six things you might not know about the actress.

She lives in Canada

Despite being born and raised in Los Angeles, Markle lives north of the border. Following the success of Suits, she relocated to Toronto, where the show is filmed, and seems to have made herself at home.

Humanitarian charity World Vision Canada named her their global ambassador and she even appeared on Instagram enjoying the great Canadian pastime – watching an ice hockey game.

It was in Toronto that Markle and Prince Harry appear to have first hit it off, during the royal's visit to promote the Invictus Games in May. 

She is of African-American and Dutch-Irish descent

Markle's father, Tom, who is of Dutch and Irish descent, met her African-American mother when they were working on the set of a soap opera in the 1970s. Tom Markle later worked as a lighting director on 1990s sitcom Married…With Children, while her mother became a yoga instructor.

"While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that," Markle wrote for Elle.                      

She is an expert calligrapher

Many Hollywood actors have anecdotes about time spent waiting on tables while searching for their big break, but Markle had a more unusual talent to get her through the lean years – her handwriting.

While trying to break into showbusiness, she worked as a freelance calligrapher and counted Dolce & Gabbana among her clients. Markle told Esquire she attributes her talent to six years at a Catholic school, "when kids actually had handwriting class".

She has her own lifestyle brand

Gwyneth Paltrow's charmingly unselfconscious musings on her Goop lifestyle blog might be frequently lampooned, but they have inspired a generation of celebrity lifestyle brands. Markle has her own site, The Tig, which covers everything from food to travel to interviews with "influencers" such as Serena Williams and Cat Deeley.

Paltrow herself would be proud of The Tig's backstory: Markle named the brand after sipping a glass of Tignanello wine and experiencing a revelatory moment in which "suddenly I understood what people meant by the body, legs, structure of wine".

She has been married before

Markle was previously married to LA production company manager Trevor Engleson, tying the knot in a Jamaican beach wedding in September 2011, after more than seven years of dating. However, just short of two years later, it was all over - the pair were reported to have separated in August 2013.

Since her divorce, Markle has been linked with Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy and Canadian celebrity chef Cory Vitiello, before rumours about Prince Harry started to fly.

She was a 'briefcase girl'

The UK's Deal or No Deal might have Noel Edmonds, but America's version of the game show has Howie Mandel and 26 glamorous models who bring out boxes offering up to $1m. In 2006, Markle was in the line-up, responsible for holding box number 24.

The job as a "briefcase girl" came after Markle had gone to college and worked in the public affairs department of the US embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She says she would therefore put it in the "category of things I was doing while I was auditioning to try to make ends meet". It was a "learning experience", she told Esquire magazine: "It helped me to understand what I would rather be doing."

Markle recalled that for some reason her box was never chosen by contestants. "I would end up standing up there forever in these terribly uncomfortable and inexpensive five-inch heels just waiting for someone to pick my number so I could go and sit down," she said.

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