When she started dating Prince Harry in 2016, Meghan Markle went from a minor U.S. celebrity to one of the most talked about, written about women in the world. Now that she’s the Duchess of Sussex and due to give birth to the seventh heir to the British throne any day now, the spotlight on her is even brighter.
Given how many column inches are devoted to the royal mom-to-be, you might think you know everything about her. But these facts about Meghan Markle might have slipped under your radar.
Her First Name Isn’t Meghan
Markle was born Rachel Meghan Markle, but it seems she’s always been known as Meghan or Meg. However, when the Queen issued her formal consent to the marriage, she declared the couple’s full names: “My Lords, I declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle, which Consent I am causing to be signified under the Great Seal and to be entered in the Books of the Privy Council.” That’s right — Markle’s hubby doesn’t go by his real name either.
She Went To An All-Girls Catholic School
Although Markle isn’t Catholic, she attended an all-girls Catholic school in Los Angeles. “I went to an all-girls Catholic school for like six years during the time when kids actually had handwriting class,” Markle told Esquire. She added that being on the set of “Married… With Children,” the TV show her dad was a lighting director for, was a “really funny and perverse” experience for a Catholic schoolgirl. “Just picture me with my curly hair and a gap in my teeth and my little school uniform with Keds on, looking up like, ‘Hi,’ at these very, uh, provocative women,” she said. “It was a big change from Immaculate Heart Catholic School.”
She Has Incredible Handwriting
It was at Immaculate Heart Catholic School that Markle learned how to do cursive handwriting, which she used to her advantage to make ends meet when she was trying to break into acting. “What it evolved into was my pseudo-waitressing job when I was auditioning,” she told Esquire. “I didn’t wait tables. I did calligraphy for the invitations for, like, Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s wedding.” The world got a peek at Markle’s handwriting recently when she wrote touching messages on bananas for British women who are trapped in street sex work and struggle with addiction, poverty and violence.
She Was An Outspoken Feminist At 11 Years Old
A passionate advocate for equality and women’s rights, Markle spoke up against discrimination at a young age. When she was only 11, she reacted to a commercial suggesting that women do dishes, writing a letter to Procter and Gamble asking them to amend the advertising language — and it worked. “Truth be told, at 11 I don’t think I even knew what sexism meant,” Markle said at an International Women’s Day event in March 2019. “I just knew that something struck me internally that was telling me it was wrong, and I knew that it was wrong. And using that as my moral compass and moving through from the age of 11, at that age I was able to change this commercial.”
She Worked In A Frozen Yogurt Shop
When she was 13, Markle worked at Humphrey Yogart, a frozen yogurt shop in the Beverly Connection shopping mall near her mother’s home in California. The shop is no longer there, but the H.Y. franchise in the San Fernando Valley took advantage of the famous connection and offered a strawberry and peanut butter frozen yogurt at 50 percent off on May 19, 2018, to celebrate their former employee’s wedding to Prince Harry.
Her First Kiss Is A Pro Beatboxer
Long before she met and fell in love with Prince Harry, one of the most eligible bachelors in the world, Markle’s first kiss was with Joshua Silverstein, who she met at summer camp. Now married with two children, Joshua works as a professional beatboxer and has appeared on TV with “The Late Late Show” host James Corden. Silverstein told The Daily Mail, “We were together every day, we spoke on the phone a lot, we held hands and shared kisses. Meghan and I are the same age so, I know I was about 13 or 14. I obviously don’t remember ‘the kiss’ — but I do know that I was the first guy she kissed. She was a nice, kind, sweet girl.”
She Took A Selfie At Buckingham Palace As A Teenager
Markle is no stranger to Buckingham Palace and the other royal residences by now, but as a teenager, she was simply a tourist at one of the most famous buildings in the world. In a picture published in the Daily Mail, 15-year-old Markle and her friend Ninaki Priddy, visited London during a European trip and took the opportunity to snap a selfie on a railing outside the palace. Little did they know that 22 years later, Markle would be married to a prince and attending private royal family events inside the grand building.
She Starred In A Music Video
After graduating from Immaculate Heart High School in 1999, 17-year-old Meghan appeared in a music video for Tori Amos’s song “1000 Oceans.” Markle got about $600 for the two-day shoot, which took place in a parking lot in Los Angeles. She later auditioned for a Shakira music video but didn’t make the cut. Another of Markle’s early acting jobs was in a Tostitos commercial in which she read the number of ingredients in a bag of chips.
She Planned A Career In Politics
In her senior year of college, Markle worked at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “By my junior year I had finished most of my credits, and so I applied for an internship at the U.S. Embassy, so I ended up working in the embassy in Buenos Aires for a few months,” she told Marie Claire. “It was their economic devaluation and our Secretary of the Treasury at the time, Paul O’Neill, was there. So I’m 20 years old, in Buenos Aires, in a motorcade, doing that whole thing. I thought for sure I would still have a career in politics.”
She Was A Double Major
Markle wanted to explore her two passions — performance and politics — after high school, and decided to double major at Northwestern University in Illinois. “I knew I wanted to do acting, but I hated the idea of being this cliché — a girl from L.A. who decides to be an actress,” she told Marie Claire. “I wanted more than that, and I had always loved politics, so I ended up changing my major completely and double-majoring in theater and international relations.” Markle graduated with a communications degree in 2003.
She Used To Bite Her Nails
Markle’s nails always look picture-perfect nowadays, but that wasn’t always the case. She wrote on her now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig in 2016 that one of her New Year’s resolutions was to stop biting her nails, revealing that she chews her nails when she is stressed, especially on turbulent flights. She also resolved to stop swearing, which she did when she was “overworked or feeling mighty cheeky after a couple of drinks.”
Her Shoes Are Too Big For Her
Eagle-eyed Markle watchers may have noticed that the Duchess’ shoes often look slightly too big for her, but this is believed to be intentional — a deliberate move on Markle’s part to ensure she doesn’t get blisters when she’s walking all day in heels. “Celebs often go a size up, or even two, in the shoe department when they’re at an event or on the red carpet and it’s for one reason we can all relate to — to avoid blisters,” fashion expert Harriet Davey told The Sun.
She’s The Oldest Royal Bride Ever
Fortunately, times have changed and it’s no longer the norm for royal brides to be very young. (The youngest royal bride was Isabella of Valois, who was only six years old when she married Richard II in 1396.) Markle was 36 when she married Prince Harry on May 19, 2018, making her the oldest bride to wed a non-divorced future king. Before this, her sister-in-law Kate Middleton held this record; she was 29 when she married Prince William on April 29, 2011.
She Learns Other Languages
Following her stint at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires in 2002, Markle went to Madrid to study Spanish. She later showed off her fluency in a tongue-in-cheek Spanish episode of “Suits” entitled “The Killer of Love.” Markle also speaks “proficient” French and Portuguese and made a fan’s day recently by greeting her in her native Filipino. Her next goal is to be a better French speaker; during a visit to the Hubb Community Kitchen in London in December 2018, she said she had been “trying to get better at my French over the last year.”
She Always Travels With Tea Tree Oil
As a jet-setting member of the royal family who visits several countries a year to fulfill her official duties, Markle has a few travel hacks up her sleeve. For starters, she always carries tea tree oil with her. “The one thing that I cannot live without when I’m traveling is a small container of tea tree oil,” she told Allure. “It’s not the most glamorous thing, but if you get a cut, a mosquito bite, a small breakout, no matter what it is, it’s my little cure-all. It’s inexpensive, it’s small enough to carry on, and I bring it with me all the time.”
People Want Her Nose
Markle’s fans want her wardrobe, her jewelry and her makeup looks — and some of them want her nose. According to one of the world’s top plastic surgeons, a nose like Markle’s is one of his most-requested surgeries. “Patients started to coming to see me [in early 2017] requesting Meghan Markle’s nose,” board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen T. Greenberg told E!. “As things between her and Prince Harry started to heat up, attention definitely followed. Today, she is probably one of the top — if not the No. 1 — request I get.”
She Wore Her Own Jewelry During ‘Suits’
Markle has worn a range of royal heirlooms during official engagements, and she’s always chosen family jewelry when accessorizing her outfits. Even during the filming of “Suits” she insisted on choosing all her own jewelry. “All the jewelry that I wear on the show is my own personal jewelry and family heirlooms, like my grandma’s charm bracelet and my signet ring,” she told Marie Claire.
She’s In Hallmark Channel Movies
If you recognize Markle from the small screen but have never seen her as Rachel Zane in “Suits,” you may have caught her in a Hallmark Channel movie. She played businesswoman Cassandra Brand in “Dater’s Handbook” and journalist Amy Peterson in “When Sparks Fly” — both typical Hallmark movies about finding love with the right guy (after ruling out the wrong guy).
She Loves Board Games
If you’re wondering how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are passing their time waiting for their baby to arrive, it might just involve board games. Apparently, Meghan has a competitive streak and loves nothing more than a game of Monopoly or Scrabble. She told Esquire that she and her “Suits” castmates often stayed up “into the wee hours” after a day of filming playing Apples to Apples, a popular card game.
She Gave Gift-Wrap Classes
As well as doing calligraphy on the side when she was a jobbing actress, Markle gave gift-wrap classes when she worked part-time at Paper Source, a stationery shop in Beverly Hills. Her old boss, Winnie Park, told People that Markle is “someone who really enjoys the creative aspects of the job, who enjoys helping people and also someone who enjoys making creative projects come to life,” adding that all Paper Source sales associates “are screened for their creativity.”
She Designed A Capsule Collection With A Canadian Fashion Label
With the eyes of the world on everything she wears, Markle has to think carefully about her style choices. But she’s always been interested in fashion, and in 2015 she was signed as a brand ambassador for Canadian retailer Reitmans. The following year, Reitmans launched a capsule collection of dresses co-designed by Markle, who told Best Health she was involved in all aspects of the design process.
She And Prince Harry May Be Distant Relatives
Hundreds of years ago it was quite common for royals to marry their cousins, but that sort of thing would be frowned upon today. And reports that Markle and her husband are very distant cousins isn’t any cause for concern — when the Daily Mail dug into Markle’s family tree, it found that the link goes 15 generations back in time.
She Was A Briefcase Model On ‘Deal Or No Deal’
One of Markle’s first jobs in Hollywood was Model No. 24 on the game show “Deal or No Deal,” hosted by Howie Mandel. Markle described the job, which involved holding a briefcase for several episodes and saw her rubbing shoulders with fellow model Chrissy Teigen, as “a learning experience.” “It helped me to understand what I would rather be doing,” she told Esquire. She also revealed that she never held the show’s lucky case: “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.”
Her First Husband Is Making A Show About Her
Markle married producer Trevor Engelson in September 2011, but they got a no-fault divorce in 2013, citing irreconcilable differences. Prince Harry was the second member of the royal family to marry a divorcée, the first being King Edward VIII (later known as the Duke of Windsor), who gave up the throne to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson in 1937. At that time, a monarch marrying a divorced woman was a huge scandal, but it’s no big deal today. Engelson is now believed to be developing a “fictional” show with Fox based on the pitch: “Divorce is hard. Sharing custody is harder. Sharing custody with the British Royal family when your wife marries a prince, in the unforgiving spotlight of London’s tabloid media, is next level.”
Ellen DeGeneres Persuaded Her To Rescue Dogs
Markle’s love for her beloved rescue dogs Bogart and Guy is well-known, but most people don’t know that it was chat show host Ellen DeGeneres who persuaded the actress to become a dog mama when the two women bumped into each other at a Los Angeles dog shelter, “Now, I don’t know her, but Ellen goes ‘Is that your dog?'” Markle told Best Health. “And I said, ‘No,’ and she’s like, ‘You have to take that dog.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m deciding.’ And she’s like, ‘Rescue the dog!’ It’s sort of like if Oprah tells you to do something… And so I brought him home. Because Ellen told me to.”
Her Mom Is Her BFF
Markle regularly refers to her mom, Doria Ragland, a yoga instructor and social worker who lives in California, as her best friend. Ragland even once drove a car with the number plate MEGNME. “We can just have so much fun together, and yet, I’ll still find so much solace in her support,” Meghan said of her mother in 2017. “That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend.” Markle and Prince Harry have reportedly renovated a small outbuilding on the grounds of their new Windsor home into a one-bedroom home for Doria to stay in after Baby Sussex is born.
She Has Friends In High Places
Besides her mom, Markle has many friends in high places, counting “Quantico” star Priyanka Chopra, tennis champion Serena Williams and A-list power couple Amal and George Clooney among her nearest and dearest. George Clooney recently came to Markle’s defense, calling out the press for their “unjust” treatment of the Duchess. “[Meghan] hadn’t done anything except just happen to live her life,” he said on U.K. breakfast show “Good Morning Britain.” “Most of it you can just shrug off and not pay attention to, but sometimes it’s unkind.”
She Gave Lifestyle Inspo
Before she was in a relationship with Prince Harry, Markle ran a lifestyle blog called The Tig (after her favorite wine, Tiganello), covering beauty, fashion, food and travel. Unfortunately for everyone who wants to know as much about Markle as possible, The Tig is no more. Markle shut it down in April 2017, writing in her “farewell letter” to her readers, “You’ve made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy. Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being ‘the change you wish to see in the world.'”
She Was Prince Harry’s Wedding Date
Harry reportedly drove about 100 miles to ensure Markle was his date at Pippa Middleton’s wedding reception in May 2017. After attending the ceremony, Harry returned to Kensington Palace to pick up Markle and take her back to Englefield for the reception in the gardens of the Middleton estate. A year later, Harry and Meghan got married themselves, tying the knot at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, which isn’t far from their new home, Frogmore Cottage.
She Likes Indie Music
Markle shared a playlist of music she was listening to in a post on The Tig, revealing that she loves indie acts like Crystal Fighters, Maggie Rogers and Janelle Monáe. In the post, Markle said she hoped her tracks would give her readers a winter “mid-afternoon pick-me-up.” “When the air is filled with positive vibes, there’s no winter cold that can block out the warmth of happy hearts,” she wrote.