Meghan Markle – now officially known as Meghan, Duchess of Sussex – has made headlines in recent years for having married Prince Harry, second son of King Charles III, after she married Prince Harry. Meghan has made her mark in Windsor family history: not only is she the first black member of the royal family, she is also the first American since Wallis Simpson (formerly Wallis, Duchess of Windsor), and she and Harry are now among the few never publicly separate from the rest of the family, a process that began in 2020 and is now informally known as Megxit. As a result, Harry, Meghan and their two children – Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor – now live primarily in California and are “financially independent” from the rest of Harry’s family.
Although Meghan may be in the headlines today, what is known about her past life? where did she grow up Well, as it turns out, royal observers don’t have to look far to find out about Meghan’s origins.
Meghan Markle was born and raised in Los Angeles
Before she became the Duchess of Sussex — or a famous actress — Meghan Markle was just a normal, upper-middle-class kid in Los Angeles. Meghan was born in 1981 in LA’s Canoga Park area, per IMDb, where she was raised. A mixed-race child, she was born to Thomas Markle Sr., a white man, and Doria Ragland, a black woman. Her full name is actually Rachel Meghan Markle (funnily the same first name as the character she would play on Suits). She was also raised as an only child (although she has two much older paternal half-siblings), and her parents separated when she was just two, according to People, officially divorcing four years later.
Ever since she was little, Meghan has been educated at a private school: first at the Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse and then at Immaculate Heart High School, both in Los Angeles, the latter of which was an all-girls Catholic school.
Also, Meghan wasn’t the only one in her family who got involved in the television industry. Her father was the lighting and camera director for numerous TV shows, including “Married… with Children” and “General Hospital,” for which he won numerous Emmys. As a child, Meghan would often visit her father on the set Esquire, which she called “a really fun and kinky place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up.”
Meghan Markle considered herself an “ugly duckling” as a child.
Though Meghan Markle may be popular today, growing up she often felt ostracized by her own community. On a September episode of her Archetypes podcast, Meghan opened up about how she felt growing up as the “ugly duckling” who often struggled to fit in. ‘ she said, per Good Morning America, leading her to become ‘the smart one’. Meghan added: “I’ve always been a bit of a loner and very shy and didn’t know where I fit in.”
Additionally, being a mixed race, Meghan was often confused about her own identity, especially in a society that viewed race as primarily binary. In a 2015 article she wrote for Elle, Meghan recalled filling out a census form in seventh grade and not being able to select her race from “white, black, Hispanic, or Asian” because she was in two of them fit.
She ended up leaving the box blank because “that would mean choosing one parent over the other — and one half of me over the other.” The problems that came with being “racially ambiguous” continued into adulthood continued when she couldn’t book roles for certain acting jobs because “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and white enough for the white roles and I went somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”