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AFP
March 8, 2021

Meghan Markle: from TV actress to royal duchess

World

AFP
March 8, 2021

Meghan Markle has experienced remarkable highs and lows during a tumultuous period in which she married into royalty and became a mother before souring on life in Britain and returning to the United States.

The 39-year-old American former television actress shot to global stardom with her engagement to Prince Harry in 2017 and their fairytale wedding six months later. She gave birth to their son, Archie, in 2019.

While initially hailed as a breath of fresh air for the stuffy royal family, it gradually became clear she was struggling to cope with the strictures and scrutiny of royal life in Britain.

The couple announced they wanted to step back from their frontline duties at the start of 2020, then permanently relocated to Los Angeles in a move dubbed "Megxit". She and Harry have since signed exclusive deals with streaming giants Spotify and Netflix, which recently launched the latest series of its hit series "The Crown", focusing on Diana.

They have launched a non-profit, which they say focuses on compassionate community building. Meghan also wrote a frank piece in The New York Times in November last year about having a miscarriage after Archie’s birth.

But on Valentine’s Day this year, the couple released a relaxed-looking picture to announce they are expecting another child. The couple -- rarely seen apart -- have sought the limelight on their own terms, while fighting for their right to privacy.

Last month, Meghan won a court victory against Associated Newspapers, which owns the Daily Mail, after it published a letter she wrote to her estranged father without her permission. But beyond a slew of court cases, it is an escalating war of words between the couple and the royal family that has gripped attention -- closing the door for good on any possible return.

Buckingham Palace announced in February that they had permanently quit royal life and would lose honorary appointments and patronages. Rachel Meghan Markle was born in Los Angeles in 1981 to Thomas Markle, a white, Emmy Award-winning TV lighting director, and Doria Ragland, a black social worker and yoga instructor.

On her mother’s side, her ancestors were slaves on cotton plantations in Georgia. Her mother’s surname is taken from a slave owner. Meghan’s parents separated when she was two and divorced five years later. She is now estranged from her father and his other children, her older half-sister and half-brother. Before her May 2018 wedding, her father took part in staged paparazzi photos, then suffered chest pains and needed heart surgery, causing him to miss her big day.