The actress featured in a Vanity Fair spread. Image: Instagram/Vanity Fair
With the much-anticipated engagement between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced this week, here’s what we know about the soon-to-be royal.
Markle, 36, is three years older than Prince Harry, 33.
Meghan is not her first name. Like many actors and entertainers, Markle opted to go by her middle name instead of her first. Her full name is actually Rachel Meghan Markle, according to Billboard.
The pair are said to have been dating for about 18 months, starting with two back-to-back dates in London last July, followed four weeks later by a romantic holiday to Botswana.
Violet von Westenholz, one of Prince Harry’s oldest friends, is thought to be the mystery matchmaker who set the royal up with his bride-to-be, The Sun reported.
Markle’s engagement ring is yellow gold, with a large central stone Prince Harry sourced from Botswana. The two smaller diamonds are from Princess Diana’s jewellery collection, “to make sure that she’s with us on this – on this crazy journey together,” Prince Harry said.
Prince Harry proposed to the American actress in their Kensington palace cottage, while they were cooking roast chicken on a recent Sunday evening.
The wedding will take place at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle in May 2018.
The choice of Windsor Castle as the wedding venue is said to be because it’s where Markle first got to know the Queen. It’s also where Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony in 2005.
Prince Harry chose the May date to ensure that his grandfather, Prince Philip, would be able to be there, fit and healthy.
The royal family will pay for the wedding, including the church service, music, flowers and decorations for the marriage ceremony. The wedding plans will be personally arranged by Prince Harry and Meghan, The Mirror reported.
Markel has already moved to the UK. They will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace, a stone’s throw away from where Prince William and Kate Middleton live.
The Mirror says that Markel is expected to become a fully-fledged British citizen before the marriage takes place, and she intends to retain her US citizenship. In addition.
Currently identifying as Protestant, Markle will be baptised prior to getting married, The Telegraph reported.
It’s unlikely that Markle will become a princess after she and Prince Harry marry, because as a general rule, only those born into the royal family can use the title Prince or Princess, followed by their first name. According to the ABC, Princess Diana was granted her title because Prince Charles was the Prince of Wales, allowing Diana to become the Princess of Wales. Even though she was referred to Princess Diana, it was not her official title.
It is likely that Meghan will become a duchess, but this will depend on whether the Queen gives Prince Harry a dukedom when the pair are married. There is speculation that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is the most likely option for the couple’s royal titles, according to the ABC.
Markel is a United Nations advocate for women, and delivered a talk to a UN Women’s conference in 2015. She was also the Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada in 2016.
Prince Harry has an estimated wealth of nearly A$72 million (£40 million), while his bride-to-be is worth some A$7.2 million (£4 million), according to the Daily Mail.
News.com.au reported that an old friend of Markle’s has said that the she “was always fascinated by the royal family’’…and hopes “to be Princess Diana 2.0’’.
The former Suits star was married for two years to Hollywood produce Trevor Engelson. The divorced quietly in 2013.
She used to run a lifestyle website called The Tig. She launched the food, travel, fashion and beauty digital publication in 2014. While she closed the blog down in April – and stopped posting on her Instagram account, @meghanmarkle, she still has a formidable following of 2.5 million on the social media site.
She told Good Housekeeping that she used to work as a professional calligrapher, writing for weddings and events. It was her side job while she was auditioning on the road to stardom.
With such a diverse background and life experience, how do you think Meghan will settle into royal life?