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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here is a look at the life of the Duchess of Sussex, the former actress Meghan Markle.


Birth date: August 4, 1981

Birth place: Los Angeles, California

Birth name: Rachel Meghan Markle

Father: Thomas Markle, Hollywood lighting director

Mother: Doria Ragland, social worker and yoga instructor

Marriages: Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex (May 19, 2018-present); Trevor Engelson (2011-2013, divorced)

Children: with Prince Harry: Archie Harrison and Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana

Education: Northwestern University, B.A., 2003

Other Facts

First American to marry a British royal since Wallis Simpson, who Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry in 1936.

Her engagement ring was designed by Prince Harry and includes a larger diamond from Botswana and two smaller diamonds from his mother Princess Diana’s collection.

She has been a Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada.

Worked with One Young World, helping the UK charity with their mission to encourage young leaders around the world to make lasting connections and initiate positive change.

She is the first person to hold the title Duchess of Sussex.


2002 – Works at the US embassy in Argentina.

2011-2018 – Stars as “Rachel Zane” in USA Network’s legal drama “Suits.”

March 23, 2015 – Speaks on gender equality at the UN Women’s 20th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference in Beijing and explains how she became an activist at age 11 by writing letters to help create change.

July 2015 – Writes an essay, “I’m More Than An ‘Other,’” for Elle UK on her bi-racial ethnicity.

February 2016 – Travels to Rwanda as the Global Ambassador for World Vision.

Summer 2016 – Begins dating Prince Harry after the two meet for a drink on a blind date, set up by a mutual friend.

November 8, 2016 – Prince Harry releases a statement regarding his relationship with Markle, asking for the negativity and harassment to cease.

March 8, 2017 – Markle writes a piece for Time magazine about menstruation in poverty-stricken nations, that in order “to break the cycle of poverty, and to achieve economic growth and sustainability in developing countries, young women need access to education.”

September 25, 2017 – Markle and Prince Harry make their first public appearance as a couple at the Invictus Games in Toronto.

November 27, 2017 – Prince Charles announces the couple’s engagement.

December 1, 2017 – Markle and Prince Harry attend their first official royal event together at a fair organized by the HIV/AIDS Terrence Higgins Trust charity, marking World AIDS Day.

December 15, 2017 – Kensington Palace announces that Prince Harry and Markle will be married on May 19, 2018.

February 28, 2018 – Attends the “Make a Difference Together” forum for the Royal Foundation in her first appearance alongside Prince William, Duchess Catherine and Prince Harry.

March 12, 2018 – Makes first appearance with Queen Elizabeth II for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.

March 14, 2018 – Queen Elizabeth II issues the declaration of consent to the marriage of Prince Harry and Markle.

May 18, 2018 – It is announced the Meghan Markle will walk unescorted down the aisle. She will be the first royal bride in the UK to do so.

May 19, 2018 – Marries Prince Harry at St. George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle and becomes Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex.

May 25, 2018 – The Coat of Arms created for the Duchess is released.

January 10, 2019 – Announces the four charities that she will support as a patron: the National Theatre, which aims to make theatre available to everyone; the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the world’s first and oldest international university network; Smart Works, which helps long-term unemployed and vulnerable women find work; and Mayhew, which works to improve animal welfare. The patronages for the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities have been passed on to the Duchess by Queen Elizabeth II.

March 8, 2019 – It is announced that the Duchess will become vice president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. A statement from Kensington Palace reads “in this new role, The Duchess will highlight the Trust’s partnerships with young people across the Commonwealth, and in particular its work supporting women and girls.”

May 6, 2019 – Gives birth to the couple’s first child, a son weighing 7 lbs., 3 oz. The baby is named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

October 1, 2019 – It is announced that the Duchess is suing the Mail on Sunday newspaper, alleging that it illegally published a private letter to her father, as Harry denounces the ‘bullying’ British media through an online statement, accusing the Mail on Sunday of selectively editing the letter to disguise “lies” the paper had told about the Duchess – a claim that the tabloid specifically denies. In February 2021, the judge in the case issues a summary judgment in favor of Meghan.

January 8, 2020 – Harry and Meghan announce that they are stepping back from their roles as senior members of the British royal family and plan to work toward becoming “financially independent” and to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

January 18, 2020 – The Queen issues a statement announcing that Harry and Meghan will no longer be working members of the royal family. Along with stepping away from official royal duties and ceasing the use of public funds, the couple will no longer use the titles of His and Her Royal Highness.

March 9, 2020 – Harry and Meghan attend the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. This is their final engagement as senior members of the royal family.

March 26, 2020 – Disneynature announces that Meghan will be the narrator for the documentary “Elephants.” This will be Meghan’s first role since stepping back from the royal family.

July 23, 2020 – It is announced that Harry and Meghan are suing over paparazzi photographs of their son, Archie. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are filing this lawsuit to protect their young son’s right to privacy in their home without intrusion by photographers,” lawyer Michael Kump said in a statement. In October, they receive an apology and X17, the agency responsible, agrees to pay a portion of their legal fees.

September 2, 2020 – Harry and Meghan sign a multiyear production deal with Netflix.

February 17, 2021 – Buckingham Palace announces that Harry and Meghan have agreed with Queen Elizabeth II that they will not be returning as working members of the British royal family.

March 7, 2021 – Meghan and Harry’s highly-anticipated sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey airs. Over the course of the two-hour special, the couple is intensely critical of the way Britain’s Royal institution treated them, and say the couple had no option but to leave royal life.

June 4, 2021 – Gives birth to a daughter, the second child for the couple. The baby is named Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor and was born at 11:40 a.m., weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces.

June 8, 2021 – Meghan’s children’s book “The Bench,” inspired by her husband and son Archie, is published.

August 4, 2021 – Launches 40×40, a mentorship program to support women getting back into the workforce after the pandemic.

December 2, 2021 – Meghan is awarded £1 by a British appeals court, which upholds the lower court’s 2021 ruling for Meghan in her privacy lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday newspaper which published a letter from the duchess to her father. She is also awarded an unspecified amount for copyright infringement.

August 23, 2022 – Meghan’s podcast, “Archetypes,” debuts on Spotify. Her first guest on the podcast is Serena Williams.

June 16, 2023 – A joint statement is released announcing the end of a multi-year partnership between Spotify and Harry and Meghan’s company, Archewell Audio.

February 13, 2024 – Lemonada Media issues a press release revealing Meghan will launch a new, yet-to-be-announced podcast. Lemonada will also stream “Archetypes,” Meghan’s podcast that debuted in 2022 on Spotify.

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