17 Interesting Facts About Meghan Markle’s Life Before She Met Prince Harry

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23 Facts About Meghan Markle's Life Before She Met Prince Harry

Actress, activist, entrepreneur — she may be best known as the Duchess of Sussex now, but before she married Prince Harry and became a mother to baby Archie, Meghan Markle led an accomplished, busy life in her own right.

Though she was best known as an actress — most prominently as Rachel Zane in the American legal drama Suits — before she married into the royal family, Meghan also had plenty of other items in her long list of accomplishments before earning her royal title, including a double major in theatre and international studies, a job as a freelance calligrapher, and a successful lifestyle blog! And if you’re wondering what else the Duchess was up to before finding her fairytale romance, here’s what Meghan Markle’s life was really like before she met Prince Harry:

She was a self-described California girl.

Born and raised in L.A., Meghan had a decidedly more relaxed childhood than her fiancé. Her given name was actually Rachel Meghan Markle, meaning she shares a first name with her Suits character.

Meghan has two half-siblings from her dad’s previous marriage but didn’t see them much as they were more than a decade older than her.

She got into TV early on.

Thomas Markle worked as an Emmy award-winning lighting director, and he often would bring his youngest daughter to the set. Meghan attended the private, all-girls Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, so the experience definitely contrasted with her education.

“Every day after school for 10 years, I was on the set of Married … with Children, which is a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up,” she told Esquire in 2013. “There were a lot of times my dad would say, ‘Meg, why don’t you go and help with the craft services room over there? This is just a little off-colour for your 11-year-old eyes.'”

She was a feminist from a young age.

At age 11, Meghan was working on a homework assignment about commercials when she heard an Ivory dishwashing soap ad aimed solely at women. “I don’t think it’s right for kids to grow up thinking these things, that just mom does everything,” she said at the time.

Meghan’s dad encouraged her to write to the most powerful people she could think of, including company representatives, Hillary Clinton, Gloria Allred, and Nick News anchor Linda Ellerbee. It worked: Procter & Gamble changed the slogan from “Women all over America” to “People all over America” a few days later.

She started doing yoga at seven years old.

Thanks to her yoga instructor mom, Meghan’s love of yoga started from an early age. The mother-daughter duo started doing mommy-and-me yoga when Meghan was just seven years old. “I was very resistant as a kid, but she said, ‘Flower, you will find your practice – just give it time,'” Meghan told Best Health Magazine. “In college, I started doing it more regularly.” She’s now an avid fan, and does yoga regularly to stay in shape!

At one point she considered going into politics.

Ever ambitious, Meghan also secured an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina during her junior year. “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,” she told Marie Claire in 2013. “I thought for sure I would still have a career in politics.”

She was on Deal or No Deal — but she hated it.

Facts About Meghan Markle's Life Before She Met Prince Harry

Although she booked her first audition while still in college, Meghan dealt with the turbulence of the industry just like anyone else. She told Marie Claire she did a pilot every season before Suits. While auditioning for shows, she once worked as a briefcase girl on the game show Deal or No Deal.

“I was the ill-fated number 26, which for some reason no one would ever choose,” she told Esquire in 2013. “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.”

You can see her in movies like Horrible Bosses.

Other acting credits include the movies Get Him to the Greek, Remember Me, and The Candidate. She also appeared on the TV shows General Hospital (which was actually her very first on-screen appearance ever!), CSI: NY, 90210, The LeagueCastle, and of course, seven seasons of Suits.

Meghan’s most recent work was a voice-over narration role in the Disney nature documentary titled Elephant, benefitting the organization Elephants Without Borders, which was also her first project after her and Prince Harry’s decision to step back from the royal family.

She made extra money doing calligraphy.

This side gig she actually liked. “I think handwritten notes are a lost art form,” she told Good Housekeeping in 2016. Apparently she “always had a propensity for getting the cursive down pretty well” and managed to book jobs like Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s wedding invitations and Dolce & Gabbana’s celebrity holiday correspondence.

She was married once before.

Facts About Meghan Markle's Life Before She Met Prince Harry

Meghan met her first husband, producer Trevor Engelson, in 2004. They dated for six years before tying the knot in Jamaica during a four-day beach wedding celebration. Not long afterwards, Meghan left Los Angeles to film her breakthrough role in Toronto. Anonymous sources claim that long-distance relationship at the start of their marriage contributed to their divorce in 2013.

Canada became her second home.

When Suits got picked up, her role as paralegal Rachel Zane helped vault Meghan’s star status. Since the filming took place in Toronto, she spent about eight months of the year in Canada — hence why she’s called herself an “adopted Canuck.”

The actress rented a modest three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the Seaton Village neighbourhood during her time there, and became friends with Toronto “royalty.” Her circle included power couple Jessica and Ben Mulroney, the former a fashion adviser to Justin Trudeau’s wife and the latter the son of a former PM himself.

Her Suits cast members used to hang out all night.

Facts About Meghan Markle's Life Before She Met Prince Harry

Meghan told Esquire that everyone on Suits was really close, spending holiday weekends at Patrick J. Adams’s vacation home on the Georgian Bay. “Off-camera, there we are just playing Apples to Apples and drinking Scotch into the wee hours of the night,” she added.

17 Interesting Facts About Meghan Markle's Life Before She Met Prince Harry

She published a lifestyle blog called “The Tig.”

The royals avoid publicly endorsing anything outside of their philanthropic endeavours, but before she became a Duchess, Meghan used to share her thoughts on food, travel, fashion, and beauty via her former lifestyle blog “The Tig.” The posts ran the gamut from recipes to celeb interviews to “an insider’s guide to London” during its three-year lifespan. Visit the homepage now and you can still see Meghan’s sweet goodbye message to her readers.

She’s a total foodie.

Facts About Meghan Markle's Life Before She Met Prince Harry

Meghan has dubbed herself a foodie in multiple interviews, even writing a blog post dedicated to her favourite dishes. On the list? Green juice, fish tacos, chicken adobo, cioppino, and kale chips. The home chef also loves “an Ina Garten–level roasted chicken recipe.” It’s rumoured that’s what she made with Prince Harry when he proposed!

And she LOVES wine.

Facts About Meghan Markle's Life Before She Met Prince Harry

“At the end of a long day, there is nothing I enjoy more than a glass of wine,” Meghan wrote on a Today blog post. “I used to be of the ‘it doesn’t matter, so long as it’s red’ persuasion, but then I grew up, and so did my palate.” The red wine Tignanello even inspired the name of her old blog.

She designed clothes on the side.

Meghan kept up with several jobs. Besides covering travel, food, fashion, and beauty on ‘The Tig,” the career woman also had a side hustle with Canadian clothing brand Reitmans, becoming a brand ambassador for the brand in 2015 and putting out a collection with the label in 2016.

She spent a ton of time volunteering.

Facts About Meghan Markle's Life Before She Met Prince Harry

Before her official biography before her philanthropic efforts with the royal family, Meghan helped in soup kitchens in Los Angeles and Toronto. She also worked with the youth empowerment nonprofit One Young World, the UN’s Women’s Political Participation and Leadership initiative, and World Vision’s humanitarian organisation. On a visit to India on behalf of World Vision, Meghan was so struck by her experience she wrote an op-ed published by Time in 2017.

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