When she was 15, Meghan Markle posed happily in front of Buckingham Palace with a friend during an overseas trip to the UK. Little did she know that 23 years later she would be giving birth to a child who is seventh-in-line to the British throne.
Meghan is an unusual addition to the Royal Family because she isn’t British, she isn’t part of the aristocracy and she was a working woman prior to meeting Harry. As we wait for the arrival of Baby Sussex, let’s find out more about Meghan’s own childhood. Where did she grow up and how did she spend her time? Read on to find out more.
Who are Meghan Markle’s parents?
Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland met on the set of ABC’s ‘General Hospital’ when he worked as a lighting technician and she was training as a makeup artist.
“In 1990, Meghan’s father won a £500,000 lottery card, which he used to help pay Meghan’s school fees.”
The couple married in 1979 and Doria gave birth to Rachel Meghan Markle on 4th August 1981. Her parents separated when she was two and divorced when Meghan was six, but they remained on good terms.
When Meghan was a child, her mother worked as a yoga instructor (which gave the future Duchess her own love of fitness) and social worker, while her father continued to work on TV sets.
As a bi-racial child, Meghan wasn’t always sure where she fitted in. During interviews, Meghan recalls filling in a school form which asked her whether she was black or white and she wasn’t sure which one to tick. When she spoke to her father about it, he said: “If that happens again, you draw your own box.”
Meghan’s parents wanted to make sure the toys she played with reflected the way her family looked: at the time you could only buy a white family doll set or a black family doll set, so her parents bought both and merged them together to create a mixed-race family.
When Meghan was 10, her father worked on the set of ‘Married.. With children’. Meghan spent a lot of time at the set after school and would often help out in the craft services room, where her father would send her to avoid seeing the racier scenes.
Meghan always had a taste for the theatrical. When she was seven, she dressed up as Elvira, a popular gothic 80’s character, for halloween. She also performed in several school productions at both elementary and high school, including the role of Jocasta in Oedipus Rex when she was a teenager.
Meghan: the child activist
Meghan was never afraid to speak up for what she believed in. When she was 10, Meghan organised an anti-war demonstration with classmates protesting the Gulf War after a boy in her year burst into tears because he was worried about an older brother serving in the army.
“I was called the nerd: bookworm, gap in my teeth, crazy hair, peg legs.”
A year later, Meghan was angered by a Proctor & Gamble advert which had the rather dismissive tagline: women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.
She was angry that the company had assumed washing up was a woman’s job, and wrote letters voicing her complaints to influential women including the then first lady Hilary Clinton and news anchor Linda Ellerbee. Meghan also wrote a letter of complaint to Proctor & Gamble themselves.
The company did not respond but a month later they changed the tagline to: People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.
Meghan, who carved out a good career in TV and film before marrying into the Royal Family, was working from a young age. She briefly worked in a frozen yogurt store called Humphrey Yogart in Beverly Hills as a teenager and volunteered at The Hospitality Kitchen in L.A’s infamous Skid Row when she was 13.
Meghan at school
Meghan grew up as a ‘normal’ girl who lived in a house rather than a palace, but her childhood was fairly affluent as they go.
She alternated between living with her mother in the leafy suburbs of Los Angeles and her father’s apartment in Hollywood from when she was 11 until she left for college.
In 1990, Meghan’s father won a £500,000 lottery card, which he used to help pay Meghan’s school fees. Meghan attended the private Little Red Schoolhouse and later Heart High School, with fees of around $15,900 a year.
Meghan says she wasn’t always comfortable at school: “I was called the nerd: bookworm, gap in my teeth, crazy hair, peg legs,” she told Elle Canada. “Even through high school I never fully felt as though I fitted in—finding myself as a biracial girl teetering in between groups.”
“I remember busying myself and being the president of every club,” she continued telling Elle, “ not because I actually wanted to, but because I didn’t want to eat alone at lunchtime. This overachiever mask I wore was really just the way I battled feeling displaced.” Despite feeling out of place, Meghan was popular enough to be voted homecoming queen for her school prom.
Outside of school, Meghan spent time travelling the world with her mother. Visiting poor areas of Jamaica would later inspire the future Duchess to take on charity work in impoverished areas.
The royal baby
As someone who is neither an aristocrat or British, Meghan brings new experiences and perspectives to the Royal Family which is likely to influence how her child is raised. How Baby Sussex will be raised remains to be seen but we are excited to see what the future holds for this young, happy family!
Find out more about Meghan Markle on True Royalty TV.