Meghan Markle is one of the world's most famous faces—this is her journey from child campaigner to Duchess of Sussex

Meghan Markle made her name before marrying Prince Harry—and has never stopped standing up for what she believes in

Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Future/Getty Images)

We shine a spotlight on powerful and inspiring women like Meghan Markle to tell you more about their daily lives and most relatable moments. Our in-depth profiles cover everything from how these women juggle work and play, to their most important relationships, and the pearls of wisdom they have to offer other women—with no detail spared.

The past five years have seen Meghan Markle become one of the most famous women in the world. She's gone from a relatively unknown actor in Suits to the woman who finally stole Prince Harry's heart and the Duchess of Sussex all in just a matter of years—and it's safe to say it's been quite the adjustment for Meghan. 

Having been catapulted into the spotlight back in 2016 when she first began dating Prince Harry, to being harassed so badly by the media in those first few months that Prince Harry had to put out a statement asking for the "wave of abuse and harassment" she suffered to end, it hasn't been an easy journey for Meghan. 

And, although it feels like just months ago that we watched Meghan glide down the aisle at Windsor Castle looking flawless in Givenchy (our article will remind you how resplendent Meghan Markle's wedding dress was), it's actually been three years. And a lot has happened since that fateful day. The pair have re-located to a $14 million mansion in Santa Barbara, had two children, stepped back from royal duties and made it their mission to rectify mistruths about the royal family in one very explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey. So where does that leave Meghan Markle? Is she still a Duchess? Has she ever been a Princess? We have your questions, answered.

What is Meghan Markle's real name?

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

(Image credit: Photo by Owen Humphries - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, Meghan isn't actually her real name, but her middle name. Meghan was born Rachel Meghan Markle and given that name by her father, Thomas Markle, and mother, Doria Ragland.

Oddly enough, Rachel was also the name of her character in Suits—the show that shot her to fame when she joined in 2011 before Meghan quit Suits in 2018. 

Despite not going by the name Rachel anymore, that was the name used during the royal wedding ceremony back in 2018 as it was the moniker used by the Queen in the official letter giving consent to the marriage.

Rachel is also listed on Meghan's daughter Lilibet's birth certificate. It's unclear why Meghan stopped going by Rachel, but from previous interviews, it seems she's always been a Meg or Meghan to her parents. 

If that wasn't confusing enough, Meghan now has an even longer name thanks to all her titles. She is officially called Her Royal Highness Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, Countess of Dumbarton, and Baroness Kilkeel, though she and Harry turned down the Earl of Dumbarton title for Archie, fearing he would get bullied. 

How old is Meghan Markle?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey

(Image credit: Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Meghan was born on 4 August 1981, making her 40. The Duchess celebrated the milestone birthday with a low-key party and launched a special 40x40 campaign to mark the special day. In a special video featuring Prince Harry and Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy, Meghan asked women to donate 40 minutes of their time offering acts of service to honor her 40th birthday. 

"Amongst the most valuable gifts of time is also time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change," she revealed. "To that last point, and with my 40th lap around the sun in mind, it made me wonder: what would happen if we all committed 40 minutes to helping someone else or to mentoring someone in need? And then what would happen if we asked our friends to do the same?" 

Meghan continued, "I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength, and for my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women re-entering the workforce."

How tall is Meghan Markle?

Meghan is 5ft 6in, according to a previous acting resume that re-surfaced after she joined the royal family, which is 2 inches taller than the average British woman, who is around 5ft 4in.

To put Meghan's height into royal context, Prince Harry is just above 6ft and the Duchess of Cambridge is 5ft 9in—meaning she's taller than Meghan by around five inches. 

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships

(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty)

Who are Meghan Markle's parents?


Gillian Anderson has everyone baffled with her accent

Holly Willoughby's net worth is very impressive

● You might be surprised by Gwen Stefani's age

Meghan was born in Los Angeles to Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland—two years after the couple tied the knot after meeting at a television studio, where Thomas worked as a lighting director. The couple split when Meghan was just six years old. After the split, Meghan spent most of her time with her mother, but regularly saw her father on the weekends. Thomas went on to live in Mexico and Doria—a yoga instructor and psychotherapist—remained in Los Angeles. 

Meghan and her father were on good terms up until the royal wedding in 2018 when he was forced to pull out of the ceremony at the last minute after undergoing heart surgery and Prince Charles stepped in to walk Meghan down the aisle. Meghan Markle's wedding dress was designed by acclaimed British designer Clare Waight Keller, the first female artistic director at Givenchy, with a delicately embroidered veil and a tiara loaned to her by Her Majesty herself. 

Prince Charles

(Image credit: Getty)

Just days before the wedding it was revealed Thomas Markle had been found staging photos with the paparazzi. Since then, Meghan's relationship with her father has continued to deteriorate and it is thought she is no longer in contact with him. Thomas has since claimed the Palace has "cut him off".

Back in 2018, he told the Daily Mail, "I used to have a phone number and text number for her personal aides at the Palace. “But after I said a few critical words about the Royal Family changing Meghan, they cut me off.”

See more

While Thomas is still hopeful for a reconciliation, palace insiders say the relationship is beyond repair. "Meghan was understandably devastated when her father began giving interviews and their relationship has clearly suffered," a source told new! magazine. "But she has learned to rise above the comments. She has to. Too much has been said and Meghan wants to focus on the future rather than dwell on the past. It's all been very hard."

It is thought to be unlikely that Thomas Markle will meet Meghan's daughter Lilibet in the near future.

Although Meghan's relationship with her father is strained, to say the least, she is still very close with her mother. And thinks of her as a "best friend". Describing Doria, Meghan previously said, "My mum's a yoga instructor, but she does social work, as well, and she works specifically with the geriatric community. 

"For me to watch this level of life-long sensitivity to nurturing and caregiving, but at the same time, my mum has always been a free spirit. She's got dreadlocks and a nose ring. She just ran the LA Marathon. We can just have so much fun together, and yet, I'll still find so much solace in her support. That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend."

Ben Stansall

(Image credit: Ben Stansall/Alamy)

Thankfully, Prince Harry is also a huge fan of Doria, which means she is incredibly involved with family life now that the couple lives in the US. Harry and Meghan's Santa Barbara mansion in Montecito is just a few hours' drive from Doria's LA property, meaning she's in close proximity when it comes to childcare. On their blossoming relationship, royal commentator, Jenny Bond, recently said, "Harry seems to have an absolutely brilliant relationship with Doria, there’s no doubt that Meghan and Doria are closer geographically, physically and perhaps emotionally as well than they ever have been.”

On how Doria helps out around the house, she added, "Doria apparently enjoys feeding wee Archie organic food and she’s also a trained yoga instructor as well. I have these visions of them doing baby yoga together, so I think he’s definitely a very cool, Californian baby.”

Doria Ragland

(Image credit: Getty)

Who are Meghan Markle's siblings?

Meghan has two older half-siblings—Thomas Jr and Samantha. Meghan's father, Thomas Markle, had been married previously to Roslyn Markle and the pair had two children together. However, none of the extended family were invited to the royal wedding and relations have been tense ever since. Despite having not seen her sister since 2008, Samantha has spoken openly about her disgust for Meghan, previously telling Radar, “The Royal Family would be appalled by what she’s done to her own family. 

“The truth would kill her relationship with Prince Harry, he wouldn’t want to date her anymore because it puts her in a bad public light.” She even wrote an entire book on the subject called The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister. Meghan's brother also claimed he "warned" Prince Harry about his sister ahead of appearing on Big Brother Australia VIP.

Thankfully palace insiders say the Duchess "doesn't care" what her estranged sister has to say, despite her regular public outbursts. "Meghan doesn't care about what Samantha says. She truly tries to rise above it and not let it bother her, as they haven't had a relationship for years," a source told new! magazine. "Meghan doesn't read or pay attention to anything her father or half-sister says to the press, nor does her team."

Is Meghan Markle a Princess?

With her half-sister's book called The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister, you may be wondering whether Meghan is actually a princess—and the answer is yes, although it's not quite that simple.

Meghan is rarely referred to as a princess, which is why it caused confusion among royal fans when her occupation was listed as "Princess of the United Kingdom" on the birth certificate of her children. Royal titles have a habit of being rather confusing and Meghan is a princess by marriage, not by birth which is why she doesn't take the title Princess before her name and is instead commonly known as The Duchess of Sussex. When Meghan married into the royal family and tied the knot with Prince Harry, Meghan became a Princess, in a similar way that Kate Middleton and Sophie Wessex also became Princesses. The likes of Princess Anne and Princess Charlotte were born into that title by blood. 

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex travel in an Ascot Landau carriage

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Is Meghan Markle still a Duchess?

Many people ask are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle still royal? And the answer is yes. Although Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the controversial decision to step back as senior royals back in 2020, the pair remain the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Despite much conversation as to whether the couple—who have since landed several lucrative deals with the likes of Netflix and Spotify—should have their royal titles removed by the Queen, they remain much loved members of the family and are therefore still entitled to keep the titles they were given by the Queen on their wedding day.

Though Prince Harry is said to feel "torn" between the royal family and Meghan, the couple will still be welcomed by the Queen at Windsor Castle. Harry and Meghan and have also received an official invitation to the Queen's jubilee in 2022.

Back in February 2021, they did, however, lose their right to use their HRH titles—Her Royal Highness and His Royal Highness—before their names. A statement from the Palace said, "Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.

"The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family."

Even if Meghan and Harry split up in the future, Meghan would still be entitled to use the Duchess of Sussex title up until the day she remarried, in a similar way that Princess Diana remained the Princess of Wales and Sarah Ferguson remains the Duchess of York. 

What is Meghan Markle's net worth?

Back in 2019 Forbes estimated Meghan Markle's net worth was approximately $2.2 million (£1.6 million) following her success on Suits. It is thought the Duchess earned an average of $57,500 (£42,000) per episode. 

Since breaking away from the royal family and aiming to become financially independent, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are thought to be worth approximately $60 million (£44 million) thanks to their recent deals with Netflix, as well as Harry and Meghan's Spotify podcast. 

Having quit royal life to pursue a more private life in America, the royals raised eyebrows with their decision to pursue deals with Netflix and Spotify. Prince Harry later claimed his father, the Prince of Wales, cut them off financially following their decision to quit royal life and said he had no other choice but to invest in their new celebrity status in order to protect the savings he has from his late mother.

UNSPECIFIED - UNSPECIFIED: In this handout image provided by Harpo Productions and released on March 5, 2021, Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on A CBS Primetime Special premiering on CBS on March 7, 2021. (Photo by Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images)

(Image credit: Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images)

In that bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry said, "We didn’t have a plan. [The Netflix deal] was suggested by somebody else by the point of where my family literally cut me off financially, and I had to afford security for us. [They cut me off] In the first quarter of 2020. But I've got what my mum left me, and, without that, we would not have been able to do this.”

A Clarence House spokesperson responded to the claims with a statement that read, “As we'll all remember in January 2020 when the Duke and Duchess announced that they were going to move away from the working royal family, the Duke said that they would work towards becoming financially independent. The Prince of Wales allocated a substantial sum to support them with this transition. That funding ceased in the summer of last year, and the couple are now financially independent."

Was Meghan Markle on Deal or No Deal?

Yes. Before landing the role of Rachel Zane on Suits, Meghan was a briefcase girl on the US version of Deal or No Deal from 2006-2007. Unlike the UK version of Deal or No Deal, previously hosted by Noel Edmonds, the amounts of money are stored in briefcases, each held by a model. Meghan held box number 24 during her time on Deal or No Deal. Other celebrities to have appeared on the show include John Legend's wife Chrissy Teigen, Selling Sunset star Amanza Smith and America's Next Top Model star Anchal Joseph. 

What films has Meghan Markle been in?

Prior to her life-changing role on Suits, Meghan had small roles in some very well-known movies. So small, you may not remember seeing her. In 2005, Meghan played Natalie in A Lot Like Love—a romantic comedy with Ashton Kutcher. She is listed as "Hot Girl" on IMDB. Fast forward to 2011 and Meghan starred alongside Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman in Horrible Bosses—in which she played a courier girl. 

What did Meghan Markle do when she was younger?

As well as pursuing her career in acting, Meghan has always been an advocate for female rights and was fighting for gender equality at the age of just 11. After seeing an advert that portrayed doing the dishes as a female-only job, Meghan wrote to Hilary Clinton, Linda Ellerby, Gloria Allred, and Proctor & Gamble—the people behind the advert. 

Linda Ellerby, the host of the show Ellerby, explained, "It was absolutely clear that this young woman was strong in her beliefs. It didn't matter that she was 11 years old. She believed in women, she believed in her own power, and she wasn't afraid to reach out and say, 'I want my power, I want my rights.'"

Meghan was later invited onto Nickelodeon to call out the sexist advert. She was just 12 years old at the time. 

What is Meghan Markle's book about?

Meghan Markle recently followed in the footsteps of Sarah Ferguson and turned her hand to writing. 

Meghan penned a children's book named The Bench, which explores father-son relationships through the eyes of mothers. The Bench was inspired by a poem Meghan had written about the bond Prince Harry shares with their son, Archie.

Revealing details behind the book, Meghan said, "The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father's Day, the month after Archie was born. That poem became this story."

She added, "My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the make-up, as much as it does with mine."

Does Meghan Markle have Instagram?

Although the Duchess used to be on social media, she closed her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts in 2018. It is thought her previously-shared content didn't go hand-in-hand with life as a royal. Having been a victim of trolling online, Meghan has since spoken a lot about social media and the impact it is having on our society as a whole. "For my own self-preservation, I have not been on social media for a very long time," she previously said. "I had a personal account years ago, which I closed down, and then we had one through the institution and our office that was in the U.K. that wasn’t managed by us—that was a whole team—and so I think that comes with the territory for the job you have."

Although it served a purpose for Meghan once, she now finds it easier to distance herself from the noise of the internet by not having social media. "I’ve made a personal choice to not have any account, so I don’t know what’s out there, and in many ways that’s helpful for me."

Georgia Farquharson
Georgia Farquharson

Georgia writes across Woman & Home and Good to Know and specialises in all things royal. Previously labelled the "Queen of the royals," Georgia knows the whose who and what's what when it comes to the monarchy. When she's not eagerly following the royal family, Georgia enjoys shopping and self-care. She lives with this motto in mind; "if your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough."