27 November 2017

An American Princess for Harry

The Prince of Wales has announced the much-anticipated engagement of his youngest son Prince Harry to his American girlfriend, Megan Markle. Born on the late Queen Mother's 81st birthday (Aug. 4, 1981) in Los Angeles, Meghan comes from a family of divorce like her future husband. She is three years older than Harry.

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Meghan graduated from a Catholic high school in LA before completing a bachelor's degree in theater and international studies. She launched a career as a model and actress appearing in several small parts before landing a role as a series regular on the show Suits, which films in Toronto, in 2011. For the last seven years, she has lived in Canada for work while moving back home to Los Angeles during hiatus.

Never a member of tabloid celebrity set, she instead focused her energy on the kinds of charitable activities that have helped prepare her well for her future job as a member of the British Royal Family. She has championed causes from safe drinking water in Africa to gender equality to antislavery issues.

Previously, Meghan was in a nine-year relationship with film producer Trevor Engelson, including two years of marriage, which ended in 2013. She and Harry met through a mutual friend in the summer of 2016. They were able to keep their rapidly developing romance a secret for several months before the news broke about a year ago. At that time, Harry responded with a strongly worded statement against the harassment that she, her family and friends began receiving from the media and others. Some of the nastiness she endured was due to people's objections to prince dating a "black" woman. Meghan is of mixed Caucasian and African American heritage. She actually will be the second person of color to marry into the British Royal Family: Harry's cousin Lady Davina Windsor has been married to Gary Lewis, a New Zealander of Maori ancestry for 13 years. In the engagement interview, Meghan commented that it is a shame that people would focus on ethnicity or wish to discriminate. She said, "I'm really just proud of who I am and where I come from."

The ring was designed by Prince Harry in yellow gold, which he said was her favorite. It features a large cushion-cut diamond sourced from Botswana, where they camped under the stars early in their relationship. The smaller diamond on either side comes from Diana Princess of Wales' personal collection. Harry wanted to the ring to help ensure that Diana was part of the celebration.

No wedding details have been released yet except that the wedding will take place in spring 2018. If Meghan is in the UK on a fiancee visa, as many speculate, they must wed within six months of her visa. It is hard to know when she officially moved to London (certainly within the last two weeks) because she has been living with Harry at Nottingham Cottage of Kensington Palace for many months, whenever she was not working on her television program.

In the engagement interview, Meghan confirmed that she has ended her acting career, but doesn't look at it as losing anything. Instead, she looks forward to be able to work more intently on the causes that are important to her. (Harry also revealed that although the Queen's corgis have been barking at him all of his life that they just love Meghan.)

For more about her possible future, view my post FAQs about Prince Harry's Future Wife.
For other royal engagement announcements, view my post Royal Engagements.

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