The Meghan Markle Biography Is Here & These Are The 13 Most Interesting Stories From The Book
If you are Royally Fascinated with the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, you just might want to pick up the newest book from Andrew Morton: Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, a biography of the actress-turned-future-princess written by the author of the Princess Diana biography Diana: Her True Story.
The book begins with a history of Meghan Markle's family — both the family of her Black mother, Doria Radlan, and white father, Thomas Markle — before delving into the story of Markle's Los Angeles-upbringing, Northwestern University college years, and the move back to L.A., where she spent nearly eight years attempting to make it in Hollywood. She eventually did find her footing — as an activist, an entrepreneur and actress — and she gave it all up to marry Prince Harry and start a new chapter of her life as a member of the royal Family. Morton's biography contains few details that haven't already been revealed in the press, but it does present a portrait of a compassionate, generous, and intelligent woman who seems determined to use her new position of prominence to continue the missions that defined her life prior to meeting Prince Harry.
"The word vulnerable does not immediately spring to mind when assessing Meghan's many splendid qualities," Morton writes near the end of the book. "Empathetic, certainly but also self-possessed, sophisticated, and poised, equally at home on a podium making a speech or on a photo shoot. She is a flag bearer for a new generation of confident, assertive women, determined to kick through the glass ceiling."
Here are 13 of the most interesting revelations from the book:
Her Family Nicknames Are Extremely Cute
According to biographer Andrew Morton, Rachel Meghan Markle is better known as "Bud" and "Flower" by her family.
She & Her Half-Sister Samantha (Formerly Yvonne) Have A Tense Relationship
According to Morton, Markle and her half-sister, Samantha Grant — formerly Yvonne Markle — have had an extremely tense relationship since childhood.
As Morton describes it, Grant never took kindly to Markle's mother. When her father, Tom Senior., first began dating Markle's mother, Doria, Grant "dismissed the presence of her father's African American girlfriend, referring to her, according to her brother as 'the maid,'" Morton adds: "Her best friend, now a successful Realtor, doesn't recall [Grant] using that language, and even if she did she ascribes it to her sour Chicago sense of humor. Nonetheless, [Grant] was not, as her mother recalls, a particularly tolerant young woman."
The relationship never seems to have improved. Grant, who is writing an autobiography titled The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister — has been outspoken in her criticisms of her sister.
Morton writes that "Samantha and Meghan never gelled as children; as adults they could have been living on different planets. Meghan wanted nothing to do with her." Reportedly, following Markle's engagement to Prince Harry, her father passed along her phone number to Grant. She sent Markle a text message saying that if she wanted to resume their connection, she would be happy to advise her. "Meghan was furious," Morton writes. "Samantha was the last person she wanted advice from. Meghan's mother, Doria, called her ex-husband and tore into him, telling him to never give out Meghan's private telephone number again."
Her Mother Was Reportedly Mistaken As The Nanny On More Than One Occassion
As a biracial woman, Meghan Markle is no stranger to racism. Morton writes that her mother, a Black woman, faced countless acts of racism while raising her daughter.
"Though it was not Tom's [her father's] fault, they were living in a predominantly white neighborhood where, because of her dark skin and Meghan's light skin, people thought Doria was the nanny," Morton writes. "They often stopped her and asked, quite innocently, where the baby's mother lived. It was a petty humiliation that she could do without."
She's Always Been An Activist
Meghan Markle is described in the biography as a young woman with a "strong sense of right and wrong." Morton writes that as a 10-year-old, Markle took part in classroom discussions about the beating of Rodney Kin, the Gulf War, and the presidential contest between Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. "During one classroom discussion about the looming war in the Gulf, a fellow pupil was in tears because he didn't think his older brother, who was serving in the US military, would make it home" Morton writes. "The issue became such a hot topic that the children, led by Meghan, staged a protest on the school grounds."
A year later, at age 11, Markle wrote a letter of complaint to Procter & Gamble regarding a commercial for dishwashing liquid that used the tagline: "Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans."
But she didn't just write Procter & Gamble — she wrote to First Lady Hillary Clinton, lawyer Gloria Allred, and Nick News anchor Linda Ellerbee about the problem. Clinton and Ellerbee sent letters of support in return, but she never heard from the company, although they did change the tagline from "women" to "people."
After this, she joined the Washington-based National Organization for Women, which, Morton writes, "became one of the youngest if not the youngest member of the group."
This early activism sets the stage for a lifetime of humanitarian work. Markle has worked on behalf of numerous charities and internationally organizations, including One Young World, the USO, World Vision Canada, and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
Morton Writes That She's Always Wanted To Be Diana 2.0
Like most American girls who grew up on a steady stream of Disney princess movies, Meghan Markle was reportedly infatuated with Princess Diana, her fiancé's mother. Morton writes that Markle and her friends (along with one billion other people, not an exaggeration) watched the funeral of Diana in Sept. 1997.
Morton adds that Markle was so affected by Diana's life and death that her friend Suzy Ardakani's mother, Sonia, gave her a copy of the biography Diana, Her True Story, which ironically was also written by Andrew Morton.
He writes: "As her childhood friend Ninaki Priddy observed: "She was always fascinated by the royal family. She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0.'"
It Took Her Nearly 8 Years To "Make It" In Hollywood
After graduating from Northwestern University in 2003 with a double degree in theater and international studies, Markle returned to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. She was dating Trevor Engelson, a producer who would later become her husband, and hoped that he could leverage his own success to help her find roles. (He did land her a few small roles.) During this time, she worked as a hostess in a Beverly Hills restaurant, as a gift wrapping teacher at a local store, as a calligrapher (she reportedly wrote the envelopes for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton's wedding), and as a "briefcase model" on Deal or No Deal (alongside model Chrissy Teigen.) She landed a few roles in movies and TV shows, but either the pilots didn't picked up to season, or the role was too small for her to make an impression. It wasn't until 2010 that she landed the role of Rachel Zane in Suits.
She Reportedly Started An Anonymous Blog Called "Working Actress"
During this period of "making it" in Hollywood, Markle reportedly started an anonymous blog in January 2010 called "Working Actress," where she described the "heartbreaking" daily grind of trying to make it in Hollywood. According to Morton, in one post she wrote: "I'm not gonna lie. I've spent many days curled up in bed with a loaf of bread and some wine. A one woman pity party. It's awful and ridiculous."
Sources confirmed to Morton that the blog was written by Markle until 2012, when it mysterious went silent. A year later, Markle founded The Tig as a more formal outlet for her writing and creativity.
Her First Wedding Was Very Different From The Royal Wedding
While filming the first season of Suits, Markle was also in the throes of another major life event: she was getting married to Trevor Engelson at Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios. According to Morton, Markle "delegated the organization to an in-house wedding coordinator." The only thing she worried about was the guest list, the flowers, and the wedding dress. That set-up is certainly very different from her second wedding, which will likely be watched by millions of people.
Markle's marriage to Engelson lasted two years. Distance is reported to be the major factor in determining the separation — Markle lived in Toronto, and Engelson lived in Los Angeles. However, Morton writes that the divorce was " a bolt from the blue" for Engelson. According to the book, Markle returned her engagement and wedding rings via mail. These days, her ex is producing a TV sitcom about a man whose ex-wife marries a British roll. Cue the eye roll.
Her First Date With Prince Harry Was Reportedly At Soho House In London
As has been previously reported, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met at Soho House after being set up on a blind date in 2016. Here's the way it went down, according to Morton: After vacationing in Greece shortly after her breakup from celebrity chef Cory Vitiello, Markle traveled to London in July 2016 to promote Suits and attend Wimbledon as a guest of designer Ralph Lauren. During her time in London, Ralph Lauren PR executive Violet von Westenholz, the daughter of interior designer Baron Piers von Westenholz, decided to set her up with a family friend: Prince Harry. Reportedly, Markle's friend Markus Anderson, the brand ambassador for Soho House, "was on hand to rustle up a private room at the members' only club for an intimate evening away from prying eyes."
Life lesson: Find friends who will set you up with a prince — and set you up with a private place to smooch.
The connection was reportedly immediate. The couple enjoyed back-to-back dates before she flew back to Toronto on July 5. Prince Harry then asked if she would be accompany to him on a safari in August. (Strong move, Harry. Strong move.) Markle said yes. As Morton notes, "the normally prolific web maven [went] dark between August 21 and 28," the time when the two are believed to have been in Botswana.
She Wasn't The First Woman Prince Harry Took To Botswana
Shockingly, Prince Harry had the audacity to date women before Meghan Markle, and he apparently took a few of them to Botswana, too. As Morton notes, Markle was "the fourth female companion to join [Prince Harry] for a few romantic nights under the stars in a southern African hideaway."
He adds: "Before Meghan, he had taken TV sports present Natalie Pinkham, Zimbabwean-born Chelsy Davy, and actor Cressida Bonas on safari. Botswana was the preferred destination."
It seems pretty obvious that the trip went well. According to Morton: "It was here, in this natural idyll, where the couple cemented their relationship, both of them realizing they had found something special. As Harry later described: 'It was absolutely amazing to get to know her as quickly as I did.'"
She Apparently Prepared For Tea With The Queen
Meghan Markle reportedly took a "secret excursion to Rose Tree Cottage" in Pasadena to take afternoon tea in preparation for meeting the Queen.
Prince Harry requires his grandmother's formal permission to marry, and meeting the family is stressful, so... I get it. According to Morton, the meeting between Meghan Markle and the Queen went beautifully. The Queen liked her — but more importantly, the Queen's corgis loved her. "This normally irascible breed were friendly and welcome when Meghan entered the queen's sitting room," Morton writes. "As Prince Harry said, somewhat ruefully: 'I've spent the last thirty-three years being barked at; this one walks in, absolutely nothing.'"
The Wedding Guest List Provoked Some Family Drama
Morton writes that Markle's father, Tom Senior, had "become more reclusive" in recent years and moved to the Mexican beach town of Rosarito. Markle asked him to walk her down the aisle, but she understood it would be a tremendous task for him, despite how much he adored his daughter, Morton writes..
Unfortunately, this is reportedly not the only family drama provoked by the wedding. Morton writes that Markle told her father "during a difficult phone conversation" that she did not want to invite either of her half-siblings, Samantha or Tom Junior, to the wedding. "While her father may have felt that Meghan was placing him in a difficult position, it should not have come as any surprise. Ever since her romance with Prince Harry was revealed, Samantha had been sniping from the sidelines, doubtless jealous that her sister was enjoying the spotlight and wanting to garner attention for herself," Morton writes.
Becoming Princess Means She Can No Longer Speak Publicly About Politics
Meghan Markle publicly backed Hillary Clinton, criticized Brexit, and attacked Donald Trump as "divisive." As a member of the royal family, she can no longer speak publicly about her political opinions. She has also stepped back from her involvement in World Vision Canada, United Nations Women, and One Young World. She also left Suits at the same time as co-star Patrick J. Adams, and shut down her website and all social media channels.
However, as Morton notes, the new chapter of her life affords her a chance to make a real difference in the causes of her choice. She has more celebrity — and more of a voice — than she's ever had before.