There is another royal wedding on the horizon, as on Monday Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement after a year-and-a-half of dating. When the two are wed, Markle will assume new royal responsibilities and will be given a royal title. It is tradition for the Queen to bestow this title on the new family member the morning of the wedding, which is how Kate Middleton became the Duchess of Cambridge upon marrying Prince William. However, while Markle's family will be included in the wedding and other family-related gatherings, marrying into the royal family doesn't give them titles of their own.
Markle was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her mother, Doria Ragland, has a degree in social work and also works as a yoga instructor, according to E! News. Her father, Thomas W. Markle, worked for a long time in the entertainment industry and was a lighting director on Married with Children and General Hospital. Her parents issued a statement via Kensington Palace on Monday addressed to Markle and Harry that stated "We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together". While Ragland and Thomas have a role in the royal engagement simply because it is their daughter who is engaged, they won't become royals or take on royal responsibilities of their own.
Prince William and Kate Middleton wed in 2011, and while the Queen bestowed them the titles of duke and duchess, it did not change the standing of Middleton's extended family. While Middleton's relatives have remained an important part of her life and — especially in the case of her younger sister, Pippa Middleton — the marriage put them in the spotlight, they did not become royals themselves. In fact, Middleton's mother and father, Carol and Michael, still live in their Berkshire, U.K. home and continue to manage the successful business they started, Party Pieces. Pippa recently married, as well, tying the knot with hedge-funder James Matthews at St. Marks Church in her Berkshire hometown. Her sister and members of the royal family were in attendance.
It's clear that Middleton has kept her family close despite her royal responsibilities, and it's not yet clear how Markle will fit her family into her new life abroad. Unlike Middleton, whose family already lived in England, Markle's parents live overseas, and it's not yet clear whether or not they intend to move. The proximity to family is not the only thing the Suits actor might give up to wed Harry. According to Moneyish, the USA Network signed on for another season but the star likely did not renew her contract and is expected to depart.
Taking on a royal position might mean stepping away from acting, and it also might be the reason Markle shuttered her lifestyle website The Tig. But, it will offer the star a chance to focus on her philanthropy. In addition to her success onscreen, Markle has long committed herself to charitable efforts. When she moves to London to join Harry, it will provide the room to pursue these endeavors full-time.
"She is looking at the future and definitely feels she has come to the end of her acting career. She feels it’s time to move on and do something different," an unnamed source told Vanity Fair in early November. "It was always her intention to focus on her humanitarian work, but I think her relationship with Harry has accelerated things moving in that direction.”
According to VF, Markle hopes to focus on starting her own foundation that helps young women in need worldwide. Meanwhile, Prince Harry has long taken on Princess Diana's mantle and pursued his own philanthropic efforts. He currently runs the Royal Foundation with Prince William and Middleton, which gives grants and oversees a variety of causes. The newly-engaged couple are poised to become a powerful source of good in the world through their joint efforts.
Harry and Markle's nuptials will be in the spring, and though the venue or the exact date of the wedding have not yet been revealed, it will likely be an elaborate affair. We'll have to see if Thomas Markle take on the responsibility o walking his daughter down the aisle, and Ragland will surely be in attendance, too. The two parents may not be taking on titles of their own, but their bond with Markle will likely remain strong as she is inducted into the royal family.