How Old Is Meghan Markle and What Is Her Ethnicity?

She’s one the most popular royal family members right now and she’s not even British – she’s American. Meghan Markle’s rising star came out of nowhere when she and Prince Harry began a whirlwind romance that culminated in a royal wedding and, shortly after, a pregnancy announcement. Now the world awaits news of the newest royal baby with hysterical excitement. It’s all very intense.

Who is this mysterious beauty who stole Prince Harry’s heart and changed him from a ginger-haired, party boy prince into a bona fide heartthrob? She’s a Hollywood actress, an unapologetic feminist, she’s technically older than her husband Prince Harry, and in what may be a first for the royal family, she’s of mixed ethnic heritage, too.

In other words – she’s just what the royal family needed in the modern era.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle | Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Who is Meghan Markle?

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex was born Rachel Meghan Markle in Los Angeles, California. There’s a good chance she had no idea she’d one day become one of the most talked-about and influential people in the world – and a member of the legendary British royal family.

Markle was born on August 4, 1981, so she’s currently 37 years old (turning 38 this summer). Her mom Doria Ragland was a social worker and yoga instructor and the two remain close to this day. In fact, Ragland is moving in with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for the first few months after the baby arrives to help out with whatever they need.

Meghan Markle and Doria Ragland
Meghan Markle and Doria Ragland | Steve Parsons/AFP/Getty Images

But Meghan Markle has a much more complicated relationship with her father, Thomas Markle. He’s a retired television producer who lives in Mexico and keeps causing his famous daughter emotional turmoil. Royal fans remember the drama before the royal wedding last year when Thomas Markle got caught blabbing to the tabloids and eventually skipped the event entirely. He’s been trying to repair that broken bond, but so far, it’s not going well.

The Duchess of Sussex’s parents got divorced when she was six. She grew up in Hollywood and went to private school, then got her break appearing in Proctor & Gamble commercial when she was 11.

What nationality is Meghan Markle?

It’s shocking that people put so much emphasis on Meghan Markle’s ethnic background even now in 2019. As she explained to Elle, “My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white … While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.”

It’s unclear if Meghan Markle is the first African American royal family member – but ultimately, it doesn’t matter.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Karwai Tang/WireImage

What else is unique about Meghan Markle?

It’s not just ethnic background that makes the Duchess of Sussex so special. Not only is she American – she’s also divorced. Markle wed fellow actor Trevor Engelson in 2011 and the pair divorced in 2013, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

Before she met Prince Harry, Meghan Markle had an impressive career and full life of her own. She moved from commercial work to guest roles on television shows and eventually became an integral cast member on the USA Network show, Suits. She also did freelance calligraphy on the side and ran a lifestyle blog called The Tig, which she shut down after getting engaged.

Meghan Markle doesn’t fit the vision of typical British royal – which is exactly why people are so enamored by her. She’s a breath of fresh air and exactly the right addition to the royal family.