All the Ways Meghan Markle Made History by Marrying Prince Harry

By getting engaged, and subsequently marrying Prince Harry, Meghan Markle made history. Discover all the ways she made history ahead.

She’s American

Meghan Markle hails from the land of the red, white, and blue. She’s an American. More specifically, a California native. She became the first American to be “officially engaged” to a member of the royal family after she and Prince Harry made their engagement public in November 2017, according to Reader’s Digest.

Markle’s been married before

Markle has been married — and divorced — before. She married Trevor Engelson, a TV producer, in 2011 before ending their relationship in 2013.

They met in 2004 and got married seven years later. Markle reportedly ended the marriage abruptly.

Andrew Morton, a royal biographer, wrote Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In his book, Morton claimed that Markle’s decision to get a divorce came “out of the blue” for Engelson.

Trevor Engelson and Meghan Markle
Trevor Engelson and Meghan Markle | Michael Kovac/WireImage

“The marriage ended so abruptly that Meghan sent Trevor her diamond wedding and engagement rings back by registered mail,” Morton wrote. To this day he “can barely contain his anger” about how their relationship ended.

For years, marriage after a divorce was a no-go for the royal family.

“Historically the Church of England’s position was that divorce was okay, but remarriage was not,” Arianne Chernock, an associate professor of history at Boston University who researches gender and the British monarchy, told History.

Look at what Prince Edward VII did to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American, in 1936. He abdicated the throne to marry her instead of marrying her against the government’s will and undermining Parliament.

In the 1950s, Princess Margaret, sister to Queen Elizabeth II, ended her relationship with Captain Peter Townsend, a divorced man because marriage wasn’t a possibility.

“Mindful of the Church’s teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before any others,” Princess Margaret said in a statement following her breakup with Townsend, according to People.

She’s a former actress

Markle isn’t the first American actress to marry royalty. She joins the ranks of Grace Kelly and Rita Hayworth who both became royalty when they got married, according to Town & Country. Markle became a successful actress best known for playing the paralegal-turned-lawyer, Rachel Zane, on the USA legal drama Suits.

Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane on 'Suits.'
Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane on the TV series, Suits | Shane Mahood/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

She also appeared on the game show, Deal or No Deal, as one of the models who would be assigned to a briefcase with a number attached.

Even though she has since quit her acting career, she said in a past interview that she’s “ticked that box” and is now focused on being part of a team with Prince Harry.

Her heritage

Markle brought some much-needed diversity to the royal family when she married Prince Harry. Her mother, Doria Ragland, is African American and her father, Thomas Markle, is Caucasian. As a woman of mixed heritage, Markle made history getting married to a member of the royal family.

Raised Protestant

Markle attended a Roman Catholic high school, according to CNN, and was brought up Protestant. Although it wasn’t required for her to convert in order to marry Prince Harry, she decided to do so. In March 2018, she reportedly got baptized and confirmed in the Church of England in a secret ceremony at St. James’s Palace.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle | Jonathan Brady – WPA Pool/Getty Images

According to People, Prince Charles has indicated that he will be “a defender of the faiths rather than Defender of the Faith (Anglican Protestantism) to the exclusion of all else.” This means that everyone Prince Charles doesn’t have to pick one church over another.