Meet meghan markle the biracial, divorced actress about to rock buckingham palace j gastroenterol hepatol impact factor

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Born to a black mother, Doria Ragland, and Thomas Markle, a white father with two children from a previous marriage, Rachel Meghan Markle has always inhabited multiple worlds. Before marrying in 1979, her parents first met when Thomas was a soap-opera lighting director and Doria temped at the studio.

After her parents divorced when she was 6, Markle divided her time between parents. Her father supported her private education, in part, by winning $750,000 in the California State Lottery in 1990, though he would declare bankruptcy a few years later.

Her parents encouraged her to be proud of her heritage: Thomas blended two sets of Barbie families as a Christmas present for his daughter. After she was stymied by a school census whose choices didn’t reflect her mixed-race makeup, Thomas told the then-seventh-grader to “draw your own box,” despite her teacher’s urging to check “Caucasian” “because that’s how you look, Meghan,” the actress recounted in Elle.

Markle was exposed at a young age to equal parts social justice and celebrity. Doria, a yoga teacher and social worker, would take her daughter on goodwill missions to the slums of Mexico and Jamaica, visiting the needy and exposing her daughter to others’ hardships. After school, she would visit Thomas on the set of shows such as “Married With Children,” where he was a longtime lighting director. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Getty Images

But high school wasn’t easy. In 2014, Markle wrote on her erstwhile lifestyle blog, The Tig: “My high school had cliques: the black girls and white girls . . . Being biracial, I fell somewhere in between. So every day during lunch, I busied myself with meetings . . . not so that I was more involved, but so that I wouldn’t have to eat alone.”

After graduating in 2003, she nabbed the occasional bit part, with more career lows than highs. In 2010, an anonymous blog believed to be written by Markle called Working Actress described the brutal business: “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.”

Prior to that: “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job,” Markle wrote in Elle. “Suits,” on the other hand, was her “Goldilocks” gig — one that was “just right,” she said, and allowed her to embrace her biracial identity.

It was a good year for Markle, who married longtime boyfriend, producer Trevor Engelson, in Jamaica in September 2011. But the long-distance marriage — he in LA and she in Toronto, where “Suits” filmed — fizzled after two years, with Markle returning both the diamond engagement and wedding rings by registered mail, according to Morton.

Her former best friend and maid of honor, Ninaki Priddy, didn’t take Markle’s side in the split. “She is very strategic in the way she cultivates circles of friends,” the jewelry designer told the Daily Mail. “Once she decides you’re not part of her life, she can be very cold . . . Trevor definitely had the rug pulled out from under him. He was hurt.” Prince Harry and Meghan Markle AP

After the divorce, Markle’s star was on the rise. She launched The Tig in 2014 and began making more public appearances, sitting front row at Fashion Week and championing international causes. She rubbed shoulders with Bono and Kofi Annan at an international summit for young leaders in Dublin, worked with people in Rwanda, and visited an Afghanistan military base as part of a USO holiday tour. In 2015, she spoke before the UN about gender equality.

Markle also made an acquaintance, Violet von Westenholz, a Ralph Lauren PR exec who was family friends with Princes William and Harry. During a trip to London to do press for “Suits” in the summer of 2016, von Westenholz suggested the single Markle meet Harry.

Last May, Markle attended Pippa Middleton’s wedding reception, but the prince and actress wouldn’t make their status official until a joint appearance at September 2017’s Invictus Games. Markle’s mom joined the pair for the closing ceremonies, and a gushing Vanity Fair article that month made it all but a foregone conclusion that Markle was an American princess in the making.

But first, the queen needed to grant her royal seal of approval. On a gloomy day in October 2017, according to Morton, the American actress had tea at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II, part of the daily royal ritual. The one-hour meeting was a smash. Even the royal corgis took to her.