Meghan Markle is arguably the most famous woman in the world – but as she celebrates her 40th birthday today (August 4), there’s still a lot we don’t know about her.
Until now, that is.
Read on for all you’ve ever wanted to know about the Duchess of Sussex as she turns 40.
1. What’s in a name?
A lot, it would seem…
Meghan’s firs name isn’t actually Meghan, it’s Rachel.
The royal was born Rachel Meghan Markle on August 4, 1981 in Canoga Park, Los Angeles.
Meghan hasn’t revealed why she uses Meghan over Rachel, but some have suggested that the name Meghan is a bit more exciting than Rachel.
2. Married… with Children
Meghan has admitted she “grew up” on the set of Married… with Children.
No, she didn’t have a part in the American TV show as a kid, but her dad Thomas Markle worked on it as a lighting director and director of photography.
She said: “There were a lot of times my dad would say: ‘Meg, why don’t you go and help with the craft services room over there? This is just a little off-colour for your 11-year-old eyes.'”
3. Her relationship with her dad wasn’t always strained
Meghan’s parents Doria and Thomas split when she was six, but it was a while before the duchess and her dad became estranged.
She previously said if there was ever an issue with lighting when she was at work, her dad would be the first person to call her up and offer advice.
“I will always find my light. No question,” she said.
4. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are actually related
Yes, really! Albeit very distantly…
Their full family tree reveals their link dates back 15 generations!
5. A career in acting wasn’t always on the agenda
Young Meg was also interested in politics.
In fact, after double-majoring theatre and international relations at college, she worked at the US embassy in Argentina.
She said: “I’m 20 years old, in Buenos Aires, in a motorcade, doing that whole thing. I thought for sure I would still have a career in politics.”
6. Meghan struggled to make ends meet
And that’s why she took the job of box girl number 24 on Deal or No Deal.
However, it doesn’t sound like she enjoyed her stint on the show.
“I would end up standing up there forever in these terribly uncomfortable and inexpensive five-inch heels just waiting for someone to pick my number so I could go and sit down,” she said.
7. Birthday girl Meghan Markle is a keen cook
She prides herself on being a foodie and has said her Suits alter ego was created to reflect that.
Meghan also baked treats for Prince George and Princess Charlotte during her time at Kensington Palace.
8. Her nose is on many a plastic surgery wishlist
The Kardashians can step aside, Meg’s nose is the one plastic surgery fans want, according to one top LA-based surgeon.
“Patients started to coming to see me requesting Meghan Markle’s nose,” Dr Stephen T Greenberg said.
“As things between her and Prince Harry started to heat up, attention definitely followed. Today, she is probably one of the top – if not the number one – request I get.”
9. Her cheap travel ‘cure-all’
Although she’s got a bursting bank balance, Meg is a simple girl when it comes to her travels.
And there’s one thing she insists she can’t travel without.
Tea tree oil.
“It’s not the most glamorous thing, but if you get a cut, a mosquito bite, a small breakout, no matter what it is, it’s my little cure-all.
“It’s inexpensive, it’s small enough to carry on, and I bring it with me all the time,” she said.
10. She was persuaded to rescue her dogs by Ellen
We all know Meghan loves her rescue dogs, but it was thanks to chat show host Ellen DeGeneres that Meg’s homeless dogs got a home.
She recounted a story where she was playing with a dog at a shelter and Ellen walked in.
“Now, I don’t now her, but Ellen goes: ‘Is that your dog?’ And I said: ‘No,’ and she’s like: ‘You have to take that dog.’ And I said: ‘Well, I’m deciding.’ And she’s like: ‘Rescue the dog!’
“It’s sort of like if Oprah tells you to do something… And so I brought him home. Because Ellen told me to,” she admitted.
11. The name of her blusher will make you blush
Meghan sticks to cult classics when it comes to make-up – and the name of her favourite blusher will most certainly make you blush.
“I love Nars blush in Orgasm,” she said.
“I use it on and off camera because it gives you a nice glow from within.”
We bet it does, Megs!
12. Her taste in music might surprise you
According to he now-defunct blog The Tig, Meghan is a fan of Indie music.
She revealed she was enjoying listening to the Crystal Fighters, Maggie Rogers and Janelle Monáe.
13. Meghan’s mum worked with the elderly
Ahead of Meghan’s wedding to Harry, Doria was a social worker and yoga teacher.
Meghan revealed her mum worked “specially with the geriatric community”.
However, she left her job at a mental health facility ahead of the royal wedding.
14. She has a number of cute nicknames
Writing on The Tig, Meghan revealed a number of adorable nicknames.
Meg, MM and M&M were among the nicknames listed.
The cutest by far though is a name her mother has called her since she was little – Flower.
15. Meghan’s dad was once a pillar of support
Meghan once told of a moment at school when she was told by a teacher to tick the box for caucasian on a mandatory census.
The youngster was confused and left the box blank.
Later, Thomas Markle told her: “If that happens again, you draw your own box.”
16. She is actually still a princess
When she married Prince Harry, Meghan got the title Princess Henry of Wales.
Of course, Henry is Harry’s actual first name.
Meghan is still entitled to use the title, just as Kate Middleton is a princess as well as a duchess.
17. Meghan was friends with another royal before she met Harry
Harry wasn’t Meghan’s first royal acquaintance – she was actually friends with Princess Eugenie first.
Meghan has admitted that she and Harry and friends with Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank “as a couple” now.
She told Oprah: “Eugenie and I had known each other before I had known Harry, so that was comfortable.”
18. The birthday girl can fire a gun
Meghan Markle is one birthday girl you don’t want to cross because she can fire a gun!
She learnt in 2009 in preparation for an acting role, taking part in a one-day firearms training session in British Columbia, Canada.
19. Writing all the way to the bank
As a struggling actress, Meghan took a course in calligraphy and was so good at it that she managed to supplement her acting income.
After taking a handwriting class at school, she made extra cash writing celebrity wedding invitations in her spare time.
20. She started practising yoga aged 7
That fab figure didn’t happen by accident – Meghan started yoga at the tender age of seven.
She was introduced to it by her mum Doria, who took her along to “mommy and me” classes.
She’s still a fan to this day.
21. Meghan is related to Shakespeare
Perhaps it was written in the stars that she would become a famous actress because Meghan is related to William Shakespeare.
According to MyHeritage, Prince Harry isn’t the first English man in Meghan’s bloodline.
She comes from the same family line as the playwright.
22. Her ancestors were slaves
While Prince Harry’s ancestors battled over kingdoms, Markle’s were enslaved to plantation work in Jonesboro, Georgia.
According to The Times, her earliest ancestor can be traced back to 1830.
Records are said to show Richard Ragland lived as a slave near Jonesboro.
23. Her dad once one the lottery
Thomas Markle won a pretty penny back in 1990 on the California State lottery
He won over £500,000 and reportedly used the money to pay off Meghan’s schooling.
24. The royal’s first-ever job
Meghan’s first job came at the tender age of 13.
She worked in a frozen yogurt shop called Humphrey Yogart.
It’s claimed she was paid less than £3 per hour to scoop ice cream and take out the rubbish at the weekend.
25. She was paid to party
As a rising star, and before she met Prince Harry, Meghan could apparently command more than £14,000 just to attend a party.
We reckon her fee now would make your eyes water!
26. She preferred Harry to Wills before they met
Meghan was asked to choose who she would pick between William and brother Harry before she met the royals.
At first Meghan shrugged her shoulders and said: “I don’t know.”
However, when pushed, she responded: “Harry? Sure.”
27. She’s ambidextrous
Yes, the Duchess of Sussex is multi-talented and uses both hands equally.
She reportedly writes and waves with her right hand and uses her left to eat, drink and play guitar!
28. Her embarrassing celebrity crush
“You’re going to laugh at who my male celebrity crush is but I’ll never let it go,” Meghan once said.
“I love Dennis Quaid.”
29. Birthday girl Meghan Markle loves bookbinding
As well as calligraphy, Meghan is also a fan of bookbinding.
During her royal tour of Africa in 2019, she revealed her secret hobby.
The Suits star visited Victoria Yards, a platform for local craftspeople, and Simon Sizwe Mayson, co-director of Maker’s Valley, shared the news after the royals left.
“She bought these three little notebooks and also mentioned that she used to do workshops in bookbinding herself,” Mayson said.
“She used to coach bookbinding.”
30. She can speak French and Spanish
Meghan is a linguist!
During an event she surprised the room when she slipped into Spanish, and it’s been claimed she is also conversant in French.
“She spoke Spanish perfectly with one young woman,” one person at the party said. “She just went right into Spanish, which was a revelation – and it was very good.”
It’s thought she picked it up while working in Argentina.
31. Her first acting role was on General Hospital
American medical drama General hospital gave Meghan her first taste of small-screen success in 2002.
She made her debut at Nurse Jill on the show – the same show that her parents met on.
Her dad was lighting director, while her mum worked in make-up.
32. Meghan Markle and Harry played roles on their first dates
Harry and Meghan have previously offered an insight into the early days of their romance.
“The beauty of it is that the first time that Meghan and I met up for her to come and stay with me, we met up in a supermarket in London — pretending that we didn’t know each other — so, texting from the other side of the aisle,” Harry said.
“I was there texting her saying: ‘Is this the right one?’ She goes: ‘No, you want parchment paper.’ I’m like: ‘OK, [whispers] where’s the parchment paper?'” he added.
33. She redesigned her engagement ring
Meghan’s engagement ring features a centre diamond from Botswana, flanked by diamonds from Harry’s mother’s collection.
However, in 2019, royal fans spotted some changes to the ring.
The yellow gold band has been altered to now include a row of tiny diamonds on the band.
34. What’s a birthday without cake, eh Meghan!
Harry is reportedly pulling out all the stops for a show-stopping naked iced cake for Meghan’s birthday.
But what flavour will he pick? Our money is on carrot or lemon.
Their wedding cake was elderflower and lemon flavour, while she oped for a carrot cake for her second birthday as a member of the royal family back in 2019.
35. Meghan’s film roles
Meghan hasn’t just appeared on the small screen, she’s been in Hollywood films too.
You’ll be able to spot her in Horrible Bosses, Get Him to the Greek and Remember Me.
36. Mad Men is one of her favourite shows
Back in 2013, Meghan admitted what she liked to watch on the box.
She said the Jon Hamm drama, Girls and The Newsroom were on her “must-watch” list.
37. The kitchen gadget Meghan Markle can’t live without
Meghan loves her blender!
“When I had my car brought out [to Canada], I shipped my Vitamix in the backseat.
“It was one of the things where I was like I cannot travel without my Vitamix,” she said.
“It’s like a commercial at this point. But I use it every day for pestos or shakes.”
38. Three cheers for the birthday girl – Meghan Markle loves a tipple
“At the end of a long day, there is nothing I enjoy more than a glass of wine,” Meghan once wrote on blog post.
“I used to be of the ‘it doesn’t matter, so long as it’s red’ persuasion, but then I grew up, and so did my palate.”
The red wine Tignanello even inspired the name of her old blog, The Tig.
39. Ashley Cole wanted to date Meghan
Footballer Ashley Cole apparently had his eye on Meghan before she hooked up with Harry.
He followed the then-actress on Twitter, apparently asking her on a date while she was in London.
Meghan was reportedly warned by friends that Ashley was a bit of a womaniser, so she decided “leave it alone”.
40. Harry proposed to Meghan Markle over roast chicken
The prince’s proposal was an intimate, low-key affair.
Apparently, they were roasting Meghan’s famous chicken when he decided to get down on one knee.
Markle claimed she was so excited, she didn’t even wait for him to finish before she said: “Can I say yes now?”
The pair were so in love, they even momentarily forgot about the ring.
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