The Duchess Diaries
Fairlady|February 2018

The Duchess Diaries

Liesl Robertson

Until fairly recently, we knew Meghan Markle by a different name: Rachel Zane, the chic lawyer-in-training in the law TV series Suits. That is, until the world discovered that she had secretly been dating Prince Harry for nearly six months – and things were looking serious. The two were first introduced by a mutual friend back in 2016 (rumours are that the friend was Michelle Obama); a second date confirmed that the spark was real, and Harry realised this was something he wanted to pursue. ‘Three weeks later, I managed to persuade her to join me in Botswana, and we camped out with each other under the stars for five days,’ he says. ‘Then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial for me, to make sure we had a chance to get to know each other.’

When the news of their relationship eventually broke, the tabloids went wild, digging up pictures from her past (she used to be a ‘suitcase girl’ on the game show Deal or No Deal) and speculating wildly about whether the queen would ‘allow’ her grandson to marry a divorcee. (Markle had been briefly married before.) So how did she handle the sudden surge of public scrutiny? ‘I don’t read any press,’ says Meghan. ‘The people who are close to me anchor me in knowing who I am. The rest is noise… at the end of the day I think it’s really simple. We’re two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception. Nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship.’

How Meghan defines herself has been a recurring topic of conversation throughout her life. In an essay she wrote in 2015 about her biracial identity, she says that the question ‘what are you?’ is posed to her nearly every day. ‘Well,’ she says, knowing full well what she is actually being asked, ‘I’m an actress, a writer… a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes.’ Then, the inevitable follow-up. ‘“Right, but what are you? Where are your parents from?” I knew it was coming. While I could say Pennsylvania and Ohio, and continue this proverbial two-step, instead I give them what they’re after: “My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white.”’

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