Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah has caused quite a stir. In the interview, Markle broke down why she and her husband — Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex — chose to leave their full-time roles within the royal family and move to America. She shared various personal experiences with the royal family, from her introduction to Queen Elizabeth II to her tearful conversation with her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, moments before Markle’s wedding. Markle’s comments about the English monarchy have left many conflicted. Some are siding with the monarchy, and others are siding with Markle and Harry.
Before deciding whether her reasons for resigning from being a full-time working member of the royal family are justified, you need to know some basic information on the royal family. Gaining a broad overview of who’s who in British royalty will be helpful as you watch the interview. Not only will it aid you in fully understanding Markle’s references to her past, but it will also provide you with a well-rounded context for the recent events that have transpired in her life.
Meghan Markle’s History
Meghan Markle, also known as the Duchess of Sussex, was not born into the English royal family. She became royalty only after marrying Harry, Duke of Sussex, in 2018. In fact, Markle was born in 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to two middle-class working parents, a far cry from the British monarchy.
In the early 2000s, she attended Northwestern University, where she graduated with a degree in theater and international relations. After performing in several different television productions, Markle experienced her biggest success in 2011 as one of the stars of the USA Network series “Suits.” The same year, she married actor and producer Trevor Engleton, but two years later, the couple filed for divorce.
In 2016, Markle began dating Harry, who she met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend. They quickly fell in love, marrying in 2018 at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom. Their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, was born just a year after their union.
In her interview with Oprah, Markle shared both the struggles and victories she has undergone as a royal due to her biracial identity. As Duchess of Sussex, Markle used her platform to advocate for numerous causes, including “the arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare.”
Prince Harry’s History
The crown’s beloved Harry was born in 1984, the second son to Prince Charles of Wales and Princess Diana. As members of the royal family, Harry and his brother, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, grew up in the spotlight. At the young age of 12, he endured the tragic loss of his mother due to a car accident in Paris, France.
Harry struggled academically throughout his younger years but was accepted into Eton College in 1998. The tabloids went wild over his mischievous and rebellious actions in college. Nevertheless, he graduated with his diploma in 2003 and subsequently took up travel, polo matches and charity work.
Harry entered into the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2005, and less than a year later he “joined the Household Cavalry as a second lieutenant.” He served for two Afghanistan tours beginning in 2008, officially ending his military career in 2015. After meeting and marrying Meghan Markle in 2018, Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, officially gave him the title of the Duke of Sussex.
As a member of the royal family, Harry has volunteered with multiple different charitable organizations. His passion lies in working with servicemen and women, disabled veterans, disadvantaged children and teens involved in gang activities.
Where Are Markle and Harry Now?
Markle, Harry and Archie all live together in Santa Barbara County in California. They first moved to Los Angeles in March 2020, shortly after they chose to step down from their royal roles; however, they decided that the Santa Barbara area would make a better fit a few months later. Nevertheless, their moves did not slow the couple down, and they launched themselves as financially independent in the business world.
Business Insider recently released an article by Hillary Hoffower, listing all of the business deals the couple has been investing and participating in over the past year. Since their official step-down from the royal family last April, Hoffower stated that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been extremely active both as a couple and individually in “building their business empire.”
As a couple, they have created their own production company, and they signed a multi-year deal with Netflix in September 2020. Spotify soon followed suit, signing a multi-year podcast deal that the pair will run through their new audio company, Archewell Audio.
Harry has also taken an executive position at BetterUp Inc., a startup focused on mental health, as well as a part-time role with Aspen Institute, a U.S. think tank. Hoffower explained that as of now, Harry will be a “commissioner for the nonprofit’s new Commission on Information Disorder.” Markle has also stepped into the limelight, publicly investing in Clevr Blends, a female-operated startup centered around instant oat milk lattes.
Who knows what companies Markle and Harry will create, invest in or accept roles at next? Keep your eyes peeled for their Spotify holiday special podcast that is supposed to be coming out soon. Furthermore, make sure to be on the lookout for their Netflix releases as well, although their content has no release dates yet.
If you want to gain better insight into the rest of the royal family, the royal website provides detailed descriptions of each of the other members, and Vox has an article that clarifies additional English terms and phrases Americans might not understand from Markle’s interview, such as “the institute.”