Born in Los Angeles to a white father and black mother, Meghan Markle will, upon marrying Prince Harry, become the first biracial royal in modern British history. In July 2015, before she had met the prince, the actress penned an article for the women’s magazine Elle, in which she spoke about her heritage and her pride in it. She wrote, “Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating.”
Her mother and father, Doria Radlan and Tom Markle, had married in a time where mixed-race relationships were uncommon in the U.S. Indeed, in the same Elle piece, Markle told a tale that threw a light on the social attitudes of some at the time. She wrote, “And there was my mom, caramel in complexion with her light-skinned baby in tow, being asked where my mother was, since they assumed she was the nanny.” Sadly, her parents divorced when Meghan was six. Nevertheless, they both ensured their daughter became confident in her identity, even on one occasion altering her doll families so that they too were mixed-race.
After the engagement announcement for the fifth in line to the U.K. throne in November 2017, much media discussion was had about the significance of a biracial new royal. British daily newspaper The Guardian published an article entitled, “When Meghan weds Harry, Britain’s relationship with race will change for ever.” The sub-headline read, “Don’t underestimate the symbolism of a royal marriage. From now on, it will be impossible to argue that being black is somehow incompatible with being British.”