Congratulations, Duchess Meghan! Things to know about the American royal and mom-to-be

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Monday, October 15, 2018
What to know about Meghan Markle
Here's a look at the life of American actress Meghan Markle, who, since marrying Prince Harry, has been known as Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced big news on Monday: Meghan is pregnant with the couple's first child.

Meghan Markle, an American actress, married Prince Harry in May. The couple leaves Tuesday for a two-week-long trip to Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand.

Meghan and Harry's two-day trip to Dublin was full of adorable moments, including Harry playfully scolding a toddler who played with the duchess' hair.

Here are seven things to know about the royal mom-to-be.

Her family

Her full maiden name was Rachel Meghan Markle. She grew up in the Los Angeles area, where she attended Catholic school.

Her father, Thomas Markle, was a Hollywood lighting director, and her mother, Doria Ragland, a yoga instructor and psychotherapist. Her parents split when she was young.

Her parents released a joint statement after her engagement announcement, saying:

"We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person. To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents. We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together."

Markle, who is biracial, penned an essay about her experiences for Elle Magazine in 2015, writing, "'What are you?' A question I get asked every week of my life, often every day."

Her education

She attended Northwestern University, where she graduated from the School of Communication in 2003. Markle was also a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

Markle returned to Northwestern for a visit in 2014, when she reminisced, "The 24-hour Burger King also definitely helped me put on the Freshman Fifteen."

Her style

The duchess was known as a trendsetter even before she was a duchess. And it's a good thing, too, because as a member of the royal family everything she wears has the potential to make headlines.

PHOTOS: Meghan Markle's style through the years

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Meghan Markle attends COACH Legacy Photo Exhibit by REED KRAKOFF at Coach on August 26, 2006 in East Hampton, NY.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

She is also a fashion designer who has launched an accessible line.

Her career

As an actress, Markle is best known for her role as Rachel Zane on the show Suits. Her other projects include Horrible Bosses, Remember Me and Anti-Social.

She is also a writer and served as editor-in-chief of the lifestyle brand The Tig, which is no longer publishing.

Her passions

Outside her career and relationship, Markle is also known for her humanitarian work and for her activism.

In March of 2017, she wrote an essay called "How Periods Affect Potential," based on her time as a World Vision ambassador in India.

When it comes to women's rights, Markle is not afraid to speak out.

"It's not just a women's fight for women. It's a people's fight for people," she told Larry King in 2016.

Her relationship with Prince Harry

From a stunning wedding dress to a moving sermon, these were the standout moments from the royal wedding.

Harry proposed in November of 2017, according to the announcement. The two reportedly met in the summer of 2016. The prince confirmed their relationship in November of 2016.

Markle opened up to Vanity Fair for their October cover story, saying the pair were very happy but wanted to keep other details private.

"We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time," she said. "This is for us. It's part of what makes it so special, that it's just ours. But we're happy. Personally, I love a great love story."

Her royal title

Her official title is now Duchess of Sussex; Prince Harry has been given the title Duke of Sussex. Markle's full official title is Her Royal Highness Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.