Journalist Andrew Morton has penned another tell-all royal biography and this time, he’s spilling the details on Meghan Markle.
The author behind Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words, has turned his attention to the royal-in-waiting ahead of the May 19 nuptials. And as if the world’s gaze wasn’t already beating down on the 36-year-old, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, is sure to cement her status as a front page fixture.
Delving into Markle’s past, Morton reveals everything from the former actress’ high-profile divorce to her Hollywood-worthy love story with Prince Harry.
And with the book’s launch date sitting pretty on April 17, just weeks ahead of the royal wedding, it couldn’t have come at a more apt time.
Thanks to an exclusive snippet from The Times Magazine, here are 10 secret (albeit questionable) claims Morton makes in his latest biographical hit.
1. Her first marriage to Trevor Engelson ended without warning
When Meghan Markle met future husband Trevor Engelson at a bar in West Hollywood, she was an aspiring actress paying her bills courtesy of a restaurant job and a freelance calligraphy career. Meanwhile, film producer Engelson was a growing name in the industry and by 2009, was named in the Hollywood Reporter as the ‘Next Gen 35 under 35’.
As a consequence to his success, Engelson offered Markle a small role in Remember Me which starred Robert Pattinson as the lead. But the film producer’s career soon became a “source of conflict” for the couple, as she wished he’d try harder to cast her in his films.
So when in 2011 Markle’s agent suggested that she audition for US series, Suits, she jumped at the opportunity. By this point, the couple were engaged and according to her half-brother Thomas Markle Jr: “Meg was on her way up”.
The pair wed on 10 September 2011 in Jamaica but the five-hour plane distance drove the pair further apart, especially as Markle later signed up for the second series of Suits.
According to Morton, as the actress rose to fame she “no longer had the time for mates she had known for years, cancelling lunches at short notice or expecting them to rework their own schedules to accommodate the busy life of the rising star”.
In 2013, Markle filed for divorce from Engelson after five years of trying to make their long-distance relationship work. And the split was reportedly not amicable, as the actress sent her wedding and engagement rings back to Engelson in the post.
Her decision to split came “totally out of the blue” according to Morton and Engelson has been infuriated ever since. When friends enquired about Meghan he would simply reply: “I have zero to say about her”.
2. Meghan Markle attended pre-school with Scarlett Johansson
Meghan Markle enrolled at Little Red School at two-years-old. According to Morton, the primary school was “favoured by the sons and daughters of LA’s showbiz elite” so it comes as no surprise to learn that she once starred in a Christmas production alongside Scarlet Johansson. Markle took on a leading role in the amateur show while Johansson stood away from the spotlight in the chorus.
3. Thomas Markle Snr influenced Meghan’s acting career
Due to his prominence in Hollywood as a television lighting director, Thomas Markle Snr would regularly help out at his daughter’s school plays. In 1996, Markle gave the world a glimpse of her future stardom after playing the secretary in a school production of the much-beloved musical, Annie.
4. Meghan Markle was crowned homecoming queen
It turns out, Meghan is no stranger to donning a sparkly tiara.
— Meghans Mirror (@MeghansMirror) January 11, 2018
Back in 1998, the aspiring actress practiced for her position in the royal family after being crowned homecoming queen.
5. She was a typical teenager
In news that would come as no surprise to some, Markle had a stereotypical teenage life. According to Morton, when she left home for Northwestern University she could finally break free from the “watchful gaze of her mother”.
He writes: “she started wearing heavier make-up and experimented with highlighting her hair”.
6. Meghan Markle almost took on a different career path altogether
While studying at Northwestern University, Meghan Markle used her summer break wisely. Thanks to her uncle Mick Markle’s connections with the US government, the aspiring actress took on a role at the American Embassy one summer.
At the age of 21, she took the three-hour Foreign Service Officer Test in Argentina but failed. Perhaps a sign that “fate was pushing her into a career in entertainment”, Morton writes.
7. Meghan Markle narrowly avoided Donald Trump
In 2006, Markle landed a role on the US version of Deal or No Deal as a ‘briefcase girl’. But when Donald Trump turned up to set as a celebrity guest, the 36-year-old kept well away.
Morton writes: “Fellow briefcase girl Tameka Jacobs told me, ‘He was super-creepy, but some girls were attracted to money and power and took his number. Meghan was one of the girls who gave him a wide berth’.”
The Trump clan are reportedly not invited to the royal wedding despite having met Prince Harry in the past.
8. At the height of her fame, Markle began to charge serious money
According to Morton, at the height of her acting fame Markle began to charge up to £14,200 for public appearances whether it was Hollywood galas or red carpet stints.
9. It was love at first sight for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
In June 2016, Markle was in London for a hectic week promoting Suits. And on July 1st, the actress’ life changed forever. The 36-year-old was reportedly introduced to Prince Harry on a blind date by friend Violet Von Westenholz and the couple “had each other at hello”, Morton writes.
After their first “intoxicating” meeting, the pair began to enjoy back-to-back dates before she had to fly back to Toronto for filming.
And the actress gave away her happiness via her now deleted-Instagram page, after she posted an image of two Love Hearts sweets with the message ‘Kiss Me’. She even captioned the snap: “Love Hearts in London”.
Before heading back to work, Prince Harry asked if she’d like to accompany the royal on a trip to Botswana and without hesitation, she jumped at the opportunity.
10. Meghan Markle rehearsed drinking tea before meeting Queen Elizabeth II
In preparation for meeting Prince Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, Markle paid a visit to Rose Tree Cottage in California for afternoon tea. According to Morton, it was in the suburbs of Los Angeles that the actress practiced meeting Her Majesty. He writes: “It is where she learnt to crook her fingers she held her cup and saucer and sipped her earl grey”.
In November 2017, Harry introduced Meghan to his grandmother in what turned out to be an hour-long affair over hot cups of tea. After seeing the love and respect Harry has for the Queen, the 36-year-old was reportedly even more in love with the royal.
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