Meghan Markle Through the Years: Photos of the Duchess of Sussex Going Back to Her California Girl Days

Inside the L.A. native's journey from independent youngster to star actress to royal history-maker

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Mail on Sunday/Solo Syndication

Meghan Markle at 5 years old. The future royal was raised in Los Angeles by her parents, Tom, a former sound engineer on the '80s sitcom Married...with Children, and Doria, a yoga instructor and social worker.

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*EXCLUSIVE* Sparkle Markle A.K.A. Meghan Markle is seen in rare graduation photos from elementary school
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Meghan's elementary school portrait. "She was popular with every single group," says former classmate Tiffany Gooden.

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*EXCLUSIVE* Sparkle Markle A.K.A. Meghan Markle is seen in rare graduation photos from elementary school
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Meghan surrounded by friends in elementary school.

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Courtesy Northwestern University

She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at Northwestern University. She is pictured in her 2000-2001 class portrait.

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George Lopez/Great Chefs of LA Event For The National Kidney Foundation
Rebecca Sapp/WireImage

After graduating from college, Meghan moved back to L.A. to launch her acting career.

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Some Kind-a Gorgeous Style and Beauty Lounge
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Her first nonspeaking gig was on a 2002 episode of General Hospital.

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Patrick McMullan Archives
Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan/Getty

She also appeared as a briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal.

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NBC/Universal 2014 TCA Winter Press Tour
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

She garnered small parts before breaking out as paralegal Rachel Zane on Suits.

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The Paley Center ForMedia Presents An Evening With "Suits"
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"I knew her when she was doing Deal or No Deal, and you could just tell she was going to do so much more," says an industry source.

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Anti-Defamation League Entertainment Industry Awards Dinner Honoring Ryan Kavanaugh - Red Carpet
Michael Kovac/WireImage

After her two-year marriage to producer Trevor Engelson ended in 2013, Meghan continued building her humanitarian work, speaking passionately about women's rights and advocating for diverse beauty ideals in embracing her biracial background.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Tennis together at the Invictus Games in Toronto
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A "blind date" — as Prince Harry and Meghan described their first meeting in July 2016 — changed everything.

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PA Images

In November 2017, the couple announced their engagement, making Meghan the first American actress since Grace Kelly to marry into a royal family.

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The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Shutterstock

Harry and Meghan wed on May 19, 2018. The Duchess of Sussex, as she would now be known, wore a Givenchy gown designed by British designer Clare Waight Keller and an intricate, hand-stitched veil featuring flowers from all 53 British Commonwealth countries, as well as her home state's official flower, the California Poppy, and Wintersweet, which grows in the grounds of Kensington Palace in London.

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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Archie. Toby Melville/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Meghan and Harry welcomed Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor on May 6, 2019. "He has the sweetest temperament," the proud first-time mom shared. "He's really calm."

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OPRAH WITH MEGHAN AND HARRY: A CBS PRIMETIME SPECIAL
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Two years later, the arrival of baby Lilibet Diana on June 4, 2021, made the Sussexes a complete family of four. "Two is it," the couple told Oprah Winfrey when revealing their second child would be a daughter. Said Harry, "To have a boy then a girl — what more can you ask for?"

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Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, has authored and will publish on June 8, 2021, her first children’s book, THE BENCH
Meghan Markle's new children's book, The Bench. Random House Books for Young Readers

Less than a week after Lili's birth, Meghan welcomed a different type of creation — her illustrated children's book The Bench (the Duchess's second literary project after writing the forward to a 2018 charity cookbook), which went on to become a New York Times best-seller.

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