Tuesday, 28 November 2017 - 16:26
Meghan Markle’s roots revealed


Much has also been made of her heritage, as the mixed-race descendant of plantation working slaves, a subject about which she has spoken movingly and insightfully, describing how she learned to cherish her roots — and overcome prejudice — with careful nurturing from her parents.
Her Caucasian father, Thomas, and African-American mother, Doria, bought her a set of Barbie dolls with a black mother and white father, and she was advised never to tick boxes on school forms requesting her to declare her ethnicity, but to leave them blank.
Many feel this bi-racial background makes Meghan uniquely qualified to become a member of the Royal Family in diverse, modern-day Britain, and that she will enhance their popular appeal, particularly among the younger generation. I wholly concur.
Certain chapters of her life remain uncharted waters — her two previous long-term relationships, as well as her time as an intern in Argentina — and there is any number of sharks among her relatives and former friends keen to capitalize on her good fortune.
Then there is her ex-husband, Hollywood producer Trevor Engelson. He is yet to explain why Meghan abruptly ended their marriage, in 2011, but will surely draw on personal experience for his forthcoming comedy TV show, about an American whose wife leaves him for a prince.
These are just the ‘known unknowns’ in Meghan’s past, to borrow a phrase. With the details of at least one other long-term relationship — her two years with the Canadian celebrity chef Cory Vitiello — yet to emerge, who can say what might yet surface?
So who is the girl who has so captivated Prince Harry? On her father’s side, Meghan descends from English, Irish and Dutch settlers who sailed across the Atlantic in the 18th century to live in an America than fighting for independence from Britain.
Her maternal ancestry is no less fascinating. Her mother, Doria Ragland’s 19th-century ancestor toiled on the Georgia cotton plantations before being emancipated after Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in 1865, whereupon he took the name Wisdom to mark his freedom.
It marked the beginning of Meghan’s forebears’ courageous struggle to rise through American society, which remained mired in racial prejudice for a further century.
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