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Happy Birthday Meghan Markle! 6 Things You Don’t Know About the Duchess of Sussex

The American royal turns 41 today!


Happy 41st Birthday, Meghan Markle! That’s right: The Duchess of Sussex was born on this day — August 6 — in 1981. Doesn’t that feel like just yesterday? 

Congratulations, well-wishes, and adoring messages are pouring in across social platforms from friends, fans, and family alike. Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall tweeted birthday greetings this morning; and Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge shared the same message on their joint Instagram account. (The media is having a field day over the fact that Wills and Kate opted to post on their Instagram Stories, which disappear after 24 hours, instead of their permanent Instagram grid — speculating that this is proof of the widely reported rift between the royal offspring.)  

But we’re about joy here at First for Women, which is why we’re leaving “the tea,” as the kids say, to someone else, and instead giving Meghan what we think every birthday celebrant deserves: best wishes for a healthy and happy year ahead.  

To Markle the occasion — get it? Mark-le the occasion? — here are six fun facts you might not know about Meghan. Happy reading, and happy birthday to all of the Leos celebrating this month. 

Meghan isn’t her real first name. 

Friends call her Meg. Fans call her Meghan. But the Duchess of Sussex is, in fact, neither. At least, not technically. Meghan’s first name is actually Rachel. (Meghan is her middle name.) Suits’ viewers will recall that Rachel was also the name of Meghan’s character on the popular USA Network show.  

Her dad worked on Married… With Children

Though Meghan’s strained relationship with her father is well-documented, several stories suggest that wasn’t always the case. It seems the pair were close when Meghan was young, and that her dad took care to protect his daughter from the trappings of the grownup world. As a camera and lighting director on Married… With Children, Thomas Markle often took Meghan to the show’s set with him. In 2013, she told Esquire, “There were a lot of times my dad would say, ‘Meg, why don’t you go and help with the craft services room over there? This is just a little off-color for your 11-year-old eyes.”  

Meghan made the soap opera rounds. 

Okay, rounds is a stretch. Meghan made a single appearance on General Hospital way back in 2002. Her Internet Movie Database (IMDb) page shows this as her second credit, and indicates her GH character name was Jill. Watch the below video to see her star turn playing an overworked nurse in a busy General Hospital.

Her now-shuttered blog, The Tig, is named after a wine. 

Before she was a royal, Meghan had her own lifestyle blog called The Tig, which focused on all things inspiring. (Think food, travel, fashion, and friends.) According to the BBC, Meghan had amassed 3 million Instagram followers, 800,000 Facebook likes, and 350,000 Twitter followers by the time her social media platforms were shut down in January of 2018. Nearly four years later, fans still wonder what the meaning behind the name The Tig was. In fact, it’s short for Tignanello wine. In a 2014 Allure magazine interview, Meghan explained: “I had a sip of it six years ago, and it was my first aha moment… You spend years going, ‘Oh, I’ll just have red or white. I don’t really know what the difference is.’ But then one day you take a sip of something and you’re like, I get it.” 

“So The Tig became this personal idea of getting it — fashion, travel, beauty, all of it,” she added. 

Meghan has two uniquely old-school skills. 

You might expect a former actress-influencer to be a little bit silly — more concerned about clothes and makeup than art and literature. But that’s not the case with Meghan. (And why does a woman have to be one or the other anyway, right?) The Duchess of Sussex has two uniquely old-school interests: bookbinding and calligraphy. On her 2019 royal tour of Africa, she connected with craftsmen at Victoria Yards, a social enterprise that gives a platform to local artisans, over their shared love of making book spines from recycled materials. Apparently, Meghan had taken a bookbinding course several years prior.  

As for calligraphy, Meghan says she learned good penmanship at her all-girls Catholic school, and later used her handwriting talents to support her acting pursuits. “When I was auditioning, at the onset, instead of waiting tables, I did calligraphy,” Markle told Glamour. A representative for the Paper Source, a retail cards, gifts, and stationery chain, said in a statement that Meghan worked as a workshop instructor at their Beverly Hills location, leading tutorials in paper arts, while getting her start as an actress. Pretty nifty, no?  

Meghan habla Español (and French).  

In Europe, where most countries are the size of a single US state, almost everyone speaks two, three, and sometimes four (or more!) languages. For Americans, who have less exposure to neighboring nations because our country is so darn big, second languages are rare, and third languages are all but extraordinary. That’s perhaps why many are surprised to learn that Meghan speaks not one, but two languages after English. She learned Spanish interning at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires in her twenties, and she studied French for six years. Bravo, Madamoiselle Markle! And Feliz Cumpleaños to you! 

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