Meghan Markle has experienced remarkable highs and lows during a tumultuous three-year period in which she married into royalty and became a mother before souring on life in Britain and returning to the United States.
The 39-year-old former television actress shot to global stardom with her engagement to Prince Harry in 2017 and their fairytale wedding six months later.
She gave birth to their son, Archie, in May 2019.
But although initially hailed as a breath of fresh air for the royal family, it gradually became clear she was struggling to cope with the strictures and scrutiny of royal life in Britain.
The couple announced they wanted to step back from their frontline duties at the start of this year, then permanently relocated to Los Angeles in a move dubbed “Megxit”.
Her candid admission of having a miscarriage, published in the New York Times on Wednesday, is the latest example of her determination to do things her own way.
The revelation comes as the couple wage an increasingly public battle about their right to privacy, including legal action against some British media outlets.
It has echoes of Harry’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who reportedly suffered a miscarriage in 1983 and then became more outspoken in her later life.
Following in Diana’s footsteps, Meghan is a United Nations advocate for women’s empowerment and a global ambassador for the World Vision Canada relief agency.
She and Harry have also signed an exclusive deal with streaming giant Netflix, which recently launched the latest series of its hit series “The Crown”, focusing on Diana.
Rachel Meghan Markle was born in Los Angeles in 1981 to Thomas Markle, a white, Emmy Award-winning TV lighting director, and Doria Ragland, a black social worker and yoga instructor.
On her mother’s side, her ancestors were slaves on cotton plantations in Georgia. Her mother’s surname is taken from a slave owner.
Meghan’s parents separated when she was two and divorced five years later. She is now estranged from her father and his other children, her older half-sister and half-brother.
Before her May 2018 wedding, her father took part in staged paparazzi photos, then suffered chest pains and needed heart surgery, causing him to miss her big day.
His leak to the press of a handwritten letter from Meghan pleading with him to stop feeding journalists stories seems to have done irreparable damage to their relationship.
Meghan went to a private Catholic girls’ school where she is remembered for her strong sense of right and wrong. She went on to study theatre and international relations at university.
The future Duchess of Sussex graduated in 2003, after which she landed a six-week internship as a press officer at the US embassy in Argentina.
Back in Los Angeles, in 2004 she fell in love with go-getting film producer Trevor Engelson, who helped her get on the acting ladder as she struggled for bit parts.
Soon after their engagement, Meghan landed her signature role in US legal drama “Suits” as savvy paralegal Rachel Zane.
She also cultivated a high profile for herself outside the show, attracting millions of followers on her now-closed personal Instagram account and lifestyle blog, The Tig.
Meghan was also revealed as the anonymous blogger behind The Working Actress, which chronicled the struggles of hustling for parts in Hollywood.
As her career took off, Engelson’s faltered, and their marriage collapsed in 2013 after two years.
Through a mutual friend, she met Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson Harry in July 2016 while visiting London. Their romance quickly blossomed on a whirlwind camping trip to Botswana.
Their engagement was announced in November 2017 and their glittering wedding, with a gospel choir and evangelical preacher, was seen as a moment of renewal for the royal family.
But media coverage became increasingly negative, with talk of rifts with her sister-in-law Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Staff reportedly quit in droves because of her pushy style.
A vastly expensive, celebrity-laden New York baby shower also attracted criticism, as did expensive repairs at public expense to their home in the grounds of Windsor Castle.