Since news first broke of Meghan Markle's relationship with Prince Harry, her every move has been the stuff of international headlines - but the 36-year-old's life before her starring role on Suits and whirlwind royal romance isn't well known. Biographer Andrew Morton's new book, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, takes fans on a journey through the actress and activist's past, from her family's royal lineage and love of Princess Diana to the secret classes she took to prepare for tea with the Queen.
As Harry and Meghan's May 19 nuptials draw nearer, we've rounded up ten things we learned about the royal bride-to-be from the pages of Andrew's latest release, which hits bookshelves on Apr. 17.
1. Royally inclined
Meghan was entranced by Princess Diana as a teen and watched her 1997 funeral with friends, sobbing her heart out. “She was given a copy of my book ( Diana: Her True Story ) by the mother of one of her friends, so she may well have read it,” Andrew muses. “It's an instant primer for being a princess.”
2. Celebrity crushes
The future royal was fond of famous faces Dennis Quaid and Canadian Donald Sutherland!
3. Royal lineage
Meghan’s ancestry on her father’s side can be traced back 400 years to the royal families of England and Scotland, including Robert the Bruce – “one of the most successful and best-loved Scottish kings.”
4. A-list connections
Scarlett Johansson went to the same kindergarten as Meghan at L.A.’s elite Little Red School House (Johnny Depp’s kids went there, too). But while young Meghan shone in school productions, Scarlett stayed in the background. Andrew describes her as “a little girl with an unkempt mane of blond hair [and] thick glasses who “always seemed to be in the wars.”
5. Always an activist
From a young age, Meghan stood up for what was right and defended other kids from bullies. “Her attitude was: ‘I can see you are hurt and I’m going to protect you.’” Later, at high school, she volunteered on “one of the worst corners of Skid Row.”
6. Prince Harry's advisor
Prince William advised his younger brother on that Kensington Palace statement. “It's a very different world now,” Andrew tells Hello!. “It's not a world where the Royal Family are prepared to take it on the chin.”
7. Forever a foodie
Unlike her fellow Deal or No Deal models (“briefcase girls”), who snacked on raw vegetables, Meghan ate pizza and chips.
8. Philip's tastes
Prince Philip isn’t a fan of his son Prince Charles’s organic food – but he does do a mean barbecue at Balmoral.
9. Finishing school
Meghan prepared for tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace by honing her skills at Pasadena’s Rose Tree Cottage – “a little slice of England” in the suburbs of L.A., where she “learned to crook her finger as she sipped her Earl Grey tea from her cup and saucer.”
10. Shoutout to Hello!
Andrew Morton liked Hello! Canada’s interview with Meghan so much that he put it in his book! “It’s hilarious,” he told editor-in-chief Alison Eastwood. “You can see in her face, she's thinking, who the hell is Prince William, and who the hell is Prince Harry?” Oh, how times have changed…
For more insights from Andrew Morton including his predictions for Harry and Meghan’s wedding, pick up this week’s issue of Hello! Canada – on newsstands now.