Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in 2014, photo by kathclick /

Birth Name: Rachel Meghan Markle

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: August 4, 1981

*father – German, English, Irish, Scottish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and remote French
*mother – African-American

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, previously known as Meghan Markle, is an American actress, model, author, and humanitarian. She has starred on the show Suits, appeared in the films Remember Me, Horrible Bosses, Dysfunctional Friends, Random Encounters, and Anti-Social, narrated the documentary Elephant (2020), and ran the lifestyle blog The Tig. She has participated in charity work related to women’s issues and social justice, and launched the podcast Archetypes.

Duchess Meghan is the daughter of Doria Loyce (Ragland) and Thomas Wayne Markle, a lighting director who worked on Married… with Children. She was raised in View Park–Windsor Hills, Los Angeles. She is married to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, with whom she has two children, including Prince Archie of Sussex. The couple has stepped down as working royals. They have launched public organization Archewell, Inc., focusing on non-profit activities and creative media ventures.

Her father is white and her mother is black. A picture of Duchess Meghan with her father can be seen here. Pictures of Duchess Meghan with her mother can be seen here and here. More pictures of her family, specifically her mother’s side, can be seen here.

An essay Duchess Meghan composed about her biracial identity can be read here. She writes, among other things:

‘What are you?’ A question I get asked every week of my life, often every day… ‘Where are your parents from?’… While I could say Pennsylvania and Ohio… I instead give them what they’re after: ‘My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white.’…

While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman. That when asked to choose my ethnicity in a questionnaire as in my seventh grade class, or these days to check ‘Other’, I simply say: ‘Sorry, world, this is not Lost and I am not one of The Others. I am enough exactly as I am.’

She has also specified:

My mom is black and my dad is Dutch and Irish, so the texture of my hair is densely curly. I’ve been getting Brazilian blowouts for a couple of years.

Duchess Meghan’s Dutch ancestry is really Pennsylvania Dutch, the name for ethnic Germans who lived in Pennsylvania; her German ancestry includes Alsatian Germans. Her father also has a preponderance of English ancestry, with Colonial American roots going back to the 1600s, as well as some Irish, Scottish, and Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and remote French, ancestry. Duchess Meghan and her husband Harry share a common ancestor in the 1500s; the details of this remote genealogical relation can be seen here.

Duchess Meghan’s maternal grandparents were/are both black, from African-American families.

Duchess Meghan has also said:

I took an African-American studies class at Northwestern (university) where we explored colourism; it was the first time I could put a name to feeling too light in the black community, too mixed in the white community… For castings, I was labelled ‘ethnically ambiguous’. Was I Latina? Sephardic (Jewish)? Exotic Caucasian?

Duchess Meghan in 2011, photo by DFree/

Several web sites have stated that Duchess Meghan’s father is Jewish. This is not accurate. While her wedding to her first husband, producer Trevor Engelson, was Jewish or had Jewish elements, that is because Trevor is Jewish. It is possible that Duchess Meghan converted to Trevor’s faith, but there is no particular indication of this being the case. She joined the Church of England upon marrying Prince Harry.

Duchess Meghan is said to be a distant relative of professional baseball player Mookie Betts, through her Betts line.

Duchess Meghan’s paternal grandfather was Gordon Arnold Markle/Markel (the son of Isaac Thomas Markle/Markel and Ruth Ann Arnold). Gordon was born in Juniata County, Pennsylvania. Isaac was the son of George Benjamin Markle/Markel and Mary Jane Mangle/Mengle. Ruth was the daughter of Adam A. Arnold and Martha J. “Mattie” Sykes, who was born in England; her father was from Kimberworth, South Yorkshire and her mother from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.

Duchess Meghan has said:

I rarely saw my Grandma Markle, as she hailed from New Hampshire and spent much of her life in Pennsylvania and Florida…

Duchess Meghan’s paternal grandmother was Doris Mary Rita Sanders (the daughter of Fred George Sanders and Gertrude May Merrill). Doris was born in New Hampshire. Fred was born in Lake Village, now Lakeport, Belknap, New Hampshire, the son of George Sanders, who was born in England, and of Maria Belle Ellsworth. Gertrude was born in Meredith, Belknap, New Hampshire, the daughter of George David Merrill and Mary Bird, who was born on Malta, to an English father and an Irish mother, from Ballinasloe, County Galway. Her family moved to Canada.

Duchess Meghan’s maternal grandfather was Alvin Azell Ragland (the son of Steve R. Ragland and Lois Russell). Alvin was born in Tennessee, and was African-American. Steve was born in Georgia, the son of Jeremiah/Jerry M. Ragland and Claudie/Claudia Ritchie/Richie. Lois was born in Tennessee, the daughter of James Russell and Virginia Bettes/Betts.

Duchess Meghan’s maternal grandmother was Jeanette Arnold (the daughter of James Arnold and Nettie M. Allen). Jeanette was born in Sandusky, Erie, Ohio, and was African-American. Nettie was the daughter of Luther Hunter Allen and Gertrude Parks/Gertrude Elizabeth Sadler.

Meghan Markle

Duchess Meghan in 2011, Photo by kathclick/

Duchess Meghan’s father’s ancestry first publicly documented on the internet on her ethnicelebs page, by Follers (May 21, 2017)

Sources: Family histories of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex –

Genealogies of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex –

Genealogy of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (focusing on her father’s side) –

Marriage announcement of Duchess Meghan’s paternal grandparents, Gordon Arnold Markle/Markel and Doris Mary Rita Sanders –

Marriage record of Duchess Meghan’s paternal grandparents, Gordon Arnold Markle/Markel and Doris Mary Rita Sanders –

Duchess Meghan’s paternal grandfather, Gordon Arnold Markle/Markel, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Duchess Meghan’s father (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Duchess Meghan’s paternal grandmother, Doris Mary Rita Sanders, on the 1930 U.S. Census –
Doris Mary Rita Sanders on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Duchess Meghan’s paternal great-grandparents, Fred George Sanders and Gertrude May Merrill –

Duchess Meghan’s paternal great-grandparents, Fred George Sanders and Gertrude May Merrill, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Duchess Meghan’s paternal great-grandmother, Gertrude May Merrill (focusing on her own father’s side) –

Duchess Meghan’s paternal great-grandmother, Gertrude May Merrill, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Duchess Meghan’s paternal great-great-grandparents, George David Merrill and Mary Bird, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Information about Duchess Meghan’s paternal great-great-grandmother, Mary Bird’s, family –

Duchess Meghan’s maternal great-grandfather, Steve R. Ragland, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Duchess Meghan’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Jeremiah/Jerry M. Ragland, on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Death record of Duchess Meghan’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Jeremiah/Jerry M. Ragland –

Genealogy of Meghan’s maternal grandmother, Jeanette (Arnold) Johnson –

145 Responses

  1. indo says:

    Racially ambiguous looking woman

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