Markle majored in international relations and theatre at Northwestern University, Illinois. Besides becoming an actor, she became a feminist who worked for UN Women as an advocate for political participation and leadership. Yes, she has been praised and criticised as “outspoken”, but her style never risks being “aggressive” or “combative”, or any of the other words thrown at women who are deemed insufficiently graceful when they disagree with men. Even when she makes staunch political statements, her manner astutely — sometimes cloyingly — balances the forthright and the pleasing. She’s learned to use political maxims and assertions very effectively. As in: “It’s time to focus less on glass slippers and more on glass ceilings.” With the word “fairytale” now a ubiquitous tag line for the royal romance, this should be a useful daily mantra.
The Cinderella story refuses to dwindle into a period piece; in the last 20 years alone there have been six film remakes with white, black and Latina leads. But Markle has not been plucked from poverty or — like the heroines of such romcom adaptations as Pretty Woman and Maid in Manhattan – from the low-status toil and trouble of working-class life. Her net worth as an actor has been estimated at around $5m. An actor’s fortunes can fluctuate, especially when that actor is a woman. But so can the fortunes of a wife. If the royal marriage were to end in divorce, Markle would not have to depend on the Windsor millions nor, like many once-upon-a-time celebrities, design a skincare or jewellery line for QVC.