Meghan Markle on her 40th birthday: A look at how she went from TV star to Duchess of Sussex in a decade

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Meghan Markle is ushering in a new decade as the royal is celebrating her 40th birthday Wednesday.

Before marrying Prince Harry, Markle was making headlines as an actress, beginning with a 1995 appearance on “Married… with Children,” per IMDb. From there, she made a one-off appearance on “General Hospital,” the long-running ABC soap opera that her father, Thomas, worked on.

Since then, the star appeared in a number of high-profile television series, including “Suits,” which saw her star as Rachel Zane from 2011 until her exit in 2018.

While she had a growing career in the years before she joined the royal family, there is no doubt that her last decade has been quite an adventure. Here’s a look at Markle’s biggest moments from the last 10 years:


Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane in USA’s ‘Suits.’
(Robert Ascroft/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

In late 2011, Markle married producer Trevor Engleson, who worked with her on the 2010 flick “Remember Me,” starring Robert Pattinson.

As far as her acting career, 2011 was a big year for Markle as well. “Suits” began airing on USA, which put her in the spotlight in her biggest role yet.

She also appeared in arguably her most famous movie, “Horrible Bosses,” alongside the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Donald Sutherland and more.

She was also featured in “The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down.”

According to Daily Mail, this was also when she met her close pal, Jessica Mulroney, though they would later have a falling out.


Trevor Engelson and Meghan Markle.
(Michael Kovac/WireImage)

After about 18 months of marriage, Markle and Engelson, now 44, split. According to Town & Country, the two were granted a no-fault divorce after citing irreconcilable differences.


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry met in 2016.
(Getty Images)

In 2016, Markle split from her boyfriend, celebrity chef Cory Vitiello after about two years of dating. The Telegraph reports that the two were still dating when Markle met Harry, now 36.

A few months after splitting from the chef, the “Suits” alum struck up a relationship with Harry. It wasn’t long before their relationship was publicly confirmed and they began to face the media storm that they’ve since said contributed to their royal exit.


Markle and Harry made their first public appearance together in 2017 at the Invictus Games.
(Karwai Tang/WireImage)

The two made their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in September 2017 before they announced their engagement in November.

The same year, Markle announced her upcoming retirement from acting, which had slowed down a touch since beginning “Suits.”


Harry and Markle married in 2018.
(AARON CHOWN/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2018, Markle made her official exit from “Suits,” marking her last acting role. Speculation that she may return to the screen someday has been all but shut down, but rumors persist.

In May, Markle and Harry married at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, though it was revealed in the star’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey that she and Harry had privately exchanged vows three days before the May 19 ceremony, which was televised around the world.


Markle and Harry welcomed their first child, Archie, in 2019.
(Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Just days before their one-year anniversary, Markle and Harry welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Archie.

The family seemed to take a dive into royal engagements as their offices moved into Buckingham Palace, but underneath, the couple was struggling with their duties.


Markle and Harry announced in 2020 that they would step back from their royal duties.
(Samir Hussein/WireImage)

It’s not often that a senior member of the British royal family steps down from their position, but on March 31, Harry and Markle announced that they’d do just that.

The announcement shocked the world and rumors swirled that even Harry’s family was unaware. He has denied such speculation.

Details of the exit were kept under wraps while the family worked them out, but it wasn’t long after the announcement was made that reports of a rift between Harry and his family began to surface.

Markle and Harry moved to California – Markle’s home state, where her mother resides – in the summer of 2020. Also over the summer, Markle suffered a miscarriage.

Now financially independent from the royal family and their various trusts, Markle and Harry had to make their own money and chose to do so by signing production deals with Netflix and Spotify.

Their first project on Spotify was a holiday special released just before the end of the year.


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle now live in California and produce content for Netflix and Spotify.
(Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Markle and Harry dove headfirst into their production duties, announcing in April that their first Netflix project would take fans behind the scenes of Harry’s Invictus Games, a series of competitive sports for wounded, injured or ill service members. Additionally, they are working on an animated children’s series called “Pearl.”

In June of 2021, the two welcomed their second child, a daughter named Lillibet – which was a nickname that Harry’s grandfather, the late Prince Phillip, used for Queen Elizabeth II.

Around the time of Lillibet’s birth, Markle published “The Bench,” a children’s book about the relationship between fathers and sons, which paid special tribute to her own husband and son.

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