The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle has Irish roots, and one of her relatives worked in Windsor Castle as part of the household staff.
The media has had an up-and-down relationship with Californian-born Markle ever since she and Prince Harry announced they had been dating in late 2016.
In 2017, it was revealed that Markle’s great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Bird, was a loyal member of staff at the royal palaces.
Mary was born in Ireland but moved to England and married an English soldier named Thomas Bird. She worked as part of the household staff at Windsor Castle during the mid-1800s.
She had three daughters with her husband, one of whom is Markle’s great-great-grandmother, also called Mary.
The family moved to Canada after Thomas died, before moving on to the USA.
Markle is a former actress and became used to the spotlight after her sucess playing Rachel Zane in the hit American series Suits.
However, she has become one of te most talked about women in the world ever since the beginning of her relationship with Prince Harry.
There has been much discussion about her mixed family heritage. Her father is of Dutch-Irish descent and her mother is African-American.
Markle has spoken about the confusion she faced as a child about her own identity.
She told Elle magazine: “There was a mandatory census I had to complete in my English class – you had to check one of the boxes to indicate your ethnicity: white, black, Hispanic or Asian.
“There I was, my curly hair, my freckled face, my pale skin, my mixed race, looking down at these boxes, not wanting to mess up, but not knowing what to do.
“You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other – and one half of myself over the other.
“My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. ‘Because that’s how you look, Meghan,’ she said. I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion.
“I couldn’t bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn’t tick a box. I left my identity blank – a question mark, an absolute incomplete – much like how I felt.”
Written by Andrew Moore
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