How Meghan Markle went from a working actress to a royal to an executive producer for a new Netflix show

Meghan markle
From a number of smaller acting roles and a breakout role on ‘Suits’ to becoming a duchess and leaving the royal family, Meghan Markle’s career has evolved greatly over the years. MICHELE SPATARI/Getty Images

1993: An 11-year-old Meghan Markle made her first TV appearance, speaking out against a “sexist” Procter & Gamble commercial for Ivory dishwasher soap.
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Meghan Markle on a ‘Nick News’ segment. Inside Edition/YouTube
During a UN Women’s event in 2015, Markle spoke about her reaction to seeing a Procter & Gamble commercial that suggested women were the ones responsible for doing the dishes at home. The commercial used the tagline, “Women are fighting greasy pots and pans with Ivory Soap.”

“… Two boys from my class said, ‘Yeah, that’s where women belong, in the kitchen,'” she said in her speech. “I remember feeling shocked and angry and also just feeling so hurt — it just wasn’t right and something needed to be done.”

“So I went home and I told my dad what had happened, and he encouraged me to write letters, so I did,” she continued. 

She did just that. According to Insider, Markle wrote letters to the first lady at the time, Hillary Clinton, TV journalist Linda Ellerbee, attorney Gloria Allred, and Procter & Gamble. The women responded to Markle, encouraging her for speaking out. The company also amended its advertisement’s messaging.

A few years later, in 1999, Markle would reappear in front of the camera — she made her music video debut in Tori Amos’ 1999 hit song “1000 Oceans.”

1995: Before making it big as an actress, Markle worked at a frozen yogurt shop called Humphrey Yogart.
Meghan Markle Humphrey Yogart
“Meghan was still at school – maybe a little older than 13 as the rules are strict in California,” her former boss, Paula Sheftel, told the Mirror in 2017. “She earned minimum wage and was very popular with customers. She had to prove she had an outgoing personality and would work well with staff.”
2002: Markle landed her first official TV acting credit as Nurse Jill, a small role in “General Hospital.”
Meghan Markle on general hospital
Meghan Markle in ‘General Hospital.’ ABC
Though she was only in two episodes, it was her first role in a major television series. In the first episode, Markle could be seen speaking on the phone with a patient.
Throughout the early 2000s, Markle landed a number of one-time roles on shows like “CSI,” “The League,” and “Knight Rider,” as well as a recurring role on “90210.”
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Meghan Markle in 2006. Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images
She often portrayed racier roles and love interests. Markle also acted in the science-fiction legal drama “Century City,” which ran for only five episodes.
2005: Markle worked as a freelance calligrapher – she even did the wedding invitations for Paula Patton and Robin Thicke’s 2005 nuptials.
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Meghan Markle. WPA Pool/Getty Images
Markle spoke to Esquire in 2013 about her side business, calling freelance calligraphy “super-lucrative because there are so few people doing it.”

In addition to doing the wedding invitations for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton, who divorced in 2014, Markle told the magazine that she also did holiday cards Dolce & Gabbana sent out to celebrities and notable people.

“I would sit there with a little white tube sock on my hand so no hand oils got on the card, trying to pay my bills while auditioning,” she said.

Markle also taught two-hour classes on the art of calligraphy at the Paper Source store in Beverly Hills.

2007: Markle appeared as one of the briefcase girls on “Deal or No Deal.”
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Meghan Markle on ‘Deal or No Deal.’ NBCUniversal
She appeared in multiple episodes of the popular game show as one of the cocktail dress-wearing “briefcase girls.” However, it wasn’t as easy as it might look.

“I would end up standing up there forever in these terribly uncomfortable and inexpensive five-inch heels just waiting for someone to pick my number so I could go and sit down,” she once said in an interview.

2009: Markle starred in a 2009 Tostitos commercial.
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Meghan Markle. Chris Jackson/Getty Images and Frito-Lay
The commercial, which can be found on YouTube, features shots of Markle perusing the chip aisle. However, Markle never speaks in the commercial and a different woman’s voice is used for voiceover dialogue.
2010: Markle acted alongside Robert Pattinson in “Remember Me” as a bartender.
Meghan markle from a scene in the movie 'remember me'
Meghan Markle in ‘Remember Me.’ Warner Bros.
Markle only appears in the movie for a few seconds, interacting briefly with Pattinson’s character Tyler and his friend Aidan Hall.
2011: Markle’s life changed after earning her breakout role as Rachel Zane on “Suits.”
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Meghan Markle on ‘Suits’ in 2017. Ian Watson/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images
She appeared in episodes from 2011 to 2018.

“I see Rachel as such a good friend, and when you play a character you love, it’s so much easier. I root for her; I’m almost like a fan,” she told Marie Claire in 2018.

“If I wasn’t on the show, I would really love this show, because each of the characters are like someone you know,” she continued. “Rachel is like the ultimate best friend — who has a closet that I always borrow things from in my personal life.”

2014: Markle started a lifestyle blog called “The Tig,” named after her favorite wine.
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Meghan Markle cooking in the kitchen on an official royal engagement. CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
She shared her favorite recipes, restaurants, and vacation locations, wrote about life experiences, and also interviewed celebrities for her “Tig Talks” series. She ran the blog until 2017. 

About seven months before the announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry, Markle shut down The Tig, saying goodbye to what she called an “amazing community of inspiration, support, fun, and frivolity.” People reported that she was just too busy to keep it up. 

2016: Meghan Markle appeared as a guest judge on Food Network’s “Chopped Junior.”
Meghan markle on chopped junior
Meghan Markle on ‘Chopped Junior.’ Food Network Australia
Markle is a self-described “foodie” — she’s even a huge fan of celebrity chef Ina Garten — so it was no surprise when she landed a guest judging spot on the popular children’s cooking series.
November 27, 2017: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement to the public, making the actress a duchess-to-be.
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry after announcing their engagement. Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images
According to the couple, the proposal happened quite spontaneously. 

“It happened a few weeks ago, earlier this month, here at our cottage; just a standard typical night for us,” Prince Harry later told the BBC.

Markle added, “[We were] trying to roast a chicken and it just — just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee.”

Markle’s life and career were about to change drastically. She would be expected to fulfill her royal duties as a duchess, which included moving across the ocean to London, and she announced she would no longer act.

November 29, 2017: Immediately following the engagement announcement, it was officially confirmed that Markle would be exiting “Suits” after seven seasons.
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Meghan Markle in her final episode of ‘Suits.’ Universal Cable Productions
“From all of us at USA Network and Universal Cable Productions, we want to send our most heartfelt congratulations to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on their engagement,” USA Network said in a statement.

“Meghan has been a member of our family for seven years and it has been a joy to work with her. We want to thank her for her undeniable passion and dedication to ‘Suits,’ and we wish her the very best.”

Her storyline was wrapped up with her character, Rachel Zane, marrying Patrick J. Adams, who plays her love interest Mike Ross throughout the show’s seven seasons.

May 19, 2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Meghan Markle wedding
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on their wedding day. Ben Stansall – WPA Pool/Getty Images
Celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams, and Elton John, were invited to the celebrations, while thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to wave at the couple, who arrived at the reception via a horse-drawn carriage.
2018-2019: Markle and Prince Harry embarked on a number of royal appearances and charitable trips as part of the royal family.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool/Getty Images
In the months leading up to their May wedding, they traveled across the United Kingdom and even made a surprise appearance in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in March.

Later, in October 2018, the couple toured Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand for 16 days. During the jam-packed tour, Meghan Markle performed a traditional greeting, the Hongi, with the governor-general of New Zealand, pictured.

The couple also cuddled with koalas in Sydney, met with youth mental health organizations, took part in traditional ceremonies, met foreign leaders, and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Wellington, New Zealand

January 2020: The couple shared their decision to be “financially independent” and take a “step back” from the royal family.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in January 2020. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/WPA Pool/Getty Images
“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the statement read. “We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.

“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.” 

In the couple’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, Prince Harry revealed the primary reason for them leaving their royal roles was a “lack of support and lack of understanding” from both the media and the royal family.

March 2020: Now living in Canada, Markle and Prince Harry returned to the UK for their final engagements as senior royals.
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in March 2020. Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
The couple attended the Commonwealth Day service and the Endeavour Fund Awards — where they were photographed smiling at each other in the rain in a now-iconic photograph — as well as the Mountbatten Music Festival.
September 2020: It was announced that Markle and Prince Harry, who had moved to California in July, had signed a landmark production deal with Netflix.
Netflix
Netflix. Photo by Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images
According to The New York Times, the couple planned to produce documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted television shows, and children’s programming under their new business. 

“Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope,” Harry and Markle told the outlet. “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.”

October 2020: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry founded Archewell Inc., which includes the couple’s nonprofit charitable foundation and a media production company.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
“Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of ‘Arche’ — the Greek word meaning ‘source of action.’ We connected to this concept for the charitable organization we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name,” Harry and Markle said in a statement in April 2020, prior to officially launching the new venture.

From its inception, Archewell was described as a primarily charitable organization. However, other subsects would allow the couple to dip their toes into media production with “education and training materials” through films, podcasts, and books.

February 19, 2021: Buckingham Palace confirmed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would no longer work on behalf of the royal family.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Mountbatten Music Festival at Royal Albert Hall on March 7, 2020. SIMON DAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement. “While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family.”

In addition to losing their involvement with numerous UK charities and patronages, Prince Harry will lose his honorary military appointments with The Royal Marines, the RAF Honington, and the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving.

People reported that the couple will retain their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles and will still be referred to as His/Her Royal Highness, though they do not actively use either of their titles.

In a statement released by Prince Harry and Markle, the couple said they “remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role.”

“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,” they concluded.

May 17, 2021: Meghan Markle made a cameo in the official trailer for Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey’s new docuseries about mental health, “The Me You Can’t See.”
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in the trailer for ‘The Me You Can’t See.’ Apple TV
The first official trailer for the new docuseries featured interview clips from celebrities like Lady Gaga, Glenn Close, and Prince Harry. Harry has previously been open about his own mental health struggles and even revealed that it was Markle who encouraged him to seek out therapy.
June 8, 2021: Meghan Markle published her first children’s book, “The Bench.”
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Meghan Markle and the cover of her book ‘The Bench.’ Facundo Arrizabalaga – Pool/Getty Images, Penguin Random House
“The Bench” started off as a poem Markle wrote for Prince Harry for Father’s Day about his relationship with their son, Archie, and was later turned into a full-fledged children’s book. In less than a week after its release, “The Bench” became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller

“While this poem began as a love letter to my husband and son, I’m encouraged to see that its universal themes of love, representation, and inclusivity are resonating with communities everywhere,” Markle wrote in a statement on the Archewell website, thanking readers for making the book a bestseller.

July 14, 2021: It was announced that Meghan Markle will serve as an executive producer for the Netflix children’s series “Pearl.”
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Meghan Markle. Chris Jackson/Getty Images
“Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges,” Markle said in a statement. 

“I’m thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix, and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history,” she continued. “David Furnish and I have been eager to bring this special series to light, and I am delighted we are able to announce it today.”

Though Markle has no official plans to act, the California native appears to have finally come full circle from her days as a working actress to now a powerful voice at a major production company.