Meghan Markle has dominated headlines in 2018, especially following her pregnancy announcement and royal tour with Prince Harry. While her life has been documented and followed by the media each step of the way since her relationship with Prince Harry became public, who was she before then?

She wasn't unknown to masses, following her role in Suits and being the most googled actress in 2016. At the same time, many of her fans still have no idea of her career path and how the struggling California-based actress became a Duchess at the Kensington Palace.

We have gathered 15 things you probably do not know about Meghan Markle's life before becoming a duchess.

1. She and Harry have common origin

Following Meghan and Harry's engagement in November 2017, the Daily Report released an article with genealogy that claimed Harry and Meghan were very distantly related. The Royal couple of Sussex are distant cousins but cousins nonetheless.

The report which made an extensive investigation through the full family tree claims that Harry, through the Queen Mother's lineage, and Meghan, through her father's lineage, share a common ancestor, an Englishman called Ralph Bowes, fifteen generations back in time. Ralph Bowes was born in 1480 in Streatlam, County Durham, where he served as the High Sheriff. His family seat was Streatlam Castle and lived from 1480-1518.

2. She was the most googled actress in 2016

Although it is a popularly known fact, it still is pretty iconic. In a year where Game of Thrones or Stranger Things were hit movies, Meghan according to analytics provided by the search giant, was the most googled actress despite not starring in any of the movies.

It was also not for her work on Suits. Following rumors of her relationship with Prince Harry, she became highly searched for with the top queries including “harry meghan markle”, “meghan prince harry” and “prince harry”.

When the prince confined their relationship in the same year, he blasted the media for subjecting the actress to “waves of abuse”.

Facts and photos of Meghan Markle's pre-royalty life

Facts and photos of Meghan Markle's pre-royalty life

3. She is a Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada

Meghan became a World Vision Global Ambassador in 2016 after traveling to Rwanda to help with a new clean water pipeline. It was one of her many philanthropic initiatives.

Since becoming an ambassador, she has traveled to Africa and India leading an initiative for clean water and inspiring and empowering young women in impoverished parts of the nation. As a strong advocate for gender equality, Markle has worked closely with World Vision to create a trip specifically focusing on and bringing awareness to girls’ lack of access to education.

4. She worked for the US Embassy in Argentina

In an interview with Marie Claire, Markle discussed her career trajectory including her brief stint at the US Embassy in Argentina. She had completed most of her school credits by the end of her junior year, which left her with the ability to accept an internship at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires during her senior year before graduating from Northwestern's School of Communication in 2003.

While the details of Markle's specific duties during the internship are unknown, there is no doubt that she was there during an extremely tumultuous time for Argentina's economy. The Duchess of Sussex said she thought she would have a career in politics following her stay in the South American country.

5. She has a double major

Meghan graduated from Northwestern in 2003 with a double major in theater and international studies. The Duchess, who calls herself a theatre nerd, said acting had been her passion from a young age and decided to study it in college. Not wanting to follow the trend of LA girls who wanted to be actresses, she decided to change her major completely and do a double major in theater and international relations, since she had interests in politics also.

Facts and photos of Meghan Markle's pre-royalty life

Facts and photos of Meghan Markle's pre-royalty life

6. She attended an all-girls Catholic school

Markle attended Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girl Catholic private school in Los Angeles for six years despite being raised as a protestant.

The Duchess recalled that handwriting was a class which helped developed her cursive writings which would, later on, become a skill with which she earned. The former actress revealed her time in the school as not at all glamorous.

“Just picture me with my curly hair and a gap in my teeth and my little school uniform with Keds on,” she recalled in an interview.

7. At 11, she was already popular for speaking out against sexism

In a recently uncovered video from 1993, Meghan Markle throws out some typical sass, standing up for sexism on TV. Inside Edition unearthed footage of Meghan as a determined 11-year-old girl appearing on the Nickelodeon children's show Nick News.

It was sparked by an incident at school when Meghan and her social studies classmates were asked to watch a series of TV commercials and assess their messages. The spirited pre-teen took exception to an ad for Ivory Dish Soap that implied washing up was 'women's work’.

So a young Meghan went home and told her father what had happened. He encouraged her to write letters. So she wrote to Hilary Clinton, civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred and Linda Ellerbee, who hosted the Nickelodeon children's show Nick News.

After receiving encouragement from the three women, Meghan then wrote to the FMCG giant, Proctor & Gamble. Holding an interview in her home, her message was well heard and within a month Proctor & Gamble changed the commercial, swapping out "women" for "people".

8. She and Serena Williams are close friends

The duo, despite being among the most famous women on the planet, have remained close friends through thick and thin. Meghan and Serena met at a Super Bowl party in 2010 and have been firm friends for eight full years.

The ladies hit off easily and have been supporting each other for years. In fact, it is thought that Meghan was in London supporting Serena during a 2016 tennis tournament when she first met Prince Harry.

The Duchess, in a post blog for the Tiger, shared that she and the top tennis player are BFFs and share a penchant for hot sauces and fashion and, most importantly, their endless ambitions.

9. Her workout regime involves yoga and running

"Meghan's fitness definitely takes priority; she's very focused on her health," her trainer of three years, Mr Craig McNamee, told WomensHealthMag.com.

The Duchess enjoys running when she's on a short time and sometimes takes her dog with her. For her, it is also a form of moving meditation.

She also loves yoga as her mother was a yoga instructor. The Duchess keeps her workout routine varied and interesting saying it was just a matter of finding balance.

10. She loves to travel

The Duchess has always been a travel bug even before her engagement to Prince Harry. The duchess told Marie Claire in 2013 that she was crazy about traveling. She had been on many trips through different countries so she'd suit just fine to royal tours.

The Duchess revealed that a personal favorite travel hack of hers was tea tree oil. The inexpensive tea tree oil comes in a portable container and is easy to carry about. It's incredibly useful with mosquito bites, small breakouts, and cuts. Her "little cure-it-all", as she calls it.

11. Her nose is a major plastic surgery request

Ever since her engagement to Prince Harry, the Duchess’ nose has been at the top list of requests for rhinoplasty, popularly known as a nose job. Although the requests peaked after her engagement, it had already been a major request for at least six months before the engagement in November 2017.

According to board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Stephen T. Greenberg, she is one of the tops (if not the top) requests he gets.

12. She is a foodie

Meghan Markle has always been a foodie and, according to the Duchess, her Suits character, Rachel, was also created to be a foodie, based on her own food obsession.

Meghan relishes every chance to hit the kitchen and is always on the quest of finding new recipes and restaurants and also trying out experimental cuisines. She didn't seem to quit after assuming royal duties, as she hit the kitchen at least twice on her first royal tour with Prince Harry.

The Duchess also says she's capable of making a great snack on a whim with the most basic kitchen essentials.

13. She co-designed a capsule collection with a Canadian fashion label

In 2015, Meghan Markle worked as a brand ambassador for Canadian retailer, Reitmans, in an attempt to re-energize the label. In 2016, she became a guest designer and initiated a collection which was sold online and in select stores.

She provided her vision and her ideas of what could be a work-to-weekend capsule collection. Meghan worked together with other designers to bring the capsule to life. With Meghan still in business with the Fashion Label and is a major fashion icon, the label seems to have a steady increase in popularity.

14. She has an incredibly attractive handwriting

Ever since the days of her handwriting classes at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, the Duchess seem have found a great deal in cursive writings.

Meghan has a very neat and attractive handwriting, a testament to her days at the Catholic school. This resulted in a skill for a brief stint in her life. The actress described it as her pseudo-waitressing job while auditioning. Her neat incredible penmanship turned her into an amateur calligrapher as she began doing hand-design wedding invitations for celebrities.

15. She had a brief stint on TV show Deal or No Deal

These days Meghan Markle is the Duchess of Sussex, carrying out royal duties with her husband, Prince Harry, but many years ago, she was a struggling actress trying to make it work as a “briefcase girl” on the game show Deal or No Deal, some time between 2006 and 2007.

The Duchess recalled that in her brief stay there, she never even held the shoe's lucky case. She described her years of being an actress and on the show as tumultuous having to endure freezing studios, stand for hours in uncomfortable high heels.

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