Meghan Markle's Life Before Prince Harry: 11 Things We Learned in Andrew Morton's Unauthorized Biography

A new book by Andrew Morton, Princess Diana's biographer, paints the bride-to-be in a different light.

How did Meghan Markle become the world's most talked about celebrity?

Author Andrew Morton -- the man behind the 1992 book Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words -- is turning his attention to a new royal in Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, out now. The unauthorized biography takes a look at the 36-year-old actress' life before she got engaged to Prince Harry

While Morton did not interview Meghan herself, he did speak with former childhood friends, old coworkers and estranged family members to offer insight into her California upbringing as well as her struggle to make it in Hollywood.

Here are the biggest bombshells from Morton's book:

1. Meghan Saw Princess Diana as a Role Model

According to the book, at age 16, Meghan watched the 1997 funeral of Princess Diana with her friends, and it quickly became a topic of discussion at her high school, Immaculate Heart, in Los Angeles, California. 

Morton claims that Meghan and her friend, Suzy Ardakani, became fascinated with the royals and went back and watched Diana's wedding to Harry's father, Prince Charles, in 1981.

"She saw [Diana] as a role model. Inspired by the princess, she and Suzy collected clothes and toys for less privileged children," Morton writes. "In fact, such was Meghan’s interest that Suzy’s mother, Sonia, even gave her a copy of my biography, Diana: Her True Story, which remained on her bookshelves for the next few years."

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2. How Being a Child of Divorce Impacted Her

Like Harry, Meghan's parents, Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland, also divorced when she was very young. She was just two years old when they separated and seems to have split her childhood pretty equally among her two parents.

"I know that was difficult for her,” a former teacher from her high school is quoted as saying. “One parent over here, one over there, neither particularly fond of each other.”

Being a child of divorce did come with some life lessons. “She is very poised,” a former school friend says. “It could be hard for her. Sometimes she felt she had to pick sides.”

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3. Meghan Didn't Seem That Into Her Deal or No Deal Gig

Meghan became briefcase girl number 24 in season two of the hit game show hosted by Howie Mandel. According to another briefcase girl at the time, Tameka Jacobs, the job paid $800 per episode.

"She was a super sweet, adorable, a little sheltered, wholesome with a good head on her shoulders," Tameka tells Morton. "Looking back, it was clear that she had a brand and wanted to protect that brand for a future career as a serious actor."

The future royal seemed to keep some distance from her coworkers and for that, she stood out. According to Morton, she never joined in nights out in West Hollywood, never brought her boyfriend to the set like the other women, avoided office gossip and indulged in pizza or bags of chips while the other women "sucked hard candy and ate raw vegetables" backstage.

4. Before The Tig, Meghan Had a Secret Blog

As a struggling actress looking for her next big break, Meghan needed an outlet to express herself. She started an anonymous blog called Working Actress in January 2010. While Meghan never confirmed that she was the one behind it, Morton's sources identified The Suits star as the writer.

And a sampling of the posts don't sound too far off from the voice Meghan cultivated on her lifestyle blog, The Tig: "I'm not gonna lie. I've spent many days curled up in bed with a loaf of bread and some wine. A one-woman pity party. It's awful and ridiculous... All you're doing is setting yourself up for heartbreak."

Also like The Tig, Working Actress was short-lived, shutting down in 2012.

5. Inside Meghan's First Marriage

Before Prince Harry swept her off her feet, Meghan met film producer Trevor Engelson in a West Hollywood dive bar. A hustler born in Great Neck, New York, his drive to succeed in Hollywood matched Meghan's perfectly -- with her running to audition after audition, while he read script after script looking for his next big hit.

In the fall of 2010, Trevor whisked Meghan away to a beach resort in Belize just after she finished shooting the pilot for Suits in New York City. It was here that he proposed (no cozy night roasting a chicken here!) after six years of dating.

On Sept. 10, 2011, the two married at the Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios. “It was such a moving wedding,” recalls one of her bridesmaids in the book. “I started crying the moment I saw her in her dress.”

The book notes that the two recited vows that they had written themselves and the ceremony ended with the traditional Jewish Hava Nagila, sung while the bride and groom were lifted up in chairs. In addition, there were also numerous parties and beach wheelbarrow races. And best of all? Meghan was able to outsource all the wedding planning to the in-house wedding coordinator. Quite a different story from Meghan's current situation.

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6. Can Meghan's Divorce Be Traced Back to a $500 Blender?

While many describe the end of Meghan and Trevor's divorce as sudden, Morton writes that it all became clear one fateful day: when Meghan packed up the $500 Vitamix blender from the couple's L.A. home and moved it to Toronto, where she was relocating to shoot Suits.

In the summer of 2013, Morton claims Meghan's friends told him that they were shocked to learn that she and Trevor were divorcing after two years of marriage.

According to one source in the book, Meghan "sent her diamond wedding and engagement rings back to Trevor by registered post." Another source claims that her decision to end her marriage felt like it came “totally out of the blue."

Abby Wathen, who costarred with Meghan in a low budget movie, offers this take on the split: "We both went through divorce, so we bounded on that too. I was destroyed, but she was empowered. She took her power back. It wasn't the right relationship for her, so she moved on."

7. When Harry Met Meghan...

We all know the of the royal couple's fated meeting by now -- a blind date set up by Violet von Westenholz, a Ralph Lauren PR executive -- Meghan was working with the brand at the time -- and Harry's friend. 

"She was immediately sensitive to him, aware that this was a man who, beneath the banter and the surface chatter, was looking for a safe harbor," reads a line out of the book. "The question she asked herself after that first intoxicating meeting was could she provide it -- and all that entailed."

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8. Meghan Wins Over the Queen

Queen Elizabeth had to sign off on Harry's engagement before he could even pop the question. According to the book, Meghan practiced afternoon tea when she visited the Rose Tree Cottage in Pasadena, California, a few months before the big meeting.

Harry and Meghan joined his grandmother for a one-hour afternoon tea meeting in her private sitting room in Buckingham Palace. They arrived so discreetly that senior palace staffers didn't even know about the meeting until a few days later, according to Morton. And it would be another week until the news made it out to the press.

The Queen was quick to give her approval to her grandson. Morton writes that a former senior royal official told him that were it a few years ago, this would have "been a grim, unhappy confrontation," but Harry has since built up a trust with his grandmother. 

"The queen trusts her grandsons. She has confidence in them in a way that she never has had with her eldest son," a courtier told Morton. "They have really established themselves as being in touch with the public. [Prince] William and Harry have star quality, and are believable and authentic heirs to the monarchy."

9. The Inventive Way Prince Harry Showed The Queen Suits

A question that's long been on royal watchers' minds: has the Queen seen Meghan in Suits. The USA network drama certainly featured some racy scenes that would be sure to make anyone's grandmother blush. So how did proud fiancé Prince Harry go about showing off Meghan's work?

According to Morton: "Prince Harry made an edited YouTube version of her show Suits to set before the Queen and Prince Philip so that they could understand more clearly what their grandson saw in her."

10. There's a Novel Inspired by Meghan

Meghan has apparently already inspired literature. According to Morton, the Suits star's best friend, Lindsay Roth, wrote a novel titled What Pretty Girls Are Made Of that follows the life of Alison Kraft, a girl "who grows up wanting to be an actress and struggles to nail auditions."

Morton writes that Roth sent a copy to Meghan's future sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, at Kensington Palace, to which she received a thank-you card from the Duchess of Cambridge. This was reportedly long before Meghan and Harry even met. 

As fans eagerly pore over Morton's book, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, here's a look at what we can expect from the royal wedding on May 19: 



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