A princess in wait­ing

Ac­tress will shake up roy­als

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

PER­FECT FIT FOR PRINCE HARRY

para­le­gal Rachel Zane in hit US se­ries Suits.

But Ni­naki Priddy, who was best friends with the star since they were two, is cyn­i­cal about her rise to fame.

She said: “Meg al­ways wanted to be fa­mous. She just loved to be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion. We used to imag­ine her re­ceiv­ing an Os­car. She used to prac­tise an­nounc­ing her­self.

“All I can say now is that I think Meghan was very cal­cu­lated in how she han­dled peo­ple and re­la­tion­ships.

“She is very strate­gic in the way she cul­ti­vates cir­cles of friends.

“Once she de­cides you’re not part of her life, she can be very cold.”

Ni­naki knows how be­ing shut out feels, just like film pro­ducer Trevor En­gel­son when his three-year mar­riage to Meghan ended in di­vorce, due to ir­rec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences.

Meghan was raised by her mum Do­ria Ragland, a yoga in­struc­tor and so­cial worker de­scribed by Prince Harry as “amaz­ing”, from a young age after the di­vorce from light­ing di­rec­tor Thomas Markle.

As the daugh­ter of a cau­casian man and an African Amer­i­can mum, Meghan strug­gled with her mixe­drace roots. In an es­say for mag­a­zine Elle UK in 2015, she re­called how a teacher told her to tick the box for cau­casian on a form: “Be­cause that’s how you look, Meghan.”

The star wrote: “I put down my pen. Not as an act of de­fi­ance, but rather a symp­tom of my con­fu­sion.” The ex­pe­ri­ence stayed with Meghan and has en­cour­aged her to speak out for eth­nic mi­nori­ties and women.

She said: “Some house­holds may never have had a black person in their house as a guest, or some­one bi-racial. Well, now there are a lot of us on your TV and in your home.”

She has re­mained close to both of her par­ents, pre­vi­ously pub­licly cred­it­ing her dad on so­cial me­dia for her “work ethic” and her “sig­na­ture Markle nose”. But pic­tures have emerged show­ing it’s not all work for the star.

Shots of her pos­ing in an un­but­toned top, aged 21, draped over a good look­ing young man at her grad­u­a­tion are far more risque than the cat­walk pic­ture of a young Kate Mid­dle­ton at the Univer­sity of St An­drews.

Her wed­ding to Harry at Wind­sor cas­tle in May is likely to be a far less for­mal af­fair than Kate’s big day. Friends are also al­ready talk­ing about su­per­stars Adele and El­ton John as pos­si­ble per­form­ers at the cer­e­mony.

Meghan may break with royal tra­di­tions that some will find dif­fi­cult to swal­low but it was Princess Diana who first blurred the lines be­tween roy­alty and celebrity.

She in­tro­duced her sons to a world of show­biz pals from a young age so it is per­haps un­sur­pris­ing that Harry is at­tracted to a fun-lov­ing, con­fi­dent, beau­ti­ful woman who shares so many of his mum’s traits.

For all those who see Meghan’s pub­lic dis­plays of af­fec­tion, her ease in the spot­light and out­spo­ken per­son­al­ity as un­fit­ting of a royal, her celebrity sta­tus and re­lat­able past may well be the mak­ing of her.

On Fri­day, thou­sands waited pa­tiently in Not­ting­ham to see the newly en­gaged cou­ple at their first of­fi­cial en­gage­ment. Harry may just have found the per­fect fit.

Young­ster with big dreams

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