In this Thursday, March 17, 2016 file photo, actress Meghan Markle participates in AOL's BUILD Speaker Series to discuss her role on the television show, "Suits", in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

In this Thursday, March 17, 2016 file photo, actress Meghan Markle participates in AOL’s BUILD Speaker Series to discuss her role on the television show, “Suits”, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

LONDON (AP) _ Who is Meghan Markle? For one, the American actress known for her portrayal of a paralegal in the television show, “Suits” has now been described by Kensington Palace as Prince Harry’s girlfriend.

The British prince took the unusual step Tuesday of commenting publicly on his private life through a statement in which he asked the media to stop subjecting Markle to “a wave of abuse and harassment” because of her relatively recent relationship with him.

Here’s a snapshot of the 35-year-old Markle:

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CALIFORNIA GIRL

Born Aug. 4, 1981, to a clinical therapist mother and television lighting director father. She grew up in Los Angeles.

She studied at a girl’s Roman Catholic high school before attending Northwestern University in Illinois.

“My mother raised me to be a global citizen, with eyes open to sometimes harsh realities,” she said on her blog, thetig.com.

Markle recalled how her mother imparted the lesson.

“I must have been about 10 years old when we visited the slums of Jamaica. “I had never seen poverty at that level and it registered in my glazed brown eyes. `Don’t look scared, Flower,’ she said. `Be aware, but don’t be afraid.’ ”

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ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST:

Best known as paralegal Rachel Zane in the US Network legal drama, “Suits,” Markle has appeared on “General Hospital,” “CSI: Miami,” “Without A Trace” and “Castle.”

She also is an active campaigner on the subject of gender equality.

Her activism started young: At 11, she wrote then-first lady Hillary Clinton to protest a soap company ad, complaining that it implied women belonged in the kitchen.

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WHAT SHE SAYS ABOUT HER MIXED RACE BACKGROUND:

In a piece written for Elle magazine, Markle described her confusion at being forced to identify herself as black or white for a 7th grade school census.

Her teacher told her to tick the “white” box. She refused, unwilling to deny her mother’s African American heritage.

“I left my identity blank _ a question mark, an absolute incomplete _ much like how I felt,” she wrote. “When I went home that night, I told my dad what had happened. He said the words that have always stayed with me: `If that happens again, you draw your own box.”’

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WHERE DID SHE AND HARRY MEET?

The pair reportedly met while the prince was in Canada promoting the Invictus Games, a sporting event for injured service personnel.

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INTERESTS:

Markle is a self-proclaimed foodie who founded the lifestyle blog thetig.com. The website attempts to “reframe the beauty content to include think pieces about self-empowerment” and about inspirational women.

“I’ve never wanted to be a lady who lunches _ I’ve always wanted to be a woman who works,” she wrote on the site.

 

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