Meghan Markle has endeared herself as the Duchess of Sussex to her devoted followers, but her journey to the royal family was a long one and came after she ended her marriage with her first husband.
Meghan Markle might remind some about a certain royal figure who hit the stage some decades ago and whose life was plagued by controversies and sagas — Princess Diana.
Markle would go on to become the wife of Diana's youngest son, Prince Harry, with whom she now shares two children and has enjoyed the limelight more than when she was just a movie star.
Markle's marriage to Harry has so far received mixed reviews. The 40-year-old and her husband have found themselves in the midst of controversies and various accusations since they first made the move to step down from their roles in the royal family.
This year, the rivalry in the royal family escalated after Harry and Markle granted an interview with Oprah Winfrey where they aired the dirty laundry of the famed royal family.
The claims made in the interview did more damage to the reputation of the British monarchy than anything else had done within the last two decades, and Markle was the face every finger pointed at.
Long before these dramas unfolded and before she became a mom or held the title of a duchess, Markle was just a young actress hoping to get by with a supportive boyfriend by her side.
Her marriage with Prince Harry might have made her a global figure, but the father of two was not her first love, and neither was he the first man to walk her down the aisle.
MARKLE'S FIRST MARRIAGE
In 2004, Markle was a young actress still trying to find the role that would launch her to stardom, and while the fortune was yet to come, she met and fell for Trevor Engelson, a movie producer in a bar in Hollywood.
Engelson reportedly helped her secure a small role in the Robert Pattinson movie "Remember Me." The duo started dating in 2004, and after six years together, the producer popped the question to Markle in 2010.
After this, the couple walked down the aisle, but their marriage ended as quickly as it began. While Meghan was in Toronto filming her hit series "Suits," Engelson remained in LA, and the duo spent little time together.
Passion soon faded, and Markle took the big step that angered Engelson — just as her career was taking a good turn, Markle filed for divorce in 2013, citing irreconcilable differences.
According to author Andrew Morton, everything was part of a big plan hatched by Markle. According to reports, rather than returning to the Los Angeles home they shared and end things respectfully and amicably, Markle chose to do things the hard way.
She mailed the producer his diamond engagement ring and wedding ring. Engelson was still recovering from the shock of Markle's request for a divorce when he was shocked by the returned rings.
His pain was only aggravated with the thoughts that Markle dumped him after he had helped her career soar. However, the returned rings were not the first time Engelson had had to put up with his ex-wife's bold moves that some might consider callous.
Just before she moved to Canada to begin shooting "Suits," Markle took their expensive food mixer, which many saw as a statement of intent and newly found independence.
Markle was allegedly trying to prove that with the luxury and independence her career now afforded her, she no longer had to depend on Engelson's connections as she now had a steady source of income as well as Hollywood connections.
Moving her favorite kitchen item from their Los Angeles home was Markle's way of noting that the bungalow house she shared with Engelson was no longer her home as she had become a woman that can support herself.
Her ex-husband Engelson noted that Markle's actions left him very angry, and he felt like a rag under her shoes. Author Morton believes Markle is more of a calculative character rather than the harmless, sweet soul she portrays herself to be.
He explained that Markle had always harbored an ambition to become a princess like Diana and, since she was a teen, hoped her fortune would take her there.
He believes that as her career grew, so did her social status. Markle shut the door on those who had known her in her days of obscurity, including her parents and half-siblings.
A RIFT IN THE MAKING
Prior to the end of their marriage in 2013, Markle and Engelson had often fought over his refusal to help her get good-paying jobs rather than the low-paying jobs she got that sometimes looked demeaning.
After getting her role in "Suits," Markle had to move to Canada for nine months, and in a bid to keep them in close proximity, Engelson moved his office to New York, which was an hour away by flight, but things had grown cold for them by then.
Markle is a professed perfectionist, and she had grown tired of the scattered life of her then-husband, such as arriving late for meetings in rumpled clothes, and at this time, she was getting used to an independent life.
Five years after their divorce, Engelson could barely contain his anger over the treatment he got from his estranged wife. Since their divorce, Markle's social status has risen tremendously, and she has gone on to become a celebrity herself, much more than she was with her producer husband.
DIANA WOULD HAVE LOVED HER
As opposed to popular opinions, the respected royal biographer, Morton, believes Diana would have loved her daughter-in-law Markle if she were to be alive today.
Diana died when she was 36, and Markle joined the royal family at 36, which is one of the similarities both figures shared. Morton believes the late Princess of Wales would have seen fate at work and approved of the actress.
Markle has carried on with Diana's love for charity, hoping to write her name in the people's hearts like the People's Princess did some decades ago.