Entertainment

Here’s What Meghan Markle Looked Like As A Teen Headed To Holiday Parties Back Before Tiaras And Press Coverage

Imagine:  You’ve been single for a short spell, and a friend offers to set you up on a blind date. At first you’re a little hesitant, but you decide to go for it. You have a vague idea about what to expect, but you can never be totally sure, so you excitedly get ready for all the surprises the evening is sure to bring. When you arrive at London’s members-only Soho House club, the truth unfolds before you, clear as a sunny English day: your date is none other than Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and your future is about to change forever.

Not many people can claim that story as their own—really, only Meghan Markle can. The above describes Markle’s own experience back in 2016, when a mutual friend set her up with the heir to the British throne.

Credit: Pinterest

Since then, Markle and Prince Harry have been all over headlines. Not only did they celebrate their marriage with one of the most extravagant weddings in modern history, but Markle and Harry welcomed son Archie in May of this year. Media all over the world is constantly musing about Markle’s wardrobe. Currently, Markle and Prince Harry are on a family vacation in Canada, urged by the royal family to return home as Prince Philip (Harry’s grandfather) spends another night in the hospital.

Perhaps this constant media attention comes with the territory of being part of a royal family. While Harry and his brother, William, were born into this fate, Markle’s origins are very different. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Markle was an emergent actress when she met Prince Harry, appearing in small roles on shows like General Hospital, CSI: NY, and Fringe, before landing a more solid job on the popular series Suits. Markle also secured a few movie roles in the early 2010s, in films like Get Him to the Greek, Remember Me, and Horrible Bosses.

In 2014, Markle founded the lifestyle website The Tig, where she wrote about food, fashion, beauty, and travel, in addition to profiling inspirational women. As the website grew, Markle featured a wide range of experts, from dieticians to make-up artists to and fitness instructors. The Tig was a relative success, promoting Markle’s messages of self-love, positivity, and spirituality to a wide social media audience that included 3 million followers on Instagram, 800,000 on Facebook, and 350,000 on Twitter. But Markle retired The Tig in April 2017, removing all of its online articles and ultimately deleting her social media accounts in early 2018.

In spite of this retreat from social media, Markle has been at the center of the public eye since she and Prince Harry first got together. And just a few days ago, we got a glimpse into Markle’s past as an aspiring young actress in LA when photos from a few high school Christmas dances surfaced on the internet.

Credit: Vicki Conrad / Contact Press

And what a blast from the past! Markle attended Immaculate Heart High School during the 90s, and these photos of her Christmas-themed dances are, indeed, SO very 90s. The makeup, the eyebrows, the velvet gowns—who knew that this typical high school experience would give way to a future of color-coded clutches, tiaras, and knee-length designer skirts?

Markle has spoken about her experience growing up mixed-race—something a lot of Latinos can relate to. In an essay published in a 2015 issue of Elle Magazine, Markle recalled a mandatory census that she and other students had to take at the age of 12—a questionnaire that required them to check a box that indicated their ethnicity.

But the options were limited to white, black, Hispanic or Asian. Markle wrote: “There I was (my curly hair, my freckled face, my pale skin, my mixed race) looking down at these boxes, not wanting to mess up, but not knowing what to do.

“You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other—and one half of myself over the other,” said Markle. “My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. ‘Because that’s how you look, Meghan,’ she said.

“I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn’t bring myself to do that—to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So I didn’t tick a box.

“I left my identity blank—a question mark, an absolute incomplete—much like how I felt. 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.’”

It’s thrilling to see such an impactful, independent, category-defining woman living her life in such an authentic way, even if that now means adhering to some royal rules. You go, Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Announced They Were “Stepping Back” From Royal Life, Sending Twitter Into An Uproar

Entertainment

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Announced They Were “Stepping Back” From Royal Life, Sending Twitter Into An Uproar

@um_bamar / Twitter

In a bombshell announcement, Duke and Duchess of Sussex–more affectionately known to the public as Harry and Meghan–released a statement on Wednesday revealing that they would be “stepping back” from their official duties as senior members of the British royal family. 

The announcement came after months of speculations as to how the famous couple would respond to the maelstrom of negative press the duo–and especially Meghan–have been facing from the British tabloids. 

The Sussexes revealed that they would be “balancing” their time between the UK and North America, and that they are doing so to “provide their family with the space to focus on the next chapter”.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the Sussexes said via multiple social media channels. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen”.

And while the abrupt announcement was surprising for everyone, the move also comes after Harry and Meghan have long hinted at their discontent with their roles in the spotlight. 

The dissatisfaction seemed to reach a fever-pitch around the time that the couple appeared in the ITV documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey”.  Both Harry and Meghan were candid about their struggle to endure the British media spotlight, with Harry saying, “…Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back [to my mother’s death]”.

As for Queen Elizabeth, the monarch released a statement saying that the discussions with the Sussexes are still in an “early stage” and the issue is “complicated”.

Since then, multiple outlets have reported that the entirety of Buckingham palace was “caught off guard” by the Sussexes’ decision. The British media is reporting that the Sussexes did not consult with Buckingham palace before either making the decision or announcing it. Sources close to the royal family say that while the queen is “sad”, Prince Charles (who is next in line to inherit the throne), is “furious”.

“There is fury over how they’ve done this without any thought for the implications for the institution,” a source recently told Page Six. “The Queen is deeply upset. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are incandescent with rage.”

As for England’s reaction to the shocking news, the public opinion seems to be firmly divided into camps both “pro” and “against” “Megxit”.

While one Londoner expressed her support for Meghan and Harry to NBC News, saying she “can’t really blame them” for their decision to leave, another expressed their disappointment.  “It’s like, ‘We’ve now given you a ton of money, what do we get in return?,'” said a student named Frederick Bathurst, adding that his mother found their decision “disgraceful”. 

And while the Sussexes’ decision to step down from royal duties is surprising, it is not unprecedented. As any devotee of royalist media like “The King’s Speech” and “The Crown” will tell you, a similar situation to this has happened before, when King Edward abdicated the throne in 1936 in order to live in peace with his American girlfriend, Wallis Simpson. And while that situation worked out in the end, the aftermath was difficult to deal with for the Royal family.

Within minutes of the Sussexes’ announcement, both Harry and Meghan’s names were trending on Twitter.

Although Americans like to pretend they’re above being invested in the British Royal Family, their reactions to “Megxit” told a completely different story. The hilarious Tweets and reaction memes were enough to keep us entertained for hours.

Here is actual footage of the Royal Family reading Meghan & Harry’s statement

While Harry and Meghan are hoping that this decision will protect them from the media, something tells us that the media scrutiny is going to be stronger than ever.

Of course, there was tons of speculation as to what Harry’s mother would think if she were still alive:

We wonder if lingering trauma over Diana’s death had anything to do with this decision.

This person imagined what #Megxit would be like as a Reddit post:

This couldn’t be more accurate. 

There were also tons of takes on the Sussexes desire to become “financially independent” from the Royal family:

If there’s one thing for sure, Prince Harry has a very particular set of skills that might not be useful to everyone.

Día De Los Reyes Was The First Time I Allowed My S.O. To Experience My Culture

Culture

Día De Los Reyes Was The First Time I Allowed My S.O. To Experience My Culture

bolilloscafe /Instagram

For many who regularly take part in the holiday season, Christmas traditions are strongly tied to religious beliefs and practices. The ways in which the customs around the holiday season are carried out often deeply rooted in cultural rituals and they often vary from family to family. For my Puerto Rican family, the holiday season is drawn out well past the first of January when radio stations reel back on the jingles and Mariah Carey classics. For us, the Twelve Days Of Christmas sales or songs we know of don’t relate to the days leading up to December 25, but rather the twelve days in between Christmas Day and January 6 The Epiphany, a biblical day that marks the final leg of the  Three Wise Men’s journey to deliver gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus Christ.

Día De Los Reyes has always been an especially important day for my family. The fact that “reyes” is my mother’s maiden name has only made the day a little sweeter.

Photo provided by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

A more popular holiday back on the island, my abuela and abuelo Reyes brought their traditions to the mainland with them in the 1950s.

On the evening of January 5, each member of my family from grandfather to my youngest sobrino pull out cardboard shoe and clothing boxes (all marked with our names, drawn on and decorated over the years with crayons, markers, and glitter pens) to take part in a tradition that we hold dear in our hearts. After we’ve filled the boxes with snacks like carrots, lettuce, and sometimes grass for the Three Kings’ camels to munch on as they pass through our town we stick the boxes under our beds. Finally, just as we would with Santa Claus, we write the Three Kings–Los Reyes–a handwritten note wishing them safe travels as the journey to see the baby Jesus hoping that as they did with him on that first Epiphany, they’ll leave a small gift or token of some sort under our boxes.

Dia De Los Reyes functions similarly to Christmas Eve in my family. We all wake up and check under our boxes to see if we were good enough this year to receive any gifts. We’d go to mass together, where as kids we’d hope that maybe Los Reyes stayed in town with their camels long enough that day to be at the church community center to pose for photos. We would visit family and eat pernil and arroz con gandules, dishes reserved for celebrations and holidays.

As I got older I went to mass only sometimes and stopped looking to get my photos with Los Reyes.

Photo provided by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

I never stopped checking my box for gifts though, or remembering each rey by the names older relatives taught me to write in my letters: Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar. As an adult I focused on new ways to celebrate “being a king,” as my family would say, and took on the role of expert coquito maker.

When I started dating and began wanting to bring boyfriends home for the holidays, part of my new role during the holiday season also unintentionally became one of both gatekeeper and teacher of my Puerto Rican culture. As a sophomore in college, I brought my then boyfriend home for December for the first time. In my household, Noche Buena, Christmas Day, New Years Day, New Year’s Eve, and Dia De Los Reyes were all days set aside for family, exclusively. I knew not to ask for exceptions, and in the past had willfully or grudgingly passed up holiday and New Years parties to honor the expectation of being en familia.

But in my twenties I badly started to yearn for my first New Years kiss and wanted, even more, to share part of my twelve days of Christmas with somebody who mattered to me.

My parents, on the other hand, were hesitant. Dia De Los Reyes was about Los Reyes, as in my family.

My boyfriend was someone they saw a few times a year and knew of only from phone calls, letters, texts, and video chats. Someone so unfamiliar certainly wasn’t considered family, and moreover someone who wasn’t Latino couldn’t possibly understand the sanctity of the day we’d honored so lovingly all our lives.

Most concerning of all, Dia De Los Reyes is also known among some circles as “the poor man’s Christmas,” my grandparents’ explanation being that back in the days of Jesus, being a king didn’t mean wealth like it means today. It meant that the giftschildren and observers receive in their boxes today are small, like a $10 gift card, socks, some mittens, or maybe candy. The last thing my family needed was for some guy they didn’t know to reach into an old shoebox of all things, pull out socks, and think we were cheap. With some convincing and a little grumbling, my family allowed me to write my boyfriend’s name on a box, fill it with lettuce and put it under my bed on January 5.

That night as I lay in bed, I did feel nervous knowing that I was bringing somebody into such a special part of my life that no one had ever seen before outside of my parents. Earlier in the day, I made sure to explain to him how seriously my family took our family only traditions, and how it wasn’t just about the religious holiday but the namesake that ties us to one another. I felt silly as I highlighted decorating beat-up boxes as one of my favorite traditions, something I hadn’t ever admitted out loud. Quiet and reserved, he listened to my stories but didn’t ask any questions.

In the morning, I still had my family only morning mass and our opening of gifts, but later that day my boyfriend was invited over for pasteles, coquito, and the checking of his first and only Three Kings Day box.

My parents observed with critical eyes as he went through the motions of our traditions, seeming charmed by the gifts of a hat and gloves left resting on top of torn up shreds of lettuce, proof that Los Reyes had come through our house. As he followed our lead I sat hoping that by participating in the events himself, he might better understand where my love for my culture comes from, or maybe even briefly feel the same sense of childhood joy I do on that day each year. Admittedly, it was an awkward day for everyone involved and not filled with all the magic I had hoped for. Nonetheless, I still felt proud of myself for being able to break down a barrier that had long existed between myself and not only romantic connections but a friend, too.

I wanted the opportunity to show those outside of my family the part of my identity that I hadn’t always made transparent in my daily life, even if that meant that they didn’t understand or wouldn’t “get it” at first.

Photo provided by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

Even though the person who got to take the test run of my family only traditions and I aren’t together anymore, a few years ago he broke the mold for being able to bring others into a part of my life I was using to shutting so many close to me out of.n Maybe he did think that of us, our gifts, or the day we celebrate as cheap, but after the fact I, didn’t care. In the years that have followed, what has mattered most to me has been that I could start sharing Reyes, this name that laid down the foundation to who I am before I was ever born, and all the nuances that come with it with those I want to know me better.

This Dia De Los Reyes will be one of a few Reyes family festivities that my current boyfriend will be participating in, and another year where my family pulls out his box and welcomes his extra cheer into our holidays. While he’s still learning about my roots, I’m still learning that I can take these moments and use them to bring myself closer to my culture and my loved ones.


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