Meghan Markle may not be royalty yet, but she's already being treated like a princess by her growing, adoring fan base.
The 36-year-old former actress, who recently left the show Suits and quit show business altogether, stepped out on Friday with fiancé Prince Harry for their first official outing since Monday, when they announced their engagement. The two visited the English city of Nottingham and greeted a cheering crowd.
Meghan has been gaining fans since she began dating Harry in 2016 and is now more popular than ever. Her engagement to Harry has sparked widespread interest in her fashion choices, her parents, her past love life and her humanitarian work. And it seems the public has welcomed Meghan as the prince's bride-to-be—and an expected future duchess—with open arms.
Throughout Friday, Meghan, was a popular subject on social media feeds, spurring admiring posts about the poise she has shown alongside Harry and her recent outfit—a long, tailored navy double-breasted Mackage coat, a khaki, pleated below-the-knee Joseph skirt and black mid-calf KG Kurt Geiger boots—from people who have never or rarely posted about Britain's royal family...or even fashion.
Since the engagement was announced, more and more social media commentators have also cited and praised Meghan's humanitarian work. She is an advocate for UN Women, a global ambassador for World Vision and a counselor for the U.K.-based charity One Young World. The admiring posts about Meghan's looks and charity work bring to mind the kind of attention usually given for Harry's sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge—and expected future Princess of Wales, and in past years, his late mother, Princess Diana.
Amid the renewed social media interest, Google searches for Meghan have surged since her engagement to Harry was announced.
Her previous marriage to producer Trevor Engelson and her race remain trending topics—the former actress was born and raised in Los Angeles by her parents Doria Ragland, who is African-American, and Thomas Markle, who is Caucasian. Like Meghan, he too has worked in Hollywood; he is a former director of photography and lighting who worked on shows such as Married... With Children and General Hospital.
Meghan has occasionally spoken about her parents in interviews and has paid tribute to them, with childhood photos, on Instagram. At age 11, her dad encouraged her to write letters after she watched a sexist Procter & Gamble dish-washing liquid commercial.
"It was at that moment that I realized the magnitude of my actions," Meghan said in a speech at the UN Women's 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing in 2015, whose video recently went viral. "At the age of 11, I had created my small level of impact by standing up for equality."