New Meghan Markle book rehashes her time at Northwestern

Actress-turned-royal-to-be Meghan Markle wore heavier makeup and experimented with highlighting her hair when she began attending Northwestern University nearly two decades ago, biographer Andrew Morton writes in his new book.

“Meghan: A Hollywood Princess” — due out Tuesday — explores Markle’s background as she prepares to marry Prince Harry May 19 at Windsor Castle. About a dozen of the book’s 250 pages are devoted to Markle’s time studying theater and international relations at Northwestern from 1999 to 2003 — though not much new information is revealed.

It seems like Markle — who was spotted in Chicago last week — had a pretty typical college experience. Here’s a roundup of the Chicago and Evanston mentions in Morton’s book:

• Markle’s family has roots in Chicago. Her father, Thomas Markle, grew up in Pennsylvania and later moved to Chicago. He worked as a lighting director at WTTW-Ch. 11. He married Roslyn Loveless and they raised their two children, Yvonne and Tom Jr., together in Chicago until the couple split and Tom Sr. moved to the West Coast. He wed Meghan Markle’s mom, Doria Ragland, in 1979. Meghan Markle was born in 1981 in Los Angeles.

• Attending Northwestern University was an early dream for Markle. Morton reports she played Little Red Riding Hood in her high school’s March 1997 production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods.” In the production’s program notes, she predicted that Northwestern would be the next stop on her way to Broadway. She matriculated in 1999. She lived in the North Mid-Quads residence hall and intended to study English.

• She had a difficult transition from the “melting pot” of Los Angeles to “overwhelmingly white” Northwestern. Morton said Markle overheard or was subjected to crass racial slurs from her classmates. “As she was light-skinned, many fellow students didn’t realize she was biracial, making her a fly on the wall as they made racist jokes or expressed bigoted opinions,” Morton writes.

• Markle had impressive lines on her college resume. She secured an internship at the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina (which she discussed in a 2013 interview with Marie Claire magazine) and brushed up on her Spanish while studying in Madrid in 2002.

• But she was also a “party animal” in college. Markle rushed Kappa Kappa Gamma, which “embraced her warmly” — except for the sorority members who thought her “too assertive.” She participated in Northwestern’s famous Dance Marathon, which helped her work off the “freshman 15” she put on during late-night trips to Burger King. She used a fake ID at the Keg, an Evanston bar that closed its doors in 2013.

Many of those details were reported by North by Northwestern magazine when Markle returned to her alma mater in 2014 to discuss her role on the USA Network drama “Suits.” Morton’s book even includes a quote from a student who attended the event — her name is misspelled the exact same way in the book as in the magazine’s online story.

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Twitter @tracyswartz

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