It may come as a surprise that for much of history, the royal family of the United Kingdom did not attend a university. Reigning Queen Elizabeth studied with private tutors and her son, Prince Charles, was the first heir to the throne to receive a degree from his university. His one-time wife and the mother of his children, Princess Diana, did not receive a degree either.

Things changed significantly with the following generation, however. Prince William earned a degree from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he met his wife, Princess Catherine, a.k.a. Kate Middleton. While Prince Harry did not attend university, his wife Meghan Markle attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illi. Long before she ever met the prince, Meghan studied theatre and international relations. This double major served the future duchess almost clairvoyantly well, preparing her not only for her career as an actress, but for her life in the spotlight on both sides of the Atlantic.

Meghan Markle prepared for a career in Hollywood

Meghan Markle has said she was a « theatre nerd » while studying at Northwestern. Meghan originally went into politics because, as she told Marie Claire, « I hated this idea of being this cliché—a girl from L.A. who decides to be an actress. » Despite potential clichés, Meghan’s professors spoke highly of her work in the classroom and on the stage. Her professor, Harvey Young, spoke to the Chicago Tribune about Meghan’s skill and depth in her classes.

Young taught a class on contemporary African-American theatre, saying that Meghan had a « very sophisticated understanding » of the material, commenting, « She was very clear about the need to think about the experiences of people who are not only biracial but people of color. She was mindful of the need for gender equality and the importance of championing for women’s rights. »

These values translated not only to Meghan’s work on the stage, but her activities throughout the campus, raising money with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, where she « fit right in. » Coulter Bump, one of Meghan’s sisters, told the Chicago Tribune (via Newsweek), « Myself and most of my sisters agreed that she is just a really lovely person, » adding, « She always had this manner to her of being dignified and poised, just very appropriate in every circumstance. »

These qualities helped her not only in school, but in her other political interests as well.  

Northwestern prepared Meghan Markle for a life close to politics

Before Meghan Markle decided to pursue theatre in college, she had made up her mind that she wanted to learn more about politics. Telling Marie Claire in 2013 that she wanted to avoid being the cliché L.A.-girl-turned-actress, she said, « I wanted more than that, and I had always loved politics, so I ended up changing my major completely, and double-majoring in theater and international relations. » Meghan, who backpacked across France and Italy, also got the opportunity to intern at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires.

Meghan looked back on her time in Argentina, recalling, « It was during their economic devaluation and our Secretary of the Treasury at the time, Paul O’Neill, was there. So I’m 20 years old, in Buenos Aires, in a motorcade, doing that whole thing. » Meghan joked, « I thought for sure I would still have a career in politics. » Little did she know how much her life would change in the coming years, and that her life would eventually return to diplomatic trips and motorcades alongside Prince Harry.

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