Meghan Markle Once Described the Racism She Encountered in College

She wrote about it in an essay.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the Athletics Competition during day two of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Bower's much-discussed biography of the Sussexes, Revenge (opens in new tab), has hit the shelves in the U.K.

In it, the controversial author leaves no stone unturned: He has written dozens of chapters, each titled with just one word, ranging from "Thomas" and "Hillary," to "Farewell" and "Backlash," all promising to reveal provocative details.

In the chapter titled "College," Bower looks back at Meghan Markle's days as an undergrad at Northwestern University, and her experience there as a mixed-race student.

"She had chosen a private, highly selective college renowned as a favorite of rich, well-connected white students," Bower writes. "She knew no one there."

He then goes on to quote Markle herself, from an essay she wrote for ELLE in 2015, long before she joined the Royal Family in 2018, to describe the racism she encountered at the school.

"I tried," she wrote.

"Navigating closed-mindedness to the tune of a dorm mate I met my first week at university who asked if my parents were still together. 'You said your mom is black and your dad is white, right?' she said.

"I smiled meekly, waiting for what could possibly come out of her pursed lips next. 'And they're divorced?' I nodded. 'Oh, well that makes sense.'

"To this day, I still don't fully understand what she meant by that, but I understood the implication. And I drew back: I was scared to open this Pandora's box of discrimination, so I sat stifled, swallowing my voice."

Markle has faced racism in various guises throughout her life, and has been very open about it for a long time—most notably when she and Prince Harry recounted the time a member of the Royal Family asked about what color baby Archie would be when he was born during their Oprah interview.

Iris Goldsztajn
Iris Goldsztajn

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.