Meghan Markle’s Cousin Says She Was “Really Mature for Her Age” and “Looked After Everyone” When She Was a Little Girl

He said she “had a star quality about her” even then.

Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

We certainly know the Meghan Markle of today—or at least we think we do—but what was she like as a little girl, long before the fame and the royal wedding? Her cousin Shawn Johnson said, per The Mirror, that she “looked after everyone” and had to navigate challenges, adding that she was “really mature for her age.”

Meghan Markle attends a curling training session in a Sentaler coat

Meghan showed maturity early in life, her cousin said

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Meghan grew up in the View Park-Windsor Hills area of Los Angeles, The Mirror reports, and spent much of her childhood with her mother, Doria Ragland, after Ragland and Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, divorced when Meghan was six years old. Meghan moved in with her father at the age of nine while her mother further pursued her career, The Mirror reports.

Johnson said Meghan was “kind” and told The Daily Mail that “She was infectious with just the way she was and really mature for her age. She was always really looking after us and making sure that we’re all doing fine.” 

Meghan Markle portrait 2024

He added that she was always looking after those in her family

(Image credit: Misan Harriman)

To that point, relationship expert Louella Alderson told The Mirror “Meghan is often described as confident, independent, and driven. These traits are likely to have contributed to her maturity at a young age, as she was able to take control of situations and make decisions for herself. As a natural leader and self-starter, she may have been motivated to grow up quickly in order to achieve her goals and navigate through challenges. Her upbringing may also have played a role in her maturity.”

Meghan attended Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse before attending Immaculate Heart High School. “Meghan attended an all-girls private Catholic school where she could’ve been exposed to strong female leaders who may have influenced her maturity and independence,” Alderson said. “Schools such as these often have a stricter and more disciplined environment, which could also contribute to the development of maturity in students.”

Meghan Markle at the Variety Women of Power event

Meghan always had a star quality about her, her cousin said

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As with any child of divorced parents, Alderson said Ragland and Markle’s divorce could have influenced Meghan’s personality: “Meghan’s parents divorced when she was young, and this could have also played a role in her maturity,” she said. “Children of divorce can sometimes have to take on more responsibilities and adapt to changes within their family structure, which can lead to them growing up faster than their peers. Meghan was co-parented by both her parents, which could have given her a unique perspective on relationships and the ability to communicate and handle conflict maturely. Splitting her time between her parents may also have exposed her to a different set of values and expectations, further contributing to her maturity. Ultimately, it’s difficult to pinpoint one specific reason for Meghan’s early maturity. It’s likely a combination of genetic factors and life experiences that have shaped her into the mature individual she was growing up.”

Meghan’s cousin Johnson added that, in addition to being mature, she was “always really sweet” and “had a star quality about her.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.