Evanston - A Northwestern University alumna made international headlines Monday when news broke of Prince Harry’s engagement to American actress Meghan Markle.
Markle graduated from Northwestern in 2003 with a double major in theater and international studies. She was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
The British royal family announced the engagement in a statement Monday.
Royal wedding stories
“His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle,” it said.
The wedding will take place in the spring of 2018, and the couple will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace, according to the announcement.
“We’re excited to learn of the news that our alumna, Meghan Markle, will marry Britain’s Prince Harry,” said Laura Wayland, executive director of the Northwestern Alumni Association. “On behalf of Northwestern University, we extend our congratulations to the couple. His mother, Princess Diana, visited Northwestern in 1996, so we are particularly pleased to welcome Prince Harry to the extended Northwestern family.”
The Los Angeles native grew to national fame when she landed a role in the USA Network legal drama “Suits.” She received much of her acting training while at Northwestern.
Theater Department Chair Harvey Young distinctly remembers Markle as one of eight students in a theatre history and criticism seminar he taught in 2003, his first year at Northwestern. The twice-a-week class centered around works by African-American playwrights and often involved discussions about how theater can mirror society. Young recalled Markle being engaged during the discussions.
“Being a biracial actress, Meghan had a sophisticated view and understanding of what it means to be perceived and treated differently,” Young said. “She was quite aware of how people respond to race and was very clear about the need to think about the experiences of people who are not only biracial but also people of color.”
Additionally, Young said he remembers Markle being passionate about women’s rights, and he is proud of her for continuing to speak out publicly on those issues today.
“Like our other very promising alumni, Meghan was passionate about theater and had a self-confidence you could see helping her weather the storms of the professional world.”
In 2014, Markle revisited the Evanston campus to promote “Suits.”
“It’s surreal being back because I haven’t been back since I graduated, and as I am walking around I remember things like the schlep of getting to South Campus from up north,” Markle told North by Northwestern magazine during the visit. “The 24-hour Burger King also definitely helped me put on the Freshman Fifteen.”