After a royal romance that flourished in Canada, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle first made their coupledom official, the couple is now officially engaged. Here’s what you need to know about the American actress who is about to join the royal family:

Markle, 36, was born and raised in Los Angeles and studied theatre and international relations at Northwestern University.

Her mother, Doria, is a social worker and yoga therapist, while her father, Thomas, is a retired lighting-director who often brought his daughter along to film sets while he worked on such sitcoms as “Married With Children.” Markle’s parents divorced with she was six years old and she has remained close with her mother.

Her mother is black while her father is white, and Markle has written many times about what being biracial has meant to her. In an essay she wrote for ELLE UK magazine, she described the racism her mother has faced, and wrote that, while her “mixed heritage may have created a grey area” in her self-identification, she has “come to embrace it.”

Her mother often took her on visits to Jamaica, Markle has written, where she often witnessed poverty first-hand. Those experiences shaped her social consciousness, she has said, as did her work with her parents delivering meals to hospice patients, and donating turkeys to homeless shelters at Thanksgiving. “Both my parents came from little, so they made a choice to give a lot… This is what I grew up seeing, so that is what I grew up being: a young adult with a social consciousness to do what I could, and to, at the very least, speak up when I knew something was wrong.”

She has since worked with UN Women, campaigning for gender equality, girls' education, and ending the stigma surrounding menstruation. She has also travelled to Rwanda as part of her work as a global ambassador for World Vision Canada.

Markle has been an actress for more than 15 years, and has appeared on several TV shows, from General Hospital, to 90210 and CSI: Miami. She was also briefly a “briefcase girl” on the game show, Deal or No Deal. She has also had a few film credits including the movies Get Him to the Greek and Horrible Bosses, but her breakout role came when she was cast as a leading character on the TV series “Suits” in 2011.

While working on “Suits” from 2011 to 2017, she made Toronto her home for the eight months of the year, while the show was in production in the city. She kept a home in the city’s Annex neighbourhood, and often showcased its elegant interior on her Instagram page, along with her two rescue dogs: a beagle named Guy and a Labrador-shepherd mix named Bogart.

Markle has said she met Harry in July, 2016, in London, through friends. They made their first public appearance together this past September in Toronto while attending the Invictus Games, a sporting event Harry spearheaded.

Markle’s acting career appears to be on hold – at least for now. Though no formal announcement was made, it appears Markle is not planning to return to the set of “Suits.” Earlier this month, her stand-in posted a photo to Instagram bidding her farewell and wishing “all the happiness in the world.”

Markle was been married once before. After seven years of dating, she and film producer Trevor Engelson married in September, 2011, but the pair divorced two years later.

For more than two years, Markle kept a lifestyle blog she called The site was billed as a “hub for the discerning palate—those with a hunger for food, travel, fashion & beauty.” The blog was closed in April, around the same time she stopped updating her Instagram account, @meghanmarkle.

Markle has a secret talent: perfect handwriting. Before she made it big in acting, Markle once kept a calligraphy business, creating wedding invitations for such celebrities as Robin Thicke, and preparing the Christmas cards for Dolce & Gabbana. To this day, she says nothing can quite compare to a well-written, handwritten card.

With files from The Associated Press