NOVEMBER 30, 2017: When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle first began dating, so much was made of the actress being either “bi-racial” or a “divorcee” in the press that the Royal released a statement via his communication secretary in defense of his new girlfriend.
“The past week has seen a line crossed,” it read.
“[The Prince’s] girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments. Some of it has been hidden from the public – the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriend; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life.”
“Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” it continued. “It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”
It was a storm – or a hurricane of sorts – that was never going to be avoided. And, as the couple announced their engagement, interest spiked again. While whispers of Markle’s ethnicity quietened, questions spanned her past marriage and if indeed a divorcee is eligible to marry into the British Royal Family.
The answer to the latter question is simple. In 2002, the Church of England agreed divorced people could remarry in the church with the discretion of the priest. Here’s what you want to know about Markle’s first husband, Trevor Engelson.
- Engelson was born in New York and is 41-years-old, five years older than Markle. He is a film producer whose most famous credit includes romantic film Remember Me starring Robert Pattinson. He also reportedly manages and represents screenwriters, actors, directors and novelists. He is based in Los Angeles.
- In 2006, the pair met and dated for six years before getting engaged in 2010. They were married in 2011 in Jamaica. The wedding was reportedly a four-day affair and after a quick ceremony, everyone hit the dance-floor.
- The marriage only lasted two years. The couple separated, citing “irreconcilable difference.” Some reports claim Markle’s role on Suits – which filmed in Toronto while Engelson worked in Los Angeles – was to blame as the couple couldn’t make a long-distance relationship work.
- Markle’s former co-star and friend Abby Wathen said she and the actress bonded over going through divorces at similar times. “I was destroyed [after my divorce], but [Markle] was empowered. She took her power back. It wasn’t the right relationship for her, so she moved on,” she said.
- A source told The Sun that Engelson struggled with the relationship breakdown. “The split with Meghan hit Trevor pretty hard. He went through a rough time during the break-up and that was only made worse when Meghan got together with Harry last year. He had to re-live it all again — this time in public. It wasn’t the most amicable of divorces and there were hurt feelings on both sides. Now he has bounced back and things are looking great for him.”
- The divorce was finalised in August 2013. Markle met the Prince in July 2016.
- Engelson has been relentlessly followed by paparazzi since the royal engagement announcement. He is now reportedly dating a dietician.