Meghan Markle turns 41: Royal family wish duchess happy birthday

Duchess of Sussex marks big day following eventful year

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Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, celebrates her 41st birthday on Thursday.

The royal family congratulated her on social media, sharing pictures of her to mark the occasion.

Images of Meghan during her UK visit to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee were posted on the official Twitter accounts of the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The duchess is likely to mark her big day privately with husband Harry and their children, Archie and Lilibet, in California where they live.

Prince William and Kate’s official Twitter account posted an image of the duchess attending the St Paul’s Cathedral service of thanksgiving in June that marked the queen’s 70-year reign.

It featured the words: “Wishing a happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex!”

Prince Charles and Camilla’s Twitter account posted a similar image of Meghan from the service alongside a balloon emoji and the words “Happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex!”

Meghan and Harry have established a new life for themselves in the celebrity enclave of Montecito in California, buying a multimillion-pound home and launching a non-profit foundation, after stepping down as working royals for financial freedom.

The couple have also signed lucrative deals — thought to be worth more than £100 million ($121m) — with Spotify and Netflix that have given them the capital to pursue their new lifestyle and public goals.

The former actress officially joined the British royal family in 2018 when she married Prince Harry in a relatively low-key ceremony at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

The couple's son Archie was born in 2019 before the family welcomed daughter Lilibet, named in honour of her great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth, in 2021.

They had initially intended to live at Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle, following a controversial £2.4m makeover paid for by UK taxpayers.

But unrelenting press scrutiny in Britain is said to have become too much to bear. They stepped aside from royal duties and moved to California's Pacific coast.

A subsequent TV interview with Oprah Winfrey threatened to open a major schism in the royal family following explosive allegations of racism and bullying.

In May, the couple returned to the UK for Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee celebrations, but their role in the festivities was curtailed and they were not allowed to join senior royals on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as part of the Trooping the Colour ceremony.

Prince Harry mentions Princess Diana in speech to mark Nelson Mandela International Day

Prince Harry mentions Princess Diana in speech to mark Nelson Mandela International Day

In January, the duchess won undisclosed damages against The Mail on Sunday after a court ruled that the paper had infringed her privacy over the publication of letters to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

Her Archetypes podcast was unveiled on Spotify in March, but her animated series Pearl was cancelled by Netflix in a cost-cutting move.

In July, she accompanied her husband as he addressed the UN General Assembly to mark Nelson Mandela International Day, held annually on the former South African president's birthday.

Last year, the duchess celebrated her 40th birthday by announcing her 40x40 mentorship programme for women returning to the workplace.

The programme enlisted the help of her friends, the poet Amanda Gorman, social activist Gloria Steinem, singer Adele, fashion designer Stella McCartney, chef Jose Andres and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

Updated: August 04, 2022, 10:48 AM