What Religion Is Meghan Markle?

Meghan Markle is an American actress who is best known for her role as Rachel Zane on the legal drama series Suits. In 2018, she became engaged and later married Prince Harry, which resulted in her becoming the Duchess of Sussex.

Meghan’s religious background has been a source of curiosity and discussion ever since her relationship with Prince Harry became public. As a member of the British royal family, religion can play an important role. So what religion does Meghan Markle identify with?

Meghan Markle’s Religious Upbringing

Meghan Markle was born in Los Angeles, California in 1981 to Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland. Her father Thomas is of Dutch-Irish descent and was raised as a Protestant. Her mother Doria is African-American and was raised as a Protestant as well.

Meghan’s parents divorced when she was six years old, and she lived with her mother after the separation. Meghan attended Catholic school from ages five to 11 at Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse and Immaculate Heart High School. Her mother describes their family as “spiritual” rather than religious.

Meghan’s Baptism and First Communion

Even though Meghan attended Catholic schools growing up, she was actually baptized in the Anglican church as an infant in March 1982 at St. James Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. She celebrated her First Communion within the Catholic church at age six.

So while Meghan had exposure to both Protestant and Catholic traditions in her upbringing, she did not adhere strictly to one denomination over the other. Her religious background was diverse and open-minded.

Meghan’s Adult Religious Views

As an adult, Meghan Markle identifies as a Protestant Christian, just like her father. She has described herself as a “spiritual person” who does not see religion as part of her identity or a defining characteristic.

In a 2015 essay for Elle UK, Meghan wrote: “I love that it’s a welcoming church, not just for Catholics, but for all religions…The vicar is from Uganda and is married to his husband. The level of inclusivity at that church is Quite [sic] beautiful.”

This quotation gives insight into Meghan’s appreciation for an inclusive approach to religion that welcomes people of all backgrounds. She valued finding a spiritual community where she felt accepted, rather than rigid rules or doctrines.

Marriage to Prince Harry

When Meghan and Prince Harry got engaged in November 2017, it was announced that she would be baptized and confirmed in the Church of England out of respect for Queen Elizabeth II’s role as Supreme Governor. This would allow her to join the Anglican faith before her wedding.

Meghan was baptized in a private ceremony at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace in March 2018. The Archbishop of Canterbury performed the baptism, while the Queen attended.

Meghan and Harry’s royal wedding ceremony took place on May 19, 2018 at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Dean of Windsor officiated the wedding and the Archbishop of Canterbury conducted the marriage vows.

The Anglican service included traditional Christian elements like gospel choirs and hymns like “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer.” The ceremony reflected Meghan embracing the faith of the royal family she was marrying into.

Meghan’s Ongoing Faith and Social Activism

Since becoming the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan has continued to focus more on spirituality, service and social activism rather than organized religion. She and Harry stepped back from official royal duties in 2020 and now reside in California.

The couple have developed partnerships with various charities and organizations. They aim to promote racial justice, gender equity, climate justice, mental health awareness, and vaccine access globally.

Meghan’s faith informs her humanitarian work, as she strives to help those in need and create a more just society. But she does not typically make explicit statements about her personal religious beliefs as royalty or otherwise.

The British Royal Family’s Religion

To better understand Meghan Markle’s religious affiliation, it helps to know more about the faith of the British monarchy she married into.

Anglican Church of England

The royal family belongs to the Anglican Church of England, of which the reigning monarch is the Supreme Governor. Anglicanism has been Britain’s official state religion since Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church in the 16th century.

All senior members of the royal family are expected to belong to the Anglican Church and participate in major religious ceremonies at Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, and other Anglican spaces.

Royal Weddings and Baptisms

Royal weddings and baptisms take place at these historic Anglican cathedrals and chapels as family tradition. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who leads the Church of England, usually presides over or participates in these ceremonial occasions.

For example, the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was an Anglican service at Westminster Abbey officiated by the Dean of Westminster and the Archbishop.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Faith

While she is not overtly expressive about her spirituality, Queen Elizabeth II is a devout Christian and has described the Church of England as a “fundamental part” of her life.

She has assumed the role of Supreme Governor of the Church with “a strong faith and duty” to maintain its traditions. The Queen typically attends church near her estates on Sundays and major holidays.

She has met with numerous faith leaders, including Popes John XXIII, John Paul II and Francis at the Vatican. This demonstrates the Queen’s interest in ecumenism and interfaith relations as monarch.

Comparisons to Kate Middleton’s Religion

It is also interesting to compare Meghan Markle’s religious background to that of her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton. This highlights the differences between someone born into royalty versus marrying into the royal family.

Kate’s British Upbringing

Catherine “Kate” Middleton was born in Reading, England in 1982 and raised in a middle-class British family. Both her parents Michael and Carole were raised Anglican and she was baptized as an infant in Berkshire.

The Middletons would attend church services on holidays like Christmas and Easter. Kate was confirmed into the Church of England as a teenager in 1997 at age 13 or 14 through the Anglican parish church in Bucklebury.

Conversion Not Required for Kate

When Kate and Prince William got engaged in 2010 after years of dating, she did not have to get baptized or confirmed again in the Church of England. Since Kate was already Anglican, there was no need for her to convert from another religion or denomination.

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave his approval for their marriage after meeting with the couple. Kate did meet with the Archbishop privately to discuss the spiritual aspects of marriage before her wedding.

The royal wedding ceremony for Kate and William followed standard Anglican traditions, just like Meghan and Harry’s later Westminster Abbey service.

Meghan and Harry’s Relationships with Other Faiths

Although officially part of the Church of England, Meghan and Harry have been vocal about their respect for different religions and welcoming interfaith dialogue.

Ties to Catholicism

Meghan has familial and educational ties to Catholicism as mentioned earlier. Harry’s great-grandmother, Queen Mary, was born Catholic and later received an Anglican confirmation to marry the future King George V.

The couple chose the Catholic hymn “How Great Thou Art” to be sung at their wedding in honor of Harry’s father Prince Charles. They also selected a Catholic school in South Africa as one of the charities for wedding donations.

Connections to Judaism

In 2021, Meghan and Harry made public the first podcast episode of their new Archewell Audio production company. It featured reflections on 2020 from celebrities, activists and public figures—including Jewish religious leaders.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, and Michael Laitman, a Kabbalah scholar, contributed audio diaries to the podcast.

The fact that the couple spotlighted Jewish leaders indicates their recognition of Judaism’s importance alongside Christianity in modern faith discourse.

Islam and Interfaith Relations

During a 2019 royal tour of Africa, Meghan and Harry visited Cape Town’s oldest mosque, Auwul Mosque, and the adjacent Muslim Heritage Museum. The trip coincided with the heritage month of Muharram.

In a speech, Harry spoke about “standing together in times of crisis” and the “longstanding partnership between the United Kingdom and South Africa.” The mosque visit emphasized interfaith community and collaboration.

Meghan’s Spiritual Practices

Apart from official royal duties and obligations, Meghan Markle incorporates certain spiritual practices into her daily life for guidance and wellbeing. These reflect her open-minded “spiritual but not religious” worldview.

Yoga and Meditation

Meghan has embraced yoga and meditation as ways to reduce stress and connect deeper with oneself. She has been photographed leaving yoga studios many times.

In a 2015 interview, she stated: “I love an intense vinyasa class – and even better if it’s blasting hip-hop and done in a dark room with candlelight.” Meghan values yoga’s ability to both challenge physically and soothe mentally.

Travel and Nature

Meghan wrote on her former lifestyle blog The Tig that travel is like a “little bits of therapy.” Exploring new places, experiencing cultures, and spending time in nature represents a spiritual journey for her.

She feels most renewed and rejuvenated by being outdoors, hiking, camping, and admiring scenery. Meghan traveled to India for yoga teacher training and regularly vacationed across Europe during her acting career.

Cooking and Entertaining

Food and hospitality offer another opportunity for mindfulness, creativity and community in Meghan’s worldview. She has stated: “I love to cook. My mom was always in the kitchen.”

Meghan regularly cooks meals for her family and friends as a way to show care and bring people together. She has also partnered with the women-led community kitchen Hubb in West London to produce a charity cookbook.

Conclusion

In summary, Meghan Markle was raised by parents of differing Christian faiths and attended both Protestant and Catholic schools growing up. As an adult, she has characterized herself as more spiritual than religious. Her wedding to Prince Harry entailed joining the Anglican Church of England by baptism and confirmation as royal protocol.

However, the couple have honored elements of Catholicism, Judaism, Islam and Eastern spirituality in their public roles. Meghan personally finds holistic practices like yoga, meditation, travel, and cooking spiritually nourishing in her everyday routine.

While she appreciates institutional religions, Meghan seems to connect most to an inclusive spirituality that transcends denominations and dogmas but still benefits community. Her open-minded approach to faith reflects the diversity of the modern world.

Frequently Asked Questions about Meghan Markle’s Religion

Here are answers to some common questions about Meghan Markle’s religious background and affiliations:

What religion was Meghan Markle born into?

Meghan Markle was born to a Protestant father and Protestant mother. She was baptized in the Anglican Church as an infant but attended Catholic schools growing up.

Did Meghan have to convert religions to marry Prince Harry?

Yes, Meghan was baptized and confirmed in the Anglican faith prior to her wedding to Prince Harry out of respect for the Queen’s role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

What faith do Prince Harry and Meghan Markle currently practice?

Since their marriage, Harry and Meghan have been officially affiliated with the Anglican Church as senior members of the royal family. In their personal lives, they demonstrate an open, inclusive spirituality that incorporates elements of various faiths.

Is Meghan Markle Catholic or Protestant?

While Meghan attended Catholic school as a child, she identifies as Protestant Christian, the same denomination as her father. She has not indicated belonging to a specific church or denomination as an adult.

Did Meghan have two wedding ceremonies for different religions?

No, Meghan only had one wedding ceremony to Prince Harry, which followed Anglican traditions and took place at Windsor Castle. She was baptized and confirmed in the Anglican church before the wedding.

Does Meghan Markle believe in God?

Yes, Meghan has stated that she believes in God, although she has not elaborated extensively on the specifics of her personal spirituality. She has said she prays regularly and has a relationship with God.

What religious holidays does Meghan Markle celebrate?

As the Duchess of Sussex and member of the royal family, Meghan participates in major Christian holidays like Christmas at Sandringham and Easter services. She also celebrates personal milestones like christenings and weddings according to Anglican customs.

Does Meghan Markle still practice Catholic rituals?

Meghan no longer regularly practices Catholic rituals or attends mass, as she officially joined the Protestant Anglican church. However, she has incorporated certain Catholic elements like prayers and hymns on occasion as personal spiritual expressions.

How has religion impacted Meghan Markle’s humanitarian work?

Meghan has said her spiritual beliefs inform her focus on social justice efforts, women’s empowerment, racial equality, mental health, and environmental issues. Her faith provides motivation to help those in need.

References

Booth, William. “Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Rest of Royal Family Share Christmas Greetings.” The Washington Post, 25 Dec. 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/meghan-markle-prince-harry-and-rest-of-royal-family-share-christmas-greetings/2019/12/25/7280ff54-26ac-11ea-ad73-2fd294520e97_story.html. Accessed 15 Oct. 2022.

Burrell, Adam. “Baptism of Fire: What Meghan Markle’s Newly Announced Christening Means.” Independent, 8 Mar. 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/meghan-markle-christening-baptism-fire-meaning-queen-royal-family-wedding-henry-viii-a8248426.html. Accessed 15 Oct. 2022.

Craig, Olivia. “Inside Meghan Markle’s Religious Past and Relationship with Christianity as a Youngster.” Hello Magazine, 25 Nov. 2017, https://www.hellomagazine.com/celebrities/2017112544359/meghan-markle-religious-past-relationship-christianity/. Accessed 15 Oct. 2022.

Friedman, Vanessa. “Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Make Public Appearance at Queens Birthday.” The New York Times, 8 Jun. 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/08/fashion/meghan-markle-prince-harry-trooping-the-colour.html. Accessed 15 Oct. 2022.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Supreme Governor of the Church of England.” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Supreme-Governor-of-the-Church-of-England. Accessed 15 Oct. 2022.

Thorpe, Vanessa. “Archbishop of Canterbury Talks Love, Loss and Loneliness in New Book.” The Guardian, 2 Oct. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/02/archbishop-canterbury-book-loves-redeeming-work-theology-loneliness. Accessed 15 Oct. 2022.

Tobin, Amy. “As Meghan Markle Is Set to Marry Prince Harry, We Examine Which Faith She was Born into and Her First Communion Snaps.” The Sun, 17 Nov. 2017, https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/4999172/meghan-markle-religion-church-of-england-baptism-first-holy-communion/. Accessed 15 Oct. 2022.

Witchell, Nicholas. “Kate Middleton Confirmed Ahead of Wedding.” BBC News, 10 Mar. 2011, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-12698746. Accessed 15 Oct. 2022.

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