Meghan was born in 1981 and was raised in Los Angeles by her African-American mother, Doria, who is a yoga instructor and social worker, and her Emmy-award winning cinematographer father, Thomas Markle, who is of Dutch and Irish descent. Meghan wrote an essay for Elle magazine in 2015 which described her experiences of growing up biracial and the way her parents taught by example, recalling, "When I was about seven, I had been fawning over a boxed set of Barbie dolls . . . This perfect nuclear family was only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls. I don't remember coveting one over the other, I just wanted one." She went on to explain how her father created a special Christmas present for her, and she found herself unwrapping "a black mum doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each colour. My dad had taken the sets apart and customized my family."
Meghan's parents separated when she was two, but she told Vanity Fair magazine earlier this year, "We would still take vacations together. My dad would come on Sundays to drop me off, and we'd watch Jeopardy! eating dinner on TV trays, the three of us . . . . We were still so close-knit."