LA native Meghan Markle will become royalty, set to marry Prince Harry in 2018

LOS FELIZ, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Southern California native Meghan Markle is set to graduate from Hollywood actress to English royalty next year.

The 36-year-old announced her engagement to England's Prince Harry Monday morning. The two sat down to talk about their engagement during an interview.

"As a matter of fact, I could barely let you finish proposing, I was like 'Can I say yes now?'" she said.

Harry went on to say that he managed to catch Markle by surprise and that the proposal was a "nice, intimate moment" between them. He proposed to her while they were making dinner at home earlier this month.

Markle, whose full name is Rachel Meghan Markle, was born and raised in South Los Angeles. She spent her teen years at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Feliz. The students at the school said they were excited about the announcement.

"She's so inspirational to many of us, not just as an actress, but also as someone who is into philanthropy and altruism and giving back," student Mia Speier said.

Markle was part of the Genesian Club while in high school, which is dedicated to the preservation of the performing arts.

After graduating, Markle attended Northwestern University, where she studied theater and international relations.

She is best known for her role as Rachel Zane on the television show "Suits," and she lived in Toronto, Canada, to film the series that is now in its seventh season. Markle now lives in Nottingham Cottage, a home located on the grounds of Kensington Palace.

Her father, Thomas, is an Emmy-award winning lighting director, and her mother, Doria Ragland, is a psychotherapist.

Outside Ragland's View Park home, a security guard hired by Kensington Palace handed out a statement saying she was happy for her daughter's engagement and asking the media to respect her privacy.

The soon-to-be royal also talked about her disappointment with the world's focus on her biracial heritage.

"It's a shame that that is the climate in this world to focus that much on that or that that would be discriminatory in that sense, but I think at the end of the day I'm really just proud of who I am and where I come from. We have never put any focus on that," she said.

The couple has been together a little more than a year and made their first public appearance together this fall. Their public display of affection made headlines around the world.

"Prince Harry getting engaged to Meghan is a massive deal in the U.K., obviously. It's also a big deal over here, which I'm quite surprised about. Americans love it," royal watcher James McCourt said.

McCourt added that Markle's race shouldn't be a problem at all with Brits, but the hang-up for royal purists is the fact that Markle is divorced. From 2011 to 2013, Markle was married to film producer Trevor Engelson.

Even though the Queen has given Harry her blessing to marry Markle, it could be a factor in keeping the Queen from attending the wedding.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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