Thursday, 4 Jun 2020

Revealed: How young Meghan Markle was tipped to be future diplomat

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s upcoming African tour, with their new royal baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, is being hailed as a significant opportunity for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to showcase British soft diplomacy. The Duchess of Sussex was well-known as a UN advocate  before she embarked on her royal career, and now still displays her passion for international human rights causes in the charities she supports as royal patron.

Meghan’s Vogue issue this month, which features influential and inspiring women from the world of politics such as Jacinda Ardern, also demonstrates the Duchess’  keen interest in international relations. 

However, the future Duchess showed how she had “all that it takes to be a successful diplomat”, when she was still developing her career as a student. 

Biographer Andrew Morton, in his 2018 book “Meghan: A Hollywood Princess”, takes a look at her time studying Theatre and International Studies at Northwestern University.

Mr Morton writes how, in 2002: “[Meghan] decided she wanted to go into the field to gain some practical experience in international relations.”

After securing the help of her uncle, Mick Markle, the young Meghan embarked on a six-week internship with the American embassy in Buenos Aires as a junior press officer. 

Mr Morton adds: “As a consummate team player, she impressed her superiors with her enthusiasm and demeanour.

“Her superior, Mark Krischik, now retired, recalled her as a young woman who was good to work with and who carried out her assignments with ‘efficiency and ingenuity’.”

Mr Krischik told the author “If she had stayed with the State Department she would have been an excellent addition to the US Diplomatic Corps. 

“She had all that it takes to be a successful diplomat.”

Mr Morton continues: “Certainly she was sufficiently committed to a career with the State Department to take the Foreign Service Officer Test while she was still in Argentina. 

“The three-hour exam is a mix of politics, history, general knowledge and maths, requiring an awareness of everything from the origin of be-bop to East Asian labour laws. 

“It proved a stretch too far; Meghan failed the exam.

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“She did, though, fly to Madrid to take a six-week course in Spanish at the International Education for Students programme. 

“It was an added string to her bow just in case she wanted to give the world of diplomacy another try.”

The Duchess of Sussex celebrated her 38th birthday at the weekend, however it was in Argentina on her 21st birthday that Meghan endured a “terrifying ordeal”.

Mr Morton writes: “As it was her 21st birthday on August 4, 2002, she was given permission to travel in the convoy that was picking up the US Finance Secretary Paul O’Neill, who was making whistle-stop visit to South America. 

“It was a treat. 

“However, her opportunity to be treated like a VIP for an hour or two rapidly turned into a terrifying ordeal.” 

Mr Morton describes how angry protestors surrounded the motorcade and started banging on the windows of the limo with placards.

The author continues: “Meghan, the junior press officer, was terrified, recalling that it was the scariest moment in her life. 

“It was all the more concerning, not only because of the impending anniversary of 9/11, but because of intelligence reports suggesting ht Islamic militants could be setting up a network in South America. 

“Meghan would have already been wary, and it’s easy to imagine how frightening she would have found an angry mob of protestors attacking her car.” 

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