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Meghan Markle celebrates 39th birthday: 12 months that transformed her life

The Duchess of Sussex is living in her home city of Los Angeles a world away from her former life as a working member of the monarchy.

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Meghan Markle. Photo: AFP via Getty

Meghan Markle. Photo: AFP via Getty

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle

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Meghan Markle. Photo: AFP via Getty

The Duchess of Sussex is celebrating her 39th birthday after a whirlwind 12 months that has seen her life transformed.

A year ago Meghan was a working member of the British royal family and living in the grounds of Windsor Castle with husband Harry and their son Archie.

But today they live in Los Angeles after breaking away from the monarchy for personal and financial freedom.

The couple moved to America with their 14-month-old son just a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the globe, and like everyone else have been living under lockdown.

Birthday celebrations are likely to be low-key as the state of California they now call home reportedly has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in America.

Despite restrictions the couple have voiced their opinions about issues, especially the renewed focus on equality and race that followed the death of George Floyd in the United States.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement Meghan, who became the first mixed race person to marry a senior royal, delivered an impassioned speech to her old high school following the death of Mr Floyd, sharing her “absolute devastation” at racial divisions.

The issue of racial equality is expected to be a cause that forms part of their public work when the couple formally launch their new charitable organisation, Archewell, which has replaced their UK based Royal Sussex foundation which has been wound down.

Meghan is fighting legal actions on both sides of the Atlantic, suing Mail On Sunday and MailOnline publisher Associated Newspapers after articles were published last year featuring parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her estranged father.

And the Sussexes began court proceedings in July in Los Angeles after drones were allegedly used to take pictures of their young son Archie.

The couple have been working behind the scenes to urge top executives across the world to stand in solidarity with groups calling for a Facebook boycott.

The duke and duchess have spoken with a number of organisations leading the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, which is calling on businesses to pause advertising on the platform over the social network’s failure to do more to remove hate speech.

A source has said: “As we’ve been developing Archewell, one of the areas the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been keen to address is online hate speech, and we’ve been working with civil rights and racial justice groups on it.”

From March 31, Harry and Meghan stopped using their HRH styles and ceased to be senior working royals, in favour of being able to earn money.

While in America the Sussexes wrote to a number of British tabloid newspapers saying they would no longer co-operate with them after watching people’s lives “pulled apart” because “salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue”.

The couple’s new life in Los Angeles comes at a cost but it is not known how they will pay for their lifestyle although there has been speculation about book deals and lecture circuit contracts the couple may have signed.

PA Media