AS MEGHAN MARKLE celebrates her 41st birthday, Express.co.uk looks back at a candid letter the Duchess of Sussex wrote to herself in which she described the “constant battle” she faced during her “brutal 20s”.\ Meghan Markle celebrated her 41st birthday on Thursday. The Duchess of Sussex, who resides in Montecito, California, received birthday wishes from across the pond, with members of the Royal Family — including Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge — using social media to mark the occasion.
Meghan is understood to have spent the day privately, celebrating turning another year older with close family and friends. While some experts suggested that the Duchess may take the opportunity to promote a cause close to her heart — much like last year’s 40×40 initiative — Meghan has remained silent, not publicly addressing the day. It stands in contrast to how the former Hollywood actress marked her 33rd birthday, which saw her publish a personal open letter on her now-defunct lifestyle blog, The Tig.
In the letter, Meghan described her 20s as “brutal”, revealing that she was in a “constant battle with herself” and gave her followers some well-meaning pieces of advice. Back in 2014, she wrote: “I am 33 years old today. And I am happy. And I say that so plainly because, well…it takes time. “To be happy. To figure out how to be kind to yourself. To not just choose that happiness, but to feel it.”
Opening up on her years at a “cliquey” high school and then navigating the world of Hollywood as an aspiring actress, Meghan revealed how she struggled to fit in. She wrote: “My 20s were brutal – a constant battle with myself, judging my weight, my style, my desire to be as cool/as hip/as smart/as ‘whatever’ as everyone else. “My teens were even worse – grappling with how to fit in, and what that even meant. My high school had cliques: the black girls and white girls, the Filipino and the Latina girls. Being biracial, I fell somewhere in between.”
Meghan later described the moment a casting director changed her self-narrative, insisting that the then-24-year-old actress should be “more Meghan”. She wrote: “I must have been about 24 when a casting director looked at me during an audition and said: ‘You need to know that you’re enough. Less makeup, more Meghan.’” Concluding the letter on a positive note, the former ‘Suits’ actress departed her wisdom to her fans, telling them that they are “enough just as you are”.
She wrote: “You need to know that you’re enough. A mantra that has now engrained itself so deeply within me that not a day goes by without hearing it chime in my head. “That five pounds lost won’t make you happier, that more makeup won’t make you prettier, that the now iconic saying from Jerry Maguire – ‘You complete me’ – frankly, isn’t true. “You are complete with or without a partner. You are enough just as you are.”
Meghan encouraged her fans to “find their happiness,” writing: “I want you to be kind to yourself. I want you to challenge yourself. “I want you to stop gossiping, to try a food that scares you, to buy a coffee for someone just because, to tell someone you love them…and then to tell yourself right back. I want you to find your happiness.”
The Duchess has consistently used her platform to advocate for young people — particularly women and girls. Long before she met Harry, Meghan worked for women’s rights. While making a name for herself in Hollywood, the 41-year-old worked on women’s rights issues with organisations including World Vision, the Myna Mahila Foundation and One Young World, in addition to the United Nations.