Prince Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle could be from Yorkshire, a new documentary is set to reveal as it traces her family back to British roots.
To many the 36-year-old is the successful star of hit series Suits and has climbed to fame from humble beginnings in LA to have a fairytale Royal romance.
But few will realise her ancestors were actually from coal mining communities in northern England.A new Channel 4 documentary, When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Romance, has traced her great great grandmother, Martha Sykes, back to England.
Historian Andy Ulicny will tell viewers that Martha was born in Yorkshire and left with her parents, Thomas and Mary, to settle in the US when she was one.
“Most likely the Sykes family came from Yorkshire, a coal mining region, and the name Sykes was popular up that way,” he said.
Martha is a direct descendant of Ms Markle’s father Thomas, a lighting director.
A copy of the 1870 census from the Mahanoy Township in Schuylkill County, in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, shows the family living with three-year-old Martha in the mining area of Pennsylvania.
The family left England during the reign of Prince Harry’s relative Queen Victoria in 1869 in the search of a better life.
But sadly the American dream they had hoped for was shortlived as just eight years later Martha’s father Thomas died of heart failure aged just 43 while working in a local colliery, leaving behind his wife and, by then, five children.
Related: Meghan Markle Through the Years (US Weekly)
But happiness still happened eventually for Martha as she married into the soon to be Markle family.
Her family history is a far throw from Ms Markle’s celebrity life, who just last week reportedly took afternoon tea with Prince Harry and the Queen amid rumours of an imminent engagement announcement .
The hour long documentary will air at 9pm on Saturday on Channel 4 and is set to reveal more of her background with interviews with friends and colleagues and traces her African-American ancestry.
It looks at the similarity of the pair both having divorced parents, Ms Markle’s father and her mother Doria Ragland parted when she was six, and how her humanitarianist values are simialr to Princess Diana’s.
It comes as the Prince Harry and Ms Markle made their public debut last month on the world stage, making an affectionate appearance at the Invictus Games.
She clapped from the sidelines with her mother and later Prince Harry disappeared from his official seat, slipping out to join them to watch part of the ceremony away from the spotlight.
In September Ms Markle broke her silence on their relationship with an extensive Vanity Fair interview.
Calling him her “boyfriend” publicly for the first time, she said: “We’re two people who are really happy and in love.”
The American actress, who has been dating the Prince since summer 2016, said they were treasuring “our time”, before sharing details of their relationship with the watching world.
It has already inspired speculation of an imminent engagement, with her interview interpreted by Royal watchers as a significant step in making their relationship public and official.
Prince Harry, as fifth-in-line to the throne, must ask the Queen’s permission before marriage.
In the interview Ms Markle confirmed she met Prince Harry through friends in London in July 2016 and dated quietly for months without the public becoming aware of their romance.
The documentary tomorrow sees friends talking about their love story and possible rumours of a future engagement.
When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Romance will be shown on Channel 4 on Saturday at 9pm