Who is Prince Harry's girlfriend Meghan Markle?

Meghan Markle has been confirmed as Prince Harry's girlfriend by Kensington Palace, but who is she?

The California actress, 35, is best known for her role as Rachel Zane in hit US drama Suits.

However she is also an active humanitarian campaigner - particularly on gender equality - and earlier this year was named global ambassador for World Vision Canada.

Meghan Markle, pictured in 2012. Credit: PA

Ms Markle is believed to have met Harry in May 2013, while he was in Canada promoting Invictus Games Toronto 2017 - but she has kept her romantic life separate from her social media accounts.

She was born on August 4, 1981, and grew up in Los Angeles. Her father was a TV lighting director and mother, a clinical therapist.

After graduating from Northwestern University School of Communication in 2003, Ms Markle appeared in CSI, General Hospital, Without A Trace and Castle.

She starred in three major Hollywood films - Get Him To The Greek, Remember Me and Horrible Bosses - and in September 2011 married film producer Trevor Engelson.

The couple divorced two years later.

Actress Meghan Markle arrives on the red carpet for the MuchMusic Video Awards in 2013. Credit: Reuters

Ms Markle is a self-proclaimed foodie, beauty, fashion and travel enthusiast and setup the blog thetig.com - which currently has 106,000 Instagram and 11,000 followers on Twitter.

However it is her passion for socio-political activism that has become increasingly important in recent years, with her work in Africa a passion she shares with Harry.

She has carried out charity work in Rwanda (for the Clean Water Campaign) after her parents exposed her to extreme poverty in Jamaica as a child.

Meghan Markle attending the P.S.ARTS' 25th Anniversary Credit: PA

But her commitment for gender equality saw her work with the United Nations Women, and she received a standing ovation for a speech she made on International Women's Day.

On combining her glamorous lifestyle and humanitarian role, she said: "While my life shifts from refugee camps to red carpets, I choose them both because these worlds can, in fact, co-exist. And for me, they must."