Meghan Markle is a 'role model for any woman,' says Idris Elba

Meghan Markle will be a “beacon” for the royal family and a “role model” for women, Idris Elba has said.

Speaking before a Buckingham Palace dinner to celebrate The Prince's Trust, the Wire actor was asked about black or mixed race role models and whether Markle’s upcoming marriage to Prince Harry would help aspiring young people.

"Meghan Markle, as a person, regardless of her colour, is a role model," he said.

"As a strong woman marrying into our royal family, she's going to be a role model for any woman - black, white.

"The point is that of course our society is one of mixed heritage and it's nice to see Meghan within the royal family.

"It's great. And of course she's going to be a beacon and of course she's going to be someone that people look towards."

Asked if that is important to him, he said: "I think it is. Absolutely. Our country is built on our monarchy, we love our monarchy and it's good to be connected."

The American former actress and Harry, who announced their engagement on November 27, following an 18 month courtship, will marry at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in May.

Elba joined Prince Charles at the One Million Young Lives Dinner on Thursday night, which was delivered with the help of young people supported by the charity the royal set up in 1976.

Elba, 45, was supported by the Trust in the 1980s. Credit: PA

Elba, 45, was supported by the Trust in the 1980s, which provided that helped him go to the National Youth Music Theatre.

"If I hadn't got that money I wouldn't ever have gone into that theatre show, I wouldn't have had that experience of being in a professional theatre, and I probably wouldn't be standing here today.

"So I know that The Prince's Trust is a great charity and a great place to nurture children, young people, that just need a little direction.

"And they've proved it for 40 years. I'm partly one of their success stories if you like, and it's good that I can be a beacon for others."