Meghan Markle follows Grace Kelly in abandoning acting for royal life

Prince Harry's fiancee will focus on causes important to her, although some wish she will continue acting

US actress Meghan Markle said acting will take a back seat when she marries Britain's Prince Harry, following the example of silver screen icon Grace Kelly, who abandoned Hollywood to marry into royalty.

The 36-year-old has starred in legal drama Suits since 2011, but she is likely to shed many outside interests as she joins the royal family, said observers.

Markle confirmed in an interview with the BBC that she would be giving up acting and would focus her attention on the causes important to her.

"I do not see it as giving anything up. I see it as a change. It is a new chapter," she said.

Markle and Prince Harry, 33, will wed in spring next year, 62 years after US actress Kelly left her career to marry Monaco's Prince Rainier III.

But Hollywood branding expert Jeetendr Sehdev said Markle is not in the same league as the Oscar-winning star of 1950s Hitchcock thrillers Dial M For Murder, Rear Window and To Catch A Thief.

"Americans who have heard of Markle will remember her as a working TV actress rather than a celebrity or a Hollywood star," the best-selling author of The Kim Kardashian Principle said.

I do not see it as giving anything up. It is a new chapter Meghan Markle

He added that Britain's first mixed-race royal - Markle's mother is African American, while her father is a white American of Dutch and Irish descent - could nevertheless inspire the British TV industry to create more leading roles for actors of colour.

"Markle is the face of the modern princess, and there is no reason why she should not keep working in TV after her marriage," he said.

But royal writer Catriona Harvey-Jenner said Markle had made the right decision in shedding her acting ambitions.

"Being a senior member of the royal family is a full-time job, and it requires those who do it to patron charities, represent the United Kingdom on an international scale and generally maintain the traditions of the royal family," she said.

Markle will be the first American welcomed into the royals since Wallis Simpson, famously also a divorcee, but will probably not, in fact, be a princess.

What is far more likely, said experts, is that the couple will become a duke and a duchess, like William and Catherine.

As well as starring as paralegal Rachel Zane on Suits, Markle is an entrepreneur, activist, blogger and fashion designer. She appears to already be winding down her workload, having shut down her lifestyle website The Tig in recent months.

Ms Sarika Bose, a university lecturer and royal expert, said times have changed since Kelly was forced to choose between career and family life.

But she added that having a working actress in the fold may yet be a modernising reform too far for the British throne.


Ms Bose added that she expected Markle to follow other members of the royal family in pursuing charitable activities.

"Well before meeting Prince Harry, Markle already demonstrated a serious interest and commitment to social justice initiatives, as a World Vision Global Ambassador and an advocate for political participation and leadership for women through the United Nations.

"These activities provide her with both experience and credibility as a patron of causes when she becomes a member of the royal family," she said.

Awards Daily TV editor Clarence Moye described Markle as a "charismatic" actress and said he is disappointed that she appears to be set on conforming to tradition.

"It would be interesting to see a modern woman continuing her career... but it is not where she seems to be headed," he said. - AFP