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Meghan Markle’s LA neighbors: ‘For us as African Americans were excited’

In the chichi Los Angeles suburb of View Park-Windsor Hills, residents welcomed news of the royal engagement but took it all in their stride

Tiffini Reese beamed when told that a local woman was going to wed Prince Harry and in so doing shine a light on an area of Los Angeles known as the black Beverly Hills.

Oh, thats so sweet! Im so happy for them. Reese hesitated, then confessed. Ive no idea who that is. Is that the one with the red hair?

Like many people in View Park-Windsor Hills on Monday, Reese, a 23-year-old office worker, was hazy on the British royal family, and had never heard of Meghan Markle, whose engagement to the prince was announced hours earlier.

Tiffini
Tiffini Reese.

Markles mother lived in the green-painted house across the street a two-bedroom Spanish colonial style bungalow with a front yard of succulents and cacti and the street was filling with photographers and camera crews, injecting some drama into early morning suburbia.

If this makes things more hectic traffic-wise itll suck for joggers, but itll be cool for those who want to be in front of cameras, said Reese.

To much of Britain, the engagement was front-page news. In View Park-Windsor Hills a neighbourhood of mostly large houses with lawns, where the only sound in early morning besides traffic is sprinklers residents welcomed news of the engagement, but took it in their stride.

Mike Young, 56, out walking his pitbull Tipper, said: I think its awesome. Its always beautiful when two people get together, in love.

Mike
Mike Young, 56, with dog.

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Who is Meghan Markle?

Who is Meghan Markle?

Meghan Markle is an American actor, best known for her role in the hit series Suits. She has described herself as an actress, a writer, the editor-in-chief of my lifestyle brand the Tig, a pretty good cook, and a firm believer in handwritten notes. She has also campaigned for humanitarian causes.

The 36-year-old grew up in Los Angeles. She studied at a girls Roman Catholic college there before attending Northwestern University. Recently she has lived in Toronto. She is the daughter of a clinical therapist and a TV lighting designer. Markle has written about her mixed heritage, describing herself as a strong, confident mixed-race woman. She was married once before, to film producer Trevor Engelson, but the pair were divorced in 2013.

Since news of her relationship with Prince Harry broke in 2016, she has closed her blog and given an interview in which she described the couple as really happy and in love. She said: Nothing about me changed. Ive never defined myself by my relationship. She will become a duchess or princess when the couple wed.

Photograph: Picture Perfect/REX/Shutterstock/Rex Features

He had not known Prince Harry, 33, was dating Markle, 36, an actor from the TV series Suits, but approved the match. I think theyre a respectable family, he said, referring to the Windsors. Id be excited to meet Prince Harry.

View Park-Windsor Hills is one of the wealthiest primarily African American areas in the US, and like the rest of LA is used to celebrity. The singer Ray Charles and the film-maker Charles Burnett grew up here. When Barack Obama visits friends, the motorcade barely registers comment.

The median price of a View Park home is $771,000 and the area was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rich people on this street, everything fancy, said Juan-Jose Alonzo, 42, a gardener who was landscaping a garden.

Markle grew up with a black mother, Doria Ragland, a clinical therapist turned yoga instructor, and a white father, Thomas Markle, a lighting director who worked on the TV show Married with Children.

She attended Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse, a private primary which also taught Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland, and later the all-girls Catholic Immaculate Heart high school.

Markle was briefly married to a film producer, Trevor Engelson, and appeared in CSI 90210, Without A Trace and Castle before landing her role in Suits, which prompted her to relocate to Toronto.

Not quite Hollywood royalty, but for former neighbours it was enough to match a British prince and any amount of pomp at a ceremony next spring likely to be conducted by Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury. If anything, some felt it was the royal family that had lucked out in getting to exhibit a modern, enlightened sensibility.

For us as African Americans were excited to see this happen. If anybody is going to step out and do something different, marry a mixed-race woman, its Prince Harry. Hes his mothers child. He doesnt have bias, said Kelli Beard, 49, a university teaching professor out walking her Rhodesian Ridgeback.

All the neighbours were texting this morning Have your heard the news, said Beard. I think we feel sorry for Doria shell probably get bombarded.

She often met Markles mother while she walked her own dogs. Very sweet, very nice, a regular woman.

Dei Thomas, 39, an entrepreneur, laughed at the notion of the princes bride being hood but wondered about the response in the UK. How will the Brits handle this?

Some shrugged off the engagement as an abstraction. Nope, didnt hear, said Wes, 52, who pushed a shopping trolley filled with recyclables through the neighbourhood. Not being mean, but it doesnt fit my interests.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/27/meghan-markle-los-angeles-prince-harry

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