Rachel Meghan Markle was born in 1981 to a Caucasian father and African-American mother. She grew up in Los Angeles before graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in theater and international studies.
In 2002, she appeared in an episode of the daytime soap opera General Hospital. She has appeared in numerous television shows and movies since, most famously playing Rachel Zane on the long-running legal drama Suits.
She says that early in her career, she had difficulty finding roles because "I wasn't black enough for the black roles and I wasn't white enough for the white ones." She called herself "the ethnic chameleon who couldn't book a job."
Now she has a job unlike any other: royal princess.
A Surprising British Royal
Meghan's background is unusual for a member of the British royal family, to say the least. She was divorced in 2013. Some have speculated that she is Jewish, though others deny this claim. She attended a Catholic high school in California. She and Prince Harry have been living together for the last 10 months.
Until recently, any of these facts would have made their engagement scandalous. But the times have changed.
The couple is already popular in Great Britain, in part because of their commitment to benevolent work. Princess Diana exposed her sons to suffering around the world, hoping they would join her in helping solve our most pressing problems. Prince Harry has made it his life mission to honor and build on his mother's humanitarian legacy.
Meghan has served as a global ambassador for World Vision, a very effective evangelical Christian aid organization, traveling to Rwanda in 2016 and India earlier this year. She has also worked with the charity One Young World and is a women's advocate for the United Nations.
In keeping with their passion for continuing Princess Diana's humanitarian work, Prince Harry included two diamonds from his mother's personal collection in Meghan's engagement ring.
A Homeless Hero and a Redskin
In other news, a homeless man recently found a woman's $10,000 check on the ground. Elmer Alvarez returned it to Dr. Roberta Hoskie, a successful real estate agent in Connecticut. Roberta wrote Elmer a check as a reward, then gave him entrance into her real estate school free of charge. She plans to pay for his course and English language classes.
And she provided housing for him as well as a job interview. She is committed to helping him in part because she was once homeless herself.
Meanwhile, Washington Redskins star cornerback Josh Norman has asked every church in his Greenwood, South Carolina, hometown to send him a letter stating "the concerns of the church and the needs of the youth." He wrote that "God has laid it on my heart as a servant of the crown to reach out and touch every church in Greenwood, South Carolina with my tithes and offering of love and peace."
Norman added that he will not be able to fulfill every need, but he'll do his "very best with what God has blessed me." And he will read and respond to every letter. He closed with the encouragement, "Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality" (Rom. 12:13).
Why Benevolence Stories Make News
One reason is that they seem unusual in our materialistic, self-centered culture. In a day when much of our holiday spending is on ourselves, altruism is both uncommon and conspicuous.
William Wilberforce said of himself, "If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large." His selfless generosity ended slavery in England and marked the world forever.
A second factor is less obvious: I believe that God's Spirit is working in our culture to highlight acts of generosity as a means of encouraging us to imitate them.
Clearly, our Lord wants us to help those in need:
â€¢ "He who gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will have many a curse" (Prov. 28:27).
â€¢ "Do not forget to do good and to share. For with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Heb. 13:16).
â€¢ "If you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall rise in obscurity, and your darkness shall become as the noonday" (Isa. 58:10).
When we read about acts of kindness, we should see them as modern-day Good Samaritan parables. Remember how that story ended? With Jesus' invitation to his hearers: "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37).