The Internet Thinks Britain's Newest Royal Meghan Markle Is Jewish. Here's the Truth

Reports claim that Markle, who is engaged to Britain's Prince Harry, has a Jewish father

Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle pose for photographers in the grounds of Kensington Palace in London, November 27, 2017.
Matt Dunham/AP

Is Meghan Markle, an American actress and the fiance of the British royal Prince Harry, a member of the tribe?

Stories in publications across the United States and United Kingdom have prompted the question. An article in the British tabloid Daily Express claims that Markles father is Jewish; Vanity Fair, Elle UK, Tablet and many others have cited the story.

The story also says that a spokesman for Westminster Abbey, the historic London church where British royals marry, confirmed Markles Jewish background.

The spokesman also confirmed that Meghans Jewish background would not prevent her from having an interfaith marriage there, Camilla Tominey writes in the May 14 article.

Unfortunately, for those who would love to see a Jew marry into British royalty, the claim is utterly false.

Duncan Jeffery, Westminster Abbeys head of communications, told JTA on Wednesday that the church never said that Markle was Jewish. It only confirmed that Markle could be married at the church despite a previous divorce, thanks to a rule that was instituted in 2002.

[Markles Jewishness] is merely conjecture on the part of other people, Jeffery said.

A source with knowledge of the situation also confirmed that Markle is not Jewish.

Markle, who is best known for her role on the USA Network drama Suits, was married to Jewish producer Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013. As Tominey notes, the pair had a Jewish wedding in Jamaica (complete with a Jewish chair dance, meaning the hora).

Markles father is Irish and her mother is African-American. She wrote an essay for Elle magazine in 2015 about her identity (it was subsequently published in Elle UK, one of the publications that has misstated her Jewish identity). The essay did not mention any Jewish ancestry or hint at a past conversion to Judaism.

What are you? A question I get asked every week of my life, often every day, she wrote.

Tomineys article is correct in explaining that there is no legal barrier that keeps a royal from marrying someone from the Jewish, Buddhist or Muslim faith, or even an atheist. Since 2015, even those formerly despised Catholics can marry into the royal family — however, a Roman Catholic still cannot become the queen of England.