Monday, August 21, 2017
Meghan Markle's religion or no religion
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Speculation continues to grow about an engagement between Prince Harry of Wales, and American actress Meghan Markle.
The Sunday Express' Camilla Tominey broke the story about the then burgeoning romance in October 2016. Since that time, there have been a number of stories about Miss Markle's religion. Is she Jewish or Catholic or ...fill in the blank.
For some months, Meghan's older half sister, Samantha, followed me on Twitter, and we engaged in several conversations. Samantha is not a fan of Meghan, and has made rather rude comments about her.
In May, Samantha and I talked about Meghan's religion. This conversation came about after one of the tabloids published photos from Meghan's wedding to producer Trevor Engelson. They starting dating in 2004 and became engaged six year later. Their wedding took place on September 10, 2011 at the Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. They separated only two years later, and were divorced in 2013, citing “irreconcilable differences”.
Engelson is Jewish, and there is speculation that their wedding was Jewish ceremony. This is based on one photo showing the couple taking part in the Hora (chair dance), which normally takes place at the start of the reception.
I am not convinced that Meghan and Trevor had a Jewish wedding as one guest noted that "the ceremony was over very quickly, in about 15 minutes."
Jewish wedding ceremonies take longer than 15 minutes, at least the ones that I have attended.
I believe that the couple were married in a civil ceremony, but included the Hora at the reception.
UPDATE: It appears that Meghan Markle's first marriage was a civil ceremony, perhaps in Los Angeles on August 16, 2011. This information can be found in Meghan's divorce application. The Jamaica event was probably a wedding celebration party.
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This brings me back to Miss Markle's religion and the conversation that I had in May with her half-sister.
Samantha Markle told me that their father, Thomas Markle, is not Jewish, but Episcopalian. She does not believe that Meghan's mother, Doria, is Roman Catholic. She does not know if Doria is a member of any church.
Meghan's parents. Thomas Wayne Markle and Doria Loyce Ragland, married on December 23, 1979 at the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Los Angeles.
Meghan attended at Roman Catholic High School, but Roman Catholic schools are filled with non-Roman Catholic Christians - and even non-Christians. I met a Lutheran pastor here in northern Virginia who chose to send his children to a local Catholic high school as the school has a very good reputation. Prince Joachim and Princess Marie of Denmark's daughter, Princess Athena, attends a Catholic school (the family is Lutheran). The school's website states that more non-Catholics attend the school than Roman Catholics.
So what is Meghan's religion? It is possible that she was not raised in any religion. I asked Samantha if Meghan had been baptized in any church. Samantha said no.
Now, of course, Samantha rarely has a kind word to say about Meghan. But she may be right about her younger half-sister when it comes to religion.
There are millions of unchurched and unbaptized Americans. The number grows with every year, as more Americans turn away from organized religion. One can be a person of faith (in something) without being an official member of a faith community. I suspect Meghan Markle falls into this community.
Miss Markle has never said that she is Jewish although others have speculated. Profiles have mentioned the Roman Catholic High School, but little else.
Her publicist, Chantal Artur, told a Jewish publication: "Just to clarify ... she's not Jewish."
The question of Meghan's religion will be answered if and when she becomes engaged to Prince Harry. If she has never been baptized, one expects that she will have meetings with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and then there will the announcement of a private baptism, followed by a private confirmation, both before the wedding. For all we know, she may already be learning about the Church of England ... but again, there will be no real clarification until there is an announcement.
(Catherine Middleton was confirmed in the Church of England shortly before her wedding to Prince William, as she had not been confirmed as a teenager.)
On this matter of religion, I have few doubts about Samantha's responses. She would know if Thomas Markle was Jewish because he is her father. She had also mentioned that one family member -- an uncle, I think, is a Greek Orthodox priest. It is possible that she speculated about Meghan not being baptized after I asked the question, but, then again, she was closer to her family when Meghan was a child than she is now.
Yes, Samantha holds a few grudges against Meghan, but those grudges were not on display when I asked my questions.