Markle's neighbours thrilled about wedding

E! News' royal correspondent, Melanie Bromley, recounts what life was like for Meghan Markle growing up in California.
PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • In the upscale Los Angeles community known as the "Black Beverly Hills" where the mother of American actress Meghan Markle (left) lives, the neighbours are delighting in the frenzy around the royal wedding on Saturday.

"This has probably been the No. 1 topic for a long time in this neighbourhood," Windsor Hills resident Earl Hutchinson, an author specialising in African-American rights and history, said.

Markle was born and raised an hour's drive north in the San Fernando Valley, where her father worked as a lighting director for television shows, and she was educated at exclusive Hollywood private schools.

But in the streets where her mother Doria Ragland has a Mexican-style colonial house surrounded by cacti and agave plants, residents see the fiancee of Britain's Prince Harry as one of them.

"A bit like a native daughter, she's known here, she's been here. We feel like we have a vested interest in (the wedding) too, almost a bonding," added Mr Hutchinson.

Local real-estate developer Jimmy Thurgood said the people of Windsor Hills and View Park were elated to discover that Prince Harry was marrying a local girl.

"That means that the prince she's marrying is colour-blind. He believes only in love, which is what we need not only in America, but also in the world," he added.

Windsor Hills resident Petra Pavajeau, a retired medical professional, said the area was not known for its support of the British royal family before Markle hit the headlines.

"Maybe Princess Diana was the closest thing to an interest because she was a giver and thought of other people. Otherwise, we're not in touch at all with the royals," she added.

"We felt how wonderful that a royal could understand diversity, embrace it. She seems to be a very grounded, intelligent, beautiful, successful lady, so he's lucky to have her."

Ms Pavajeau could not resist adding: "And she comes from a wonderful neighbourhood."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2018, with the headline 'Markle's neighbours thrilled about wedding'. Print Edition | Subscribe