Meghan Markle is African American, Dutch, English, and Irish, and her Irish roots have a compelling story to go with them.

It may be in the distant past, but the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle does have a direct link to Irish ancestry.

Markle's great-great-great-grandmother Mary Smith was born in Ireland. She moved to London in the mid-1800s and married a British soldier named Thomas Bird.

Having wed a British soldier, Mary Smith's family apparently disowned her.

Surprisingly, experts say Mary Smith Bird may well have worked in Windsor Castle for the Royal family as there is an M. Bird listed as a servant in 1856. It would be quite ironic if the latest royal, Archie, had family who once worked for the monarch.

According to the family genealogist, Bird later moved to Malta where they had two daughters. Later, following the death of Thomas, the family again moved to Canada, and then later to the USA where they ultimately ended up in Pennsylvania.

Mary Bird’s granddaughter, also named Mary, was born in Malta in 1962.

The research was carried out by former US Air Colonel Ken Barbie, whose wife Susan is a second cousin of Meghan’s father, Thomas.

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Meghan’s father is said to have visited Ireland many times and grew up in Pennsylvania of Dutch-Irish roots.

In July 2018, just two months after their much-hyped royal wedding, Meghan Markle and her new husband Prince Harry visited Ireland on an official tour.

Did you know about Meghan Markle's Irish roots? Let us know in the comments section below.

* Originally published in May 2018, updated in May 2023.