The wife of Prince Harry and a senior member of the British royal family revealed that she discovered she had Nigerian roots a couple of years ago after taking a DNA genealogy test. While the news has come as a surprise to the world, some critics have questioned her motive to keep the information a secret all these years.
According to a report by the Mirror, the Duchess of Sussex revealed her Nigerian heritage in the latest episode of her podcast, Archetypes. However, during the podcast, she expressed her desire to learn more about her roots.
Perhaps sitting in the midst of other accomplished Nigerians made Meghan more comfortable revealing her Nigerian heritage. The episode of her podcast where she revealed her Nigerian roots had American actress Issa Rae, Nigerian-American writer Ziwe Fumudoh, and Professor Emily Bernards in attendance.
"I just had my genealogy done a couple of years ago," Markle stated.
When her guests asked her to share what the results entailed, she said, "I just had my genealogy done a couple of years ago, I'm 43% Nigerian."
She was further asked by Ziwe what tribe is from, "Are you serious? This is huge. Igbo, Yoruba, do we know?"
The Duchess of Sussex answered, "I'm going to start to dig deeper into all of this because anyone I've told, especially Nigerian women, are just like, what?"
Again critics believe that the Duchess of Sussex may not be telling the truth when she claimed to have told people about having roots in Nigeria, especially Nigerian women. They say since the podcast revelation was the first time any news about her ancestral background came to public knowledge, it is hard to believe she has discussed this with anyone else before – except her husband, Prince Harry of cause.
Her revelation has elicited a chain reaction across the world, as it has come as a surprise to everyone – including herself obviously. Perhaps that was why it took her so long to make the revelation.
However, those in her defense say Meghan has always identified as being of mixed-race heritage, and has always admitted that she is half black and half white.
Her father, Thomas Wayne Markle Sr., is from a family of German, English, and Irish descent, while her mother, Doria Loyce Ragland, is an African-American.
So, it makes perfect sense when the news that the Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Foundation has donated an unspecified amount to charities working in Nigeria to 'help provide relief following devastating flooding' that has ravaged parts of Nigeria hit the media.
In a press release, a Spotify representative confirmed that the couple's Archewell Foundation donated to Save the Children and UNICEF.
The devastating floods have been blamed on heavy rain and water released from a dam in neighbouring Cameroon.
More than 600 people have been killed, and around 1.4 million have been displaced in the floods, which destroyed 440,000 hectares of farmland across Nigeria.
Save the Children Nigeria tweeted: "More than 1.5 million children are at risk after devastating flooding in Nigeria.
"Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Archewell Foundation has donated to Save the Children in Nigeria as our teams deliver life-saving supplies to affected families."
What is Genetic Testing or Genetic Ancestral Testing?
Genetic genealogy is becoming very popular among Black Americans as there appears to be a global consciousness about tracing their roots.
A genealogy test could be as simple as taking a cheek swab or saliva sample and analyzing it to uncover ethnic mix and family history, building a family tree, and using databases to learn about historic relatives and possibly connect to living relatives you had no idea existed.
The test involves the examination of DNA variations that can provide clues about where a person's ancestors might have come from and about relationships between families.
The test is made possible because certain patterns of genetic variation are often shared among people of particular backgrounds.
Essentially, the more closely related two individuals, families, or populations are, the more patterns of variation they typically share.
According to confirmed reports, the results of ancestral DNA tests are 99.9 percent accurate. The test results are essentially an ethnicity estimate, part of which is an estimate reported as a percentage of ancestry dating back several centuries.
Theories exist that genetically, a person carries more of their mother's genes than their father's. This is because little organelles (mitochondria) that live within the cells are only received from the mother.
Other Celebrities Who Have Traced Their Roots
You will recall that among the many top celebrities that have undergone genetic ancestry testing include Academy Award-nominated actress and television mogul Oprah Winfrey.
She traced her roots back to the Kpelle people in the West African highlands, which are now part of Liberia and Guinea. Winfrey found that she had 8 percent Native American DNA and 3 percent East Asian DNA.
Rapper Snoop Dogg learned through a DNA test that he is 71 percent Sub-Saharan African, 23 percent Native American and 6 percent European.
Famous actor, director, humanitarian, and philanthropist George Clooney is distantly related to Abraham Lincoln.
Hollywood actress Eva Longoria discovered through genetic testing that she has many European ancestries, with a significant majority hailing from Spain, 3 percent African genes, and 27 percent of her origins being Mexican.
Ellen DeGeneres didn't initially know her ancestry until she dug deep and found that she was Kate Middleton's 15th cousin and also related to Queen Elizabeth II.