Years before she met and married Prince Harry, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex was Meghan, C-List Actress of Hollywood.
Best known for her role on the basic cable legal drama Suits, Meghan Markle was not even a household-name celebrity.
We say this not as a knock against Meghan. Not at all.
In fact, our point is merely to highlight two of the many ways in which she differs from just about every other royal:
1. She started from humble beginnings;
2. She actually worked for a living at one point.
Of course, as the Netflix drama The Crown recently reminded us in painstaking detail, Meghan is certainly not the first commoner to marry into the royal family.
Obviously, in Charles and Diana’s days, there was no social media, which made it much simpler to bury a royal newcomer’s past.
(Or present, as it seems one could go about all sorts of sordid business whilst avoiding the prying eyes of the British tabloid press.)
Those days are long gone.
Before she was sucked into the absurdity of life as a Royal, Meghan was a regular, semi-famous, young, American woman.
She was ambitious; she rubbed elbows with fellow celebs.
And, as Meghan’s deleted Instagram account of yore reminds us, she even posted the occasional thirst trap.
And like any young person climbing the ladder in Hollywood, when the opportunity to hobnob with the 1-percent elites came along, Meg jumped on it.
Now, a new photo from that time seems to offer insights into the life of pre-Harry Meghan Markle.
The pic – taken in 2016 – shows Meghan at one pf her first big social engagements in London.
Yes, that is actually Meg!
Within months, Meghan would be the much-buzzed-about new girlfriend of Britain’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Harry.
But on that night in early 2016, she was just another guest of host Lizzie Cundy, whom she had met during a short trip to London several years earlier.
"Meghan was sitting next to me," Cundy told The Daily Mail in a recent interview.
"She wanted pictures with everyone because she didn’t know anyone."
"Obviously, she’d flown in from Canada, she wanted to meet people and get to know who’s who," Cundy added.
"It was a very high society party so I took pictures and that must’ve been one of them! She was climbing the ladder, as it were."
For Meghan fans, the pic is evidence of the fact that she never ages, and will remain one of the world’s most flawless beauties for many years to come.
For Meghan critics, the evening serves as further proof that the Duchess is a social climber who came to the UK with a very specific agenda in mind.
"That photo was taken on that night. We were talking girly chat about my life, her life," Lizzie stated.
"[Meghan] said she’d love to have a celebrity boyfriend. She loved Britain and felt very at home there. She loved London life and wanted to stay and work there and have a boyfriend," the host added.
Yes, it sounds as though Meghan had very specific requirements regarding her future mate.
"British – preferably a celebrity because they understand what you go through as a star, or actress as she was then, and understand the way of life," Lizzie recalls the future Duchess saying.
"I was trying to think who I knew that would be suitable."
"It was a girly, fun chat."
The haters have latched onto that particular quote as evidence of Meghan’s desire to reach the very peak of British society.
But based on Cundy’s recollection, it seems the remarks harmless bits of banter in the midst of a boozy evening.
"She wanted to talk about girly things, men," Cundy recalled.
"You know when you meet someone and you don’t really know anyone and want to stick to your friends but Meghan, she was so easy to talk to. Very personable and fun – and a bit naughty."
"Fun is the right word!" she added.
"She wanted to get on with everyone, get on in London. She was lovely, ambitious, but she had a real charm about her."
So in a way, we guess the pic and the description evening is a real Meghan Markle Rorschach Test.
If you already loved her, you’ll see this story as evidence of the fact that she’s always been fun and gorgeous.
If you already hated her … well, this further proof of the fact that you’re a miserable soulless cretin.
Does that make sense?