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Meghan Markle in the Hallmark Channel movie When Sparks Fly. (Image: Crown Media)

Before she was royalty, Meghan Markle was a Hallmark star. (She also read The Rules.)


Before she was royalty, Meghan Markle was a TV star. Some viewers knew her as Rachel Zane from the series Suits. Others watched her on CSI: Miami and CSI: New York. Hallmark fans knew her from the two romantic comedies she made with the network, Dater’s Handbook and When Sparks Fly.

On Monday, Hallmark will air Dater’s Handbook as part of a Valentine’s Day movie marathon. In the film, Markle plays Cassandra Barber, a young woman who is tired of picking the wrong guy. She decides to follow the advice given by a relationship expert in her best-seller The Dater’s Handbook.

In the end, she finds herself caught in a love triangle with two men: reliable George (played by Jonathan Scarfe) and fun-loving Robert (played by Kristoffer Polaha).

“It’s hard to change old habits and place your faith in the experts, especially when your heart tells you something different,” reads a synopsis from the network.

“I think the reason Cassandra still has to refer to a handbook is the same reason all of us are trying to find our way and a little bit of guidance and trying to balance having it all,” Markle said in an interview to promote the film. “And having it all isn’t easy. I think we’re all still striving for that, so I think watching Cassandra’s journey is pretty fun.”

Happily ever after

Markle met her own true love on a blind date arranged by friends in 2016. She and Prince Harry were married two years later in a ceremony attended by Queen Elizabeth II at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple welcomed son Archie in May 2019.

“It’s magic. It’s pretty amazing,” she said during her first public appearance after giving birth. “I mean, I have the two best guys in the world, so I’m really happy.”

The couple welcomed their second child, Lilibet Diana, in June 2021.

Meghan Markle in the Hallmark Channel movie Dater's Handbook
Meghan Markle in the Hallmark Channel movie Dater's Handbook. (Image: Crown Media)

Hallmark history

Markle made her first movie with Hallmark in 2014. She played journalist Amy Peterson in When Sparks Fly opposite Christopher Jacot. In the movie, her character returns to her small hometown for to write a newspaper feature about her parents’ fireworks business. When she arrives home, she is enlisted by a friend to help her plan a Fourth of July wedding to Amy’s ex-boyfriend Hank (played by Jacot). As Amy and Hank spend time together, they are reminded of why they were so good together and old feelings resurface.

Dater’s Handbook followed two years later. In an interview to promote the movie, Markle talked about the futility of playing games when it comes to serious relationships.

“I remember when I was in high school and college we were still reading The Rules — do you remember that book?” she said. “So this is very much like that. And all those different things they would say like, ‘Be a creature unlike any other,’ and it’s really about playing these games but at the end of the day, when it comes down to finding the person that you’re right for, that’s not the person you’re going to play games with.”

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