Meghan Markle missed her 20-year high school reunion which was held the day before she gave birth to her son Archie, but was still the star thanks to a touching letter she sent to her classmates, DailyMailTV can reveal.
Markle, 37, sent an envelope marked ‘Kensington Palace’ to the reunion of the class of 1999 of her all-girls Catholic school in Los Angeles, apologizing for not being there.
The reunion was attended by a total of 37 women who graduated Immaculate Heart High School in 1999, out of a class of more than 50.
The Duchess of Sussex’s school friends were buzzing about the imminent arrival of the latest royal baby and delighted to get Meghan’s letter, which arrived on Kensington Palace stationery.
‘Everyone was disappointed that they did not get to catch up with Meghan given everything that has happened to her,’ said one former friend.
Special message: One of the alumna attending the reunion revealed the letter of apology for not being there from Meghan Markle – who gave birth to Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor the very next day
Reunited: Many of Meghan Markle’s class got back together for their 20-year reunion
Pride of place: Meghan Markle’s high-school yearbook photo featured in a picture display on the wall, as well as throwback pictures to the alumnae’s time at Immaculate Hart
The way she was: Meghan Markle at her graduation from Immaculate Heart in 1999
Wish you were here: More than 30 of the class of 1999 were at the day-long reunion – and one said that Meghan Markle was the star of the show despite being absent
What you missed: More than 300 alumnae of the fee-paying Catholic high school attended the day-long reunion
What actually happened: The day after the reunion which Meghan could not attend, she gave birth to Archie Harrison, her first son with Prince Harry, showing him off to the world two days later
‘But the whole group was super excited about her giving birth to the first British-American prince, it was all anyone talked about.
‘They were so excited to get that letter from her. She is remembered as someone who is very thoughtful, and to get that kind of attention now that she is a Royal went down really well.
‘Hopefully she will be able to make it to the 25 year reunion and she is welcome to bring Harry and Archie along with her.’
The reunion for the class of 1999 and other classes from years ending in 4 and 9, going as far back as 1939, was held on Sunday May 5.
The next day Meghan gave birth to Archie, who is seventh in line to the UK throne, at 5.26am on Monday, May 6 in London with the baby boy weighing in at 7lbs 3 ounces.
Following the birth, one of her classmates celebrated on social media, with a comment saying ‘IT’S A BOY!’ under a photo posted from the reunion.
The school joined in the celebrations too, posting a congratulations to their most famous alumna and her husband on its Facebook page.
‘The school community extends best wishes of happiness to the Royal Family on this joyous event!’ the message said.
It is unclear if Markle had attended the three previous reunions held by the school for the class of 1999, in 2004, 2009 and 2014.
This year’s class of 1999 secretaries were Nicola Monat-Jacobs, a senior administrator at Loyola Marymount College in Los Angeles, and Sarah Watson. DailyMailTV has reached out to them for comment.
Other almnae present went as far back as 1949, and the school also celebrated 99-year-old Helen Shanks Cashen, from the class of 1939, a few days earlier.
Family time: Meghan Markle was also able to show the new royal baby to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, his great-grandparents, with Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland accompanying the new parents in Windsor Castle
Pride: Meghan’s alma mater posted a message of congratulations to its most famous alumna shortly after she became a mom
Fun memories: Meghan took part in drama club while at high school, with performances involving other schools to get over the single-sex status of Immaculate Heart
Markle attended middle school and high school at Immaculate Heart in Los Feliz, which now costs $16,850 a year.
Her father, Thomas Markle Sr., from whom she is now estranged, has said he ‘happily’ paid the fees for her to attend a school which has close showbusiness links.
Markle is not Catholic, and was baptized into the Anglican faith just before her wedding to Prince Harry, but was welcomed at the school.
Its graduates include Mary Tyler Moore, Tyra Banks and Walt Disney’s daughter Diane.
Many of the Duchess’ former classmates and teachers have fond memories of Meghan.
One friend previously revealed how she has always been fond of penning personal notes going back to her school days.
Michelle Fanara said that 20 years ago Meghan wrote her a note of encouragement that she tucked inside her yearbook.
‘To have someone reach out and say, ‘Hey, if you ever need someone,’ that is pretty special,’ Fanara told Inside Edition. Meghan wrote the note when the shy student struggled to cope with the death of a beloved great aunt.
‘I wanted to retreat into my own shell and Meghan was like, ‘No you can’t do that. You’re here. You’re here for a reason.’ She kept pulling me out of my shell.’
Christine Knudsen, who taught one of Meghan’s senior classes, previously told ABC’s 20/20: ‘She had a lot of inner strength. She was spunky. She was feisty.
‘She loved to sing. She loved to act, but she also had that depth, which kind of moved into all of her other subjects. And that was what came through in the end.’
And her former theology teacher, Maria Pollia, said: ‘She was a remarkable student even then. She was very enthusiastic about the material, but always took it a step further.’
One teacher even went to Windsor to witness the wedding – former drama teacher Gigi Perreau, who Meghan spotted on her carriage ride through the streets and waved to excitedly.
Perreau, a former film actor who is now 78, helped train Meghan as an actress long before she landed her role in TV drama Suits.
‘You see someone nice to the other kids, who gets good grades, doesn’t say anything bad about anybody,’ she told The Telegraph when asked about Meghan. ‘She was dedicated. I knew she would be something special.’