US President Donald Trump and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. Pictures: Reuters and AP

Previous winners have included Gandhi, Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Now the Duchess of Sussex could join their number, having made the shortlist for TIME magazine’s prestigious Person of the Year award.

The one-time actress Meghan Markle faces competition from some of the world’s most powerful figures, including Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

The award seeks to recognise an individual or group of people ‘who most influenced the news and the world – for better or for worse – during the past year’.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, with candidates also including South Korean president Moon Jae-in and former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Meghan, 37, who married Prince Harry in May, featured on the US magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list earlier this year. A citation on the Person of the Year shortlist said the duchess had ‘traded in her roles on screen for a royal title, when she married Britain’s Prince Harry to the delight of captivated crowds across the UK and millions more worldwide’.

It also noted her work as an activist, with the duchess an avid campaigner for women’s rights in the past.

Meghan may be encouraged – or otherwise – by the fact that previous winners include the Queen in 1952, her coronation year, and Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee whose relationship with Edward VIII caused him to abdicate, in 1936.

The only other individual woman appearing on this year’s list is Christine Blasey Ford, who made headlines after she accused Mr Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of trying to rape her.

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by a hit squad at the Saudi consulate in Turkey, is also on the list.

© Daily Mail