Meghan Markle. File picture: Andrew Toth / AFP
London - Prince Harry’s girlfriend has told how she feels compelled to speak out about racism after being subjected to years of prejudice by people unaware of her heritage.

Meghan Markle whose yoga teacher mother, Doria Ragland, is black and father, Thomas Markle, is white, claimed some who believed she was Caucasian made distasteful "black jokes".

In an interview with Pride, a British magazine targeting black and mixed-race women, she said: "It makes me think of the countless black jokes people have shared in front of me, not realising I am mixed. I think I feel an obligation now to talk about discrimination or even to talk about the fact that most people can’t tell that I’m half black.

"The sort of conversation I hear, that once they realise I’m mixed they’re like: 'Oh sorry!' Because I’ve just been this ethnically ambiguous fly on the wall listening to everything that you’re saying that you wouldn’t have comfortably said had you known I was black, so I don’t care if I’m fair-skinned and I don’t care what it is, that’s who I am, that’s my family'."

The star of popular US television legal drama Suits is celebrating her 36th birthday with Queen Elizabeth’s grandson in Botswana on a romantic safari.

Harry is said to be "blown away" by Markle’s political and philanthropic activism, something she tackles in her interview with Pride. She says: "My hope for the world is to get to a place where it’s colour blind."

As the glamorous Rachel Zane in Suits, she revealed she has had to fight against being made to wear a towel "in every scene".