If she hadn't met her prince, would Markle be a thriving businesswoman by now?
Meghan Markle candy shop
Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Among the reasons that Meghan Markle is one of the most intriguing (soon-to-be) members of the royal family is that in her pre-Prince Harry life, she was a truly ambitious woman who fought with determination to accomplish her goals. One of those goals, it turns out, was to start her own candy company.

TMZ turned up records that show that Markle and a friend filed a trademark in 2012 for a business called Lali, which would have sold lollipops. She decided to drop the idea two years later, but she’d soon meet Prince Harry anyway, and begin her journey toward a life of strictly monitored public appearances, lunch dates with her sister-in-law where they presumably laugh over tabloid rumors that the two of them are feuding, and the humanitarian work that she’s been passionate about since long before Prince Harry asked her join the house of Windsor.

In an alternate universe where Markle decided to turn down Harry’s proposal—deciding that her freedom is more important than a life in which her every movement would be scrutinized and judged not just by the public but by the Queen of England herself—I like to think that Lali would have come to life. By now, we might have a little shop with her name emblazoned in glittery cursive on the windows and bowls full of rainbow-colored candies and pink lollipops in display cases tempting us inside.

Of course I’m happy Markle met the man of dreams and gets to live out a real-life fairy tale. But it’s still fun to imagine what she might have accomplished without having to be stage managed by a team of royal family handlers every time she steps out of her front door. Given that Markle has already proven herself comfortable bucking tradition—she may give a speech at her own wedding, and already attended Christmas Day church service with her future in-laws, a invitation usually reserved for spouses, not fiancés, for instance—it seems as though no amount of scrutiny, expectations, rules, or tradition will keep her from realizing her goals. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see her use her new status to launch projects (probably of the charitable, not candy, variety) that we still can't imagine, but will probably make us fall in love with her all over again.