Howie Mandel: 'Becoming a duchess' was Meghan's 'master plan'

Dreaming about Prince Harryway back when? Howie Mandelknew Duchess Meghan pre-royalty, but joked that she had it on her mind while working with him on Deal or No Deal.

“No, I don’t think she’ll ever [return to acting],” the TV host, 63, told Us Weekly exclusively of Meghan, 38, at the America’s Got Talent season 14 finale taping on Wednesday, September 18. “Well, she’ll be seen on television, because she’s a duchess.”

Mandel quipped: “But that was her plan. I used to say to her, ‘Meghan, open the case.’ And she used to say, ‘Not now, I’m doing some work on becoming a duchess.’ It was the master plan, so I don’t think she’ll come back for us.”

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Meghan Markle on 'Deal or No Deal'
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Meghan Markle on 'Deal or No Deal'
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Episode 228 -- Pictured: Meghan Markle -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Episode 236 -- Pictured: Meghan Markle -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Season 2 -- Pictured: Meghan Markle -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Episode 235 -- Pictured: (l-r) Lisa Gleave (3), Tameka Jacobs (21), Meghan Markle (24) -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Season 2 -- Pictured: Meghan Markle -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Episode 235 -- Pictured: (l-r) Katie Head, Marisa Petroro, Anya Monzikova, Megan Abrigo, Patricia Kara, Laura Shields, Lisa Gleave, Howie Mandel, Meghan Markle -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Episode 241 -- Pictured: (l-r, number order) Jill Manas (12), Brooke Long (15), Meghan Markle (24), Lindsay Clubine (26) -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Season 2 -- Pictured: Meghan Markle -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Episode 217 -- (l-r) Meghan Markle (24), Jenelle Bronwyn Morena (17), Marisa Petroro (18), Anya Monzikova (10) -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DEAL OR NO DEAL -- Episode 213 -- Meghan Markle -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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During her time as an actress, the Duchess of Sussex worked as a briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal alongside Mandel from 2006 to 2007. Meghan was best known for her work on Suits, but retired from TV and film prior to tying the knot with the former military pilot, 34, in May 2018.

While she no longer spends time onscreen, Meghan keeps busy with new adventures. The duchess uses her platform to work with charitable causes close to her heart, not to mention her most important gig yet — becoming mom to her and Harry’s son, Archie, in May.

“Meghan had mixed feelings about going back to work,” a source recently told Us about the California native’s nervousness to leave the newborn at home while she attended the launch event for her capsule clothing collection with Smart Works on September 12. “She loves motherhood and was nervous about leaving Archie.”

In January, Meghan’s four royal patronages were announced: The National Theatre, The Association of Commonwealth Universities, Smart Works and Mayhew. Each one of the foundations represent something near and dear to Meghan’s heart, including the arts, education, support for women and animal welfare.

Within the next few weeks, Meghan, Harry and Archie will embark on their first royal tour in Africa as a family of three. The trio “will be expanding Harry’s Sentebale charity during the trip,” according to a statement on the couple’s Instagram page.

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Meghan Markle's go-to pose
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Meghan Markle's go-to pose
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Pippa Middleton in the Royal Box on Centre Court during day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive on the field prior to the start of the first of a two-game series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London on June 29, 2019. - As Major League Baseball prepares to make history in London, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone and Boston Red Sox coach Alex Cora are united in their desire to make the ground-breaking trip memorable on and off the field. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club on July 26, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club on July 26, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 11: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex has a moment of reflection before going to try out an interactive exhibit at EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum, that tells the story of the 10 million Irish people who have emigrated across the world during a visit to Ireland on July 11, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Arthur Edwards - Pool/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 11: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Croke Park, home of Ireland's largest sporting organisation, the Gaelic Athletic Association on July 11, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. The 100th birthday of the RAF, which was founded on on 1 April 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new Queen's Colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at Marlborough House on July 05, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WIDNES, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes, England. Meghan Markle married Prince Harry last month to become The Duchess of Sussex and this is her first engagement with the Queen. During the visit the pair will open a road bridge in Widnes and visit The Storyhouse and Town Hall in Chester. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
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With reporting by Emily Marcus

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