Find out everything you need to know about the Duchess of Sussex’s parents, Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle. The couple, who split in 1987 when Meghan was six years old, made headlines around the world when their daughter and Prince Harry went public with their relationship in 2016. Doria has been a pillar of strength for Meghan during her transition into becoming a member of the royal family, and was in the UK for the birth of her first grandson, Archie Harrison. Meanwhile, since being unable to attend Meghan and Prince Harry’s wedding due to undergoing heart surgery, Thomas has been out of touch with the royals. Get all of the info on Meghan’s mum and dad here…
In her revealing post-engagement interview with Prince Harry, Meghan opened up about her mum Doria, saying she is “so much fun”. Harry seconded his future wife’s opinion, adding that Doria is “amazing”. The proud mum, who lives in LA, has largely kept out of the spotlight, quietly working as a yoga instructor and psychotherapist. Doria graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in social work.
Meghan has previously said of her mum: “My mum’s a yoga instructor, but she does social work, as well, and she works specifically with the geriatric community. For me to watch this level of life-long sensitivity to nurturing and caregiving, but at the same time my mum has always been a free spirit. She’s got dreadlocks and a nose ring. She just ran the LA Marathon. We can just have so much fun together, and yet, I’ll still find so much solace in her support. That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend.”
Doria has supported Meghan since she became a Duchess in 2018
Author Halima Sadat explored Doria’s ancestry in Harry Meghan: A Royal Engagement. She wrote: “Like many African Americans, Doria can trace her lineage back to the days of slave labour in the Deep South states of Georgia and Tennessee, in particular the area around Chattanooga.” Meghan’s great-grandmother, Netty Allen, lived in a humble wooden shack and grew up during a time of racial segregation and discrimination. The Allens eventually migrated north to Ohio, and it was there that Doria was born, before she moved to California in the sixties. Doria has travelled to the UK several times since Meghan tied the knot with Harry, and was most recently in the country to welcome her baby grandson, Archie Harrison. She is also in a beautiful photo with the Queen and Prince Phillip as they met their baby great grandson for the first time.
Who is Thomas Markle Sr.?
Thomas, of Dutch and Irish descent, previously worked as an Emmy Award-winning lighting director. The family lived comfortably in the leafy suburb of Woodland Hills, an area popular with the stars, until Thomas and Doria divorced. Thomas currently resides in Mexico. Thomas, who shies away from the limelight, was expected to walk Meghan up the aisle but had to cancel after undergoing heart surgery. Meghan released a statement at the time which read: “Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he ne to focus on his health. I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday.”
In her book, author Halima Sadat wrote that Meghan’s father’s ancestors were coal miners, who most likely moved to the US from Yorkshire in 1859. Seeking a new life and fortune, the family settled in the mining town of Mahanoy in Pennsylvania, where Thomas was born. As he grew up, Thomas wanted to learn a trade away from the mines and he eventually became a film lighting engineer and set builder. He was soon drawn to the starry lights of Hollywood and built a successful career for himself, earning an Outstanding Achievement in Design Excellence Emmy for his work on TV shows, General Hospital and Married with Children. In the past, Meghan has described her dad as “the most hardworking father you can imagine”.
Meghan and Harry tied the knot in 2018
Doria and Thomas met in California, after Thomas had divorced his first wife Roslyn, with whom he has a son, Thomas Junior, and a daughter, Samantha. “Doria was working as a temp at the television studios where Thomas was the lighting director for a popular soap opera,” Halima writes. “They fell in love and were married in 1979, with Meghan being born two years later.” The couple divorced when Meghan was six.
Doria also attended Archie’s christening
Meghan is especially close to Doria, who was at her side at some of her most important appearances, including the Invictus Games, where she made her first high-profile outing with Prince Harry, her wedding to Harry and of course, the arrival of baby Archie. Doria knew about Meghan’s engagement weeks before it broke, and on the day of the announcement, in her typical carefree way, she was pictured watering her plants at home as the world reacted.