Meghan Markle's mother Doria Ragland: Fascinating facts about the Duchess's mother

8 May 2019, 13:14 | Updated: 8 May 2019, 13:16

Doria Ragland, mother of the Duchess of Sussex
Doria Ragland, mother of the Duchess of Sussex. Picture: Getty

Meghan Markle's mother Doria Ragland has been a constant by the Duchess's side since her relationship with Prince Harry became public - but what do we know about the mother of the American actress?

While Meghan's sister Samantha Markle and father Thomas Markle continue to cause controversy by speaking to the press, it's her mother Doria Ragland who has kept a dignified silence on her daughter's relationship.

Prince Harry is a big fan of Meghan's mother, a calming presence in her life - "Her mum’s amazing!" he said during the pair's engagement interview in November 2017 - but just who is the Duchess of Sussex's mother?

Read on to find put everything you need to know about Doria Ragland...

  1. What is Meghan and her mother's relationship like?

    With Meghan being the 62-year-old's only child, Meghan and her mother Doria are very close.

    "We can just have so much fun together, and yet I'll still find so much solace in her support," Meghan told Glamour in August 2017.

    "That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend," she added.

    In Meghan's words, Doria has always been a "free spirit" and instilled open-mindedness in the Duchess since she was young.

    Writing on her now defunct lifestyle blog, The Tig, back in 2014 Meghan said of Doria: "Dreadlocks. Nose ring. Yoga instructor. Social worker. Free spirit. Lover of potato chips & lemon tarts.

    Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Ragland
    Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Ragland. Picture: Getty

    "And if the DJ cues Al Green's soul classic 'Call Me', just forget it. She will swivel her hips into the sweetest little dance you've ever seen, swaying her head and snapping her fingers to the beat like she's been dancing since the womb.

    "And you will smile. You won't be able to help it. You will look at her and you will feel joy. I'm talking about my mom."

  2. What does Doria Ragland do for a living?

    According to the Duchess of Sussex, her mum Doria wears a variety of work hats.

    "My mom's a yoga instructor, but she does social work, as well, and she works specifically with the geriatric community," Meghan told Glamour in August 2017.

    Doria reportedly left her job at a mental health facility in Los Angeles in the lead-up to the Royal Wedding in a bid to start her own company.

    Her workplace, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in L.A. confirmed to E! News that she no longer worked there as of May 2018.

    While it's not clear exactly why Doria left, a source telling Us Weekly: "It was Doria’s decision to leave. She has talked about starting her own private practice, focusing on working with elderly patients.”

  3. Is Doria Ragland married?

    Doria Ragland is currently not married - she divorced Meghan's father Thomas Markle in 1988 when Meghan was 6-years-old.

    Doria and Thomas met on the set of TV show General Hospital and went on to marry in 1979.

    Meghan wrote an essay for Elle in 2015 and discussed her parents' meeting: ""My dad was a lighting director for a soap opera and my mom was a temp at the studio.

    "I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques. Whatever it was, they married and had me."

  4. Does Doria Ragland have brothers and sisters?

    Meghan's mother, pictured alone at the royal wedding as the only representative of the Duchess's family, promoted us to ask - does Doria have living family members?

    Sadly both of Doria's parents are deceased, however she does have three living half-siblings as her father married twice.

    Doria's mother was a nurse called Jeannette Johnson who died aged 71 in 2000 and her father was called Alvin Ragland, an antiques dealer who died March 12, 2011, at 82-years-old.

    After divorcing her mother, Doria's father Alvin went on to marry Kindergarten teacher Ava Burrow and they had one child together Alvin Joffrey Ragland - one of Doria's half-brothers.

    Doria's mother Jeanette had two children, Doria's half-siblings Joseph Johnson, Saundra Johnson, however Joseph is the only one that has spoken publicly about his niece's relationship with Prince Harry.

    The Duchess Of Sussex Hosts 'Together' Cookbook Launch
    The Duchess Of Sussex Hosts 'Together' Cookbook Launch. Picture: Getty

    Speaking about Meghan to the Daily Mail in May 2018 Doria's half-brother said: “She was always a special child, so happy.

    “Meghan was raised in a household of strong women because there were no men on the scene.

    “Right from the start it was clear she was special and had a magical quality about her. She always had a happy demeanor."

  5. Why was Doria Ragland on her own at the Royal Wedding?

    As the only child of a second marriage and with a large age gap between Meghan and her half-siblings Samantha Markle and Thomas Markle Jr, it is perhaps unsurprising that Doria Ragland was the only member of Meghan's family at the Royal Wedding.

    After her father Thomas Markle pulled out of the royal wedding due to heart problems - and it was revealed days before the nuptials that he had collaborated with a paparazzi for photographs - Doria was left as the only Markle present at Meghan's wedding to Prince Harry.

    Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle
    Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle. Picture: Getty

    Meghan's half-sister Samantha regularly spoke to the press in the lead-up to the wedding, regularly going on TV and speaking to tabloids to lambast the actress for not inviting her to the ceremony.

    In one of her many shocking outbursts, Samantha raged to The Sun about her lack of invitation to the royal event: "The royals had generations of scandal in their own family.

    "You've got inbreeding, you've got substance abuse, you've got alcohol abuse, you've got infidelity. On what grounds could the royals feel that the Markles are somehow not worthy? That's the pot calling the kettle black."

    Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle
    Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle. Picture: Getty

    In the end a dignified Doria, wearing a bespoke Oscar de la Renta dress and coat, was the solo representative for Meghan's side of the family.

    Pictures were beamed around the world of Prince Charles taking Doria's arm and escorting her from the chapel after the service, a public gesture of good-will and affection towards his son's new mother-in-law.