All eyes will be on Meghan Markle come May 19 when she walks down the aisle of St. George's Chapel to marry Prince Harry. But they'll also be on her 61-year-old mother Doria Ragland, who, as the mother of the bride, will share in the royal spotlight, just as Carole Middleton did back in 2011.
As the royal wedding date quickly approaches, Markle has enlisted her mother's help to finalize wedding plans. In late March, Markle reportedly flew home to Los Angeles to see her mother and review wedding day details. Royal contributor Omid Scobie appeared on Good Morning America to discuss Markle's trip home, and added that Markle arrived with "sketches from the wedding and of the wedding dress itself so she could really give her mom some insight on how the big day will look." See Scobie's full interview here:
- Good Morning America (@GMA) April 4, 2018
Markle's trip home ahead of Easter weekend explains why she and Harry missed the royal family's Easter Sunday celebration. The royal couple are also planning on flying Ragland out to London to help with wedding preparation before the big day, where she'll meet Harry's family and see Markle's dress for the first time, Good Morning America reports; however, her trip to the UK won't be too long. Us Weekly reports that Ragland plans to return to work shortly after the wedding.
From Ragland's career path to her relationship with her daughter, here's everything you need to know about Prince Harry's future mother-in-law.
Markle is Ragland's only child.
She and Tom Markle divorced when their daughter was six-years-old, but the marriage reportedly ended amicably. Markle, who is Ragland's only child, lived with her mother after her parents' split, but saw her father regularly.
By all accounts, Markle and her mom appear to have an incredibly close relationship. "We can just have so much fun together, and yet I'll still find so much solace in her support," she said of Ragland in Glamour this past August. "That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend."
She calls Markle by an adorable nickname: Flower.
When sharing her humanitarian work on her now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig, Markle revealed her sweet nickname. "I’m consistently asked how I keep a foot in two contrasting worlds–one in the entertainment industry, predicated on wealth and indulgence, and the other in humanitarian work. To me, it’s less of a question of how can you do this, and more a question of how can you not?" she wrote in a post titled "How to Be Both."
"'I don’t know, Flower. You were just born that way.' This is my mom’s response to the aforementioned question, and indicative of the character traits she knows me to have so well: opinionated, driven, and with a deep desire to affect change. 'It’s just who you are,' she says. (And yes, she calls me, 'Flower.')"
Given the royal family's propensity for pet names, it sounds like Ragland will fit right in.
Ragland is a social worker.
"She works specifically with the geriatric community," Markle has said. In the past Markle has also described her mother as "a free-spirited clinical therapist," who also teaches yoga.
Despite all the royal craziness over the past few months, Ragland reportedly still works at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Culver City, California. The organization's mission statement reads, "Didi Hirsch transforms lives by providing quality mental health and substance abuse services in communities where stigma or poverty limit access."
She's a free spirit.
Markle has written about her mother and their bond several times. In a 2014 Tig post called "Love Letter," the soon-to-be royal described her in this way: "Dreadlocks. Nose ring. Yoga instructor. Social worker. Free spirit. Lover of potato chips & lemon tarts. 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."
She raised Meghan to understand the importance of giving back.
Markle credits her parents' influence with her philanthropic instincts. "Both my parents came from little, so they made a choice to give a lot," Markle wrote on The Tig in 2016, "buying turkeys for homeless shelters at Thanksgiving, delivering meals to patients in hospice care, donating any spare change in their pocket to those asking for it, and performing quiet acts of grace-be it a hug, a smile, or a pat on the back to show ones in need that they would be alright."
It was her upbringing that inspired her advocacy work.
"This is what I grew up seeing, so that is what I grew up being," she continued, "a young adult with a social consciousness to do what I could, and to, at the very least, speak up when I knew something was wrong."
Prince Harry is clearly a fan of his soon-to-be mother-in-law.
And it appears the feeling is mutual. During the couple's first sit-down interview with the BBC, Prince Harry said simple, "Her mum’s amazing!" Ragland and Harry have reportedly met several times (including at the 2016 Invictus Games, pictured above).
"I’m sure at the onset, both my parents and my close friends were concerned because we got very quickly swept up in a media storm that was not part of my life before that, but they also had never seen me so happy," Markle said in that same BBC interview.
"And I think also once my friends were able to really meet Harry and my mom, who we’ve spent a lot of time with, who’s so much fun...It was just obvious that no matter what we were being put through, it was just temporary."
Ragland and Markle's father released a statement following the royal engagement announcement, which read: "We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person. To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents. We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together."
Related Video: Meghan Markle Surprises an Inspired Fan
You Might Also Like