Meghan Markle's family: Who are they and are they trying to profit off her royal romance?

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017. (Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017. (Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Everyone is obsessed with Meghan Markle these days, and with good reason. The actress and her royal boyfriend — Prince Harry, don’t cha know! — made their first public appearance this week, and the press has taken to breathlessly analyzing their every step, both public and private. And while the couple’s outlook is rosy, it seems the Suits actress, 36, is dealing with some challenges within her family — namely, those who seem to be attempting to profit off the high-profile relationship.

The latest news comes courtesy of a book proposal her half-sister, Samantha Grant, 51, is shopping
around. Grant is Markle’s half-sister from her father’s first marriage. According to Page Six, the tell-all — tentatively titled The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister — is said to be focused on race, as Markle is biracial (their father, Thomas Markle, is white.) According to the synopsis, Grant claims that her family was bigoted, while she was committed to proving that “there is no such thing as ‘color,’ only fear and hatred that people like my own grandmother were taught in the uneducated and insecurity-based pockets of America and the world.”

Samantha Markle Grant
Samantha Markle Grant, the half-sister of Meghan Markle, is writing a book about their family. In a previous interview with a tabloid, she called her sister “shallow” and a “social climber.” (Photo: Splash News)

Grant’s proposal also highlights Markle’s struggle in the public eye once she was outed as Harry’s beloved, as the British press was pretty cutting about her biracial background. As Grant puts it in her proposal, “If only I could predict the media frenzy and racial slurs that would occur as a direct result of my beautiful baby sister possibly becoming the first biracial princess or duchess in royal history. Little did I know that I would stand looking back over my shoulder at how far we’ve come in the world towards true multiracial and multicultural appreciation, contrasted with how far we have to go in our evolution towards Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream.”

Some of the coverage Grant is likely referring to includes a Daily Mail article that put the spotlight on Crenshaw, Calif., where Markle’s mother, Doria Radlan, has a home, and labeled Markle as “(Almost) Straight Outta Compton,” highlighting the area’s crime statistics over the years and referring to the area as “downtrodden” — which is untrue. Apparently, some of the press took issue with Markle’s mother being African-American and immediately dove into using outdated tropes to detail that side of her lineage.

But the truth is that Markle’s mother, at age 60, is pretty awesome.

As reported in Town & Country, Radlan and Markle are super close and have an idyllic mother-daughter relationship — so much so that Markle has credited Radlan as being the biggest influence in her life. Radlan often visits Markle on-set in Toronto, and the two make time for one another when schedules allow, often making trips in support of Markle’s philanthropic pursuits. And Radlan has her own busy schedule to attend to. In addition to being a yoga teacher, Radlan is also a licensed social worker — and she makes jewelry too.

No filter. Just happiness with my mama bear. #homesweethome #LA #californialove #iloveyoumom

A post shared by Meghan Markle (@meghanmarkle) on May 22, 2016 at 9:25pm PDT

Happy Mother's Day to my hot mama #doria

A post shared by Meghan Markle (@meghanmarkle) on May 12, 2013 at 3:37pm PDT

Radlan and Markle’s dad, Thomas, 72, split when Markle was 6 years old. Thomas was a camera operator on Married With Children, a lighting director, and also worked on shows including General Hospital. He brought Meghan to the set, where she caught the acting bug. He’s also an Emmy winner, nabbing a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Design Excellence for a Daytime Drama Series. Thomas has reportedly met Harry and given approval of his daughter’s relationship.

Me and my dad #throwbackthursday

A post shared by Meghan Markle (@meghanmarkle) on Mar 14, 2013 at 6:23pm PDT

While Markle’s mom and dad, whom she wrote about in a personal piece about being mixed-race for Elle UK in 2015, seem like a strong support system for the actress as she navigates the pressures of her high-profile romance, her siblings seem to be operating on a different level.

Before Grant started shopping around her memoir, she spoke to tabloids about Markle, saying things like, “Hollywood has changed her. I think her ambition is to become a princess,” and, “The truth would kill her relationship with Prince Harry.” She’s also groused about how Markle apparently stopped talking to her after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, and claims the actress didn’t give the family emotional or financial support once she became famous. But as Page Six says, a source tells them the two “have never had a relationship.” Grant is also a former actress and model, and a mother of three.

Then there’s Markle’s brother, Thomas Jr., 50, who has also been making the press rounds — including outlets notorious for paying for interviews. He’s routinely offered insights into Markle’s relationship with Harry, going so far as to suggest he’d like to host the prince’s bachelor party. In speaking with British tabloid the Mirror, he said of the potential royal engagement, “I would describe my extended family like a cross between Married with Children and Dexter,” ya know — the show about the serial killer. Adding, “like the Dukes of Hazzard and the Simpsons versus the royal family.”

Thomas reported that he hadn’t heard back from Harry about the party, which is probably for the best. Earlier this year, he was booked on one felony count of unlawful use of a dangerous weapon, and two misdemeanors of menacing and pointing a firearm at another person, for holding a gun to his now fiancée’s head.

Thomas also seems to feel a deep connection to Markle — and her success — telling DailyMail TV, “I do have a sense of pride in Meghan being successful. … It was just obvious from day one she was destined to be somewhere really big. She is not necessarily a princess, but she has carried herself on that level from day one.”

As if all that family drama isn’t enough, Markle’s ex-husband, Trevor Engelson, is now producing a TV show that sounds suspiciously familiar. Though the two split in 2013 after being married for just two years, Engelson’s show is about an American divorced mother who moves to London to marry a prince, and how the father of her children has difficulty sharing custody of their children with the royal family. Sure, Markle and Engleson didn’t have kids, so the half-hour, single-camera comedy isn’t necessarily autobiographical. But still, it’s hard to deny where the inspiration for the show came from.

Meghan Markle and her now ex-husband, Trevor Engelson, in 2011. (Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
Meghan Markle and her now ex-husband, Trevor Engelson, in 2011. (Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

While Markle may be dealing with some unsavory behavior from her extended family in the wake of her relationship with Prince Harry, it seems her mom and dad have her back. Here’s hoping the rest of them cool it with the opportunistic behavior before the rumored impending royal wedding takes flight.

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