Who is Doria Ragland? Meghan Markle's mum joins her on red carpet at awards ceremony
The yoga instructor supported her daughter as she accepted the Women of Vision Award in New York City last night.
Since Meghan Markle entered the Royal Family, her mother Doria Ragland has supported her behind the scenes. But on the a few occasions, she's physically accompanied her daughter to landmark occasions and and last night was on such event. Ragland accompanied her daughter - along with Prince Harry - as the Duchess of Sussex accepted a prestigious award in New York.
The event, where Meghan received the Women of Vision Award for her life-long advocacy for women and girls, marked her first public appearance after missing the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
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It's one of the first times Ragland has been seen publicly since speaking out in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's bombshell Netflix series, Harry & Meghan.
The proud mother was previously on hand to support Meghan in September 2018, which celebrated the publication of Together: Our Community Cookbook with a palace luncheon.
In 2022, Ragland also joined Meghan and Prince Harry at the 53rd annual NAACP Image Awards where the Duke and Duchess received the President's Award.
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Who is Meghan Markle's mum Doria Ragland?
Doria Loyce Ragland, 66, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, before her family moved to Los Angeles when she was a baby.
On leaving high school, Ragland temporarily worked as a make-up artist's assistant on the set of General Hospital, where she met her future husband Thomas Markle. Ragland married the lighting director on 23 December, 1979, and had Meghan two years later on 4 August, 1981.
However, when Meghan was two the couple went their separate ways, ultimately divorcing in 1987 when Meghan was six years old.
Ragland has been a social worker, at a Mental Health Services clinic in Culver City, as well as a yoga instructor and later, CEO, CFO and secretary of a care home firm in Beverly Hills.
She reportedly still lives in the View Park-Windsor Hills neighbourhood of Los Angeles, a two-hour drive south of where Meghan and Harry have settled state-side in Montecito, Santa Barbara.
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Ragland speaks out
Despite some public appearances alongside her daughter and son-in-law, Ragland has preferred to stay back from the public eye, but that changed with her appearance in the couple's Netflix series.
On finally having her voice heard
"The last five years have been challenging," Ragland, said after introducing herself on camera in the second episode of the six-part series. "I'm ready to have my voice heard, that's for sure. A little bit of my experience as her mom."
On finding out her daughter was dating a royal
When asked if she remembered when her daughter told her that she was dating the royal, Ragland replied: "I do. When she told me, we were on the phone and she says, 'Mommy, I'm going out with Prince Harry,' and I started whispering, 'Oh my god!' She says, 'You can't tell anyone.' So from the beginning, it was very sort of, 'Oh my god, nobody can know.'
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On meeting Prince Harry
Ragland also recalled the first time she ever met her now son-in-law, describing him as "handsome" and "really nice".
"He was just like, [this] 6ft 1, handsome man with red hair. Really great manners. He was just really nice. And they looked really happy together. Yeah, like he was the one."
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On Meghan as a child
Ragland recalled what Meghan was like as a child, describing her as "easy to get along with" and "empathic".
"She was always so easy to get along with," she explained. "Very congenial, making friends. You know, she was a very empathic child. Very mature."
She went on to offer a hint of the relationship the mother/daughter duo had while Meghan was growing up.
"I remember asking Meg did I feel like her mom, and she told me that I felt like her older, controlling sister. I never forgot that," she adds.
On the impact of the attention
Later in the series, Ragland reflected on the impact the interest in her daughter's relationship had on her own life, explaining she felt like she was being "stalked" by paparazzi, which made her feel "unsafe".
"I felt unsafe a lot," she said. "I can't just go walk my dogs, I can't just go to work. There was always someone there waiting for me, following me to work. I was being stalked by the paparazzi."
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On Meghan's father
Ragland also shared her thoughts on allegations that Meghan's father Thomas Markle had been involved in the staging of paparazzi shots shortly before the couple got married in 2018, in a ceremony that he did not attend.
"I was absolutely stunned that Tom would become part of this circus," Ragland said. "I felt sad that the media would run with this. That he would capitalise... certainly as a parent, it's not... that's not what you do.
"That's not parenting," she added.