The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle appears to have a very close relationship with her mother, Doria Ragland.
Ragland has been a reassuring presence at Markle’s biggest royal moments thus far: her wedding (where she walked arm-in-arm from the church with Prince Charles) and the birth of her first born, Archie.
Ragland, 62, was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1956. Her mother worked as a nurse while her father was an antique dealer.
Ragland’s family moved to Los Angeles when she was young where she attended high school at Fairfax High School.
She worked as a makeup artist after her graduation and met her ex-husband Thomas Markle while working on TV show General Hospital. Ragland worked as a travel agent and went on to earn a social work license. She married Thomas Markle in 1979 and divorced him in 1987 after Meghan Markle’s birth.
Up until days before her daughter’s wedding in 2018, Ragland worked as a social worker at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Clinic in Culver City, L.A.
Her interest in social justice clearly impacted her daughter as Meghan is also a huge advocate for humanitarian issues, like women’s rights.
In 2017, Markle wrote an op-ed for Time on the stigma surrounding menstruation, and since becoming a royal has continued her philanthropic efforts by working with organizations like the Hubb Community Kitchen, a kitchen ran by those who survived the Grenfell Tower fire.
Markle wrote about her mother’s lifestyle on her old blog, The Tig. One post read, “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.”
Ragland teaches yoga in Los Angeles and influenced Markle to start practicing at the age of seven.
Markle is now a yoga fan, but it hasn't always been that way. “Yoga is my thing,” Markle told Best Health. “I was very resistant as a kid, but [my mother] said, ‘Flower [Ragland’s nickname for Meghan], you will find your practice — just give it time.’ In college, I started doing it more regularly.”
In addition to yoga, Ragland also loves running – in fact, she has run in the L.A. Marathon.
Despite the huge life change undergone by her daughter in the last few years, she and Markle are still close. The Duchess had her mother closely involved in the royal wedding planning – Markle flew out to L.A. to explain to her mother how the big day would go, according to royal contributor Omid Scobie.
“It was in Los Angeles that she arrived equipped 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,” Scobie said on Good Morning America.
Ragland was staying with Meghan for the birth of Archie, and she was even included in the official royal statement, which read, “The Duchess’s mother, Doria Ragland, who is overjoyed by the arrival of her first grandchild, is with Their Royal Highnesses at Frogmore Cottage.”