10 Weird Things You Never Knew About Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle's Mom

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Things You Never Knew About Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle's Mom

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry went public with their relationship, the world as we know it lost their minds. All of the sudden, the once only moderately well-known Markle, then a star of USA's Suits, became an overnight sensation. There was no place where she could go where she wasn't hounded by the paparazzi. When she and Harry announced their plans to be married, all of the attention got even more intensive, and pretty soon every tiny corner of Meghan's personal life and past were being held up to the light for inspection. 

While other members of Meghan's family couldn't quite deal with being thrust into the public (*cough cough* Thomas Markle *cough cough*) one member of her family was definitely up to the task at hand. That family member? Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland. Like the rest of Meghan's life, she was dropped into the limelight whether or not she was ready for it, and guess what? She totally rocked it. Doria Ragland was center stage during Meghan and Harry's wedding and she handled all of that pressure with a grace and aplomb that made it seem like she could handle anything. 

Little did most people know: that's because Doria Ragland can handle basically anything that life is ready to throw at her! If you want to know more about her, you definitely aren't alone. Practically everyone who enters this amazing woman's life comes away wanting more. And if you're among their ranks, you've come to the right place! Check out all of these facts about the woman who taught Meghan Markle how to sparkle.


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1. She met Meghan's dad on the job

While Doria has worked at many different jobs over the years (we'll get to that later), there's one that's worth mentioning to get us started off on this list: her time as a makeup artist! Doria's career as a makeup artist for TV and movies took off pretty quickly, and she had no idea just how much it would affect the course of her life. 

It was wihle she was working at a makeup artist for the long-running soap opera General Hospital that Doria actually met her husband (and Meghan's dad), Thomas Markle! It turns out that while Doria was making the stars shine, Thomas, as a lighting technician and designer, was giving them the (literal) light to make it all possible. 

Meghan knows the story well and has even written about it! “My dad was a lighting director for a soap opera, and my mom was a makeup temp at the studio,” Meghan wrote for Elle UK. “I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques.” 

2. She's only been married once 

Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle got married less than a year after they met. They tied the knot in 1979 and were married until 1988, splitting when Meghan was just six years old. While Doria has dated since the split, she has never gotten remarried and has no plans to do so. The divorce wasn't a bad one, in fact, the whole family would sit around watching TV and eating frozen dinners just to make sure that Meghan knew both of her parents cared about her deeply. 

Meghan is also Doria's only daughter. She even has a special pet name for her, "flower". How cute is that?

Thomas, who went on to remarry, had other children even though he was a whopping 12 years older than his first wife.

3. She used to be mistaken for Meghan's nanny 

As a black woman married to a white man, Doria was no stranger to racism in all of its forms. As a biracial child, this was something Meghan was also keenly aware of, even very early on in her life. In fact, she has memories of people assuming her mother was her nanny!

“[My parents] moved into a house in the Valley in L.A., to a neighborhood that was leafy and affordable,” she said. “What it was not, however, was diverse. And there was my mom, caramel in complexion with her light-skinned baby in tow, being asked where my mother was since they assumed she was the nanny.”

4. She's no stranger to hard times

After Doria and Thomas ended their marriage, Doria had to figure out a way to make ends meet as a single mother in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. It wasn't always easy, but she didn't let the relentless struggle drag her down into the mire of despair! 

Doria went to work as a travel agent and was so naturally good at the job that she eventually was able to start her very own small travel agency. Though business was successful for a time, ultimately with the advent of the internet, travel agents weren't as commonly needed, and Doria actually had to not only shutter the doors of her business but also to file for bankruptcy. 

5. She work, work, work, work, works!

Doria didn't let her setback in the travel business keep her from success and she didn't let it slow her down in the least. In fact, after dealing with her financial issues, Doria went back to college to pursue advanced degrees in social work. Once she had those pieces of paper in hand, she got back to work.

Prior to Meghan's nuptials, Doria worked as a social worker. But she didn't think one job was enough and added another to the pile: yoga instructor! Though she is now technically retired (so she can see more of her daughter), she still regularly teaches yoga classes and checks in with her old clients. 

6. She's loved by the royals 

If you tuned in to watch Harry and Meghan tie the knot, then you already know that Doria was the only member of Meghan's entire family who came to attend the blessed event. There was something a little sad about seeing her all by herself on the bride's side, while the royal family dominated the groom's. 

Still, there's a reason she was there. Unlike Thomas Markle who regularly speaks with the press about his daughter, Doria keeps her lips sealed. Additionally, she endeared herself to Charles and Camilla in a private lunch prior to the wedding. She's the only Markle who is always welcome in the palace. 


RELATED: What Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Baby Will Look Like


7. She's a "free spirit" 

Meghan Markle isn't the only member of her family who is taking a role in modernizing the British monarchy! When Doria made her appearance at the wedding of her daughter she sported her dreadlocks and her nose ring!

She's a laid-back, West coast woman at heart and her appearance is just one way that it shows. 

8. She's a great mother-in-law

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"She's amazing," Prince Harry has gushed about the other woman in his life, Doria, his mother-in-law. 

While the royal couple did their best to make sure they kept their relationships under wraps even from some people in their lives, Doria wasn't one of them. Meghan introduced her mother to Harry very early on in their relationship and they immediately took a shine to each other. 

In fact, Doria was right there at the Invictus Games in Canada in 2017 when the couple made their first official appearance as an item. 

9. She's her daughter's best friend

Meghan and her mom Doria share an exceptionally close bond. Meghan views her mother as her best friend, and she isn't shy to share her feelings about the number one lady in her life (not counting the Queen, obviously.)

“We can just have so much fun together, and yet, I'll still find so much solace in her support,” she wrote in Glamour. “That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend."

10. She's also friends with Oprah! 

When Doria was spotted visiting Oprah and her sprawling home in L.A., people were surprised. Were these two really friends or was this more of a Hollywood type of bond? Well the jokes on them, because guess who showed up Meghan and Harry's wedding?

That's right, Oprah herself! You don't just fly overseas for a wedding if you are not besties with the bride's mom, do you?


RELATED: 7 Awkward Details About Meghan Markle And Kate Middleton's Relationship


Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margo. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr