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Ever since news broke that Prince Harry was dating Meghan Markle, everyone has been dying to know more about the former Suits star and her family. To help satiate the public’s curiosity, we’ve done some digging and have found 13 fascinating things that most people don’t know about the actress’ family. Check it out:
Meghan’s parents, Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle, were a mixed-race couple who met in the late ‘70s on a television set. Her mother is African American while her father is of Dutch and Irish descent. “My dad was a lighting director for a soap opera and my mom was a temp at the studio,” she wrote in an essay for Elle UK in 2015. “I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques.” She grew up in The Valley in L.A. where there wasn’t a lot of diversity and people would assume her mother was the nanny.
Markle’s parents divorced in the ’80s when she was six years old. After the divorce, she lived with her mother, but she would visit her father every day after school on the set of Married…with Children where he worked. She remained close with both of her parents following their divorce and has paid tribute to her father for ensuring that she had the best opportunities growing up.
Prior to meeting the Suits star’s mother, her dad was married to a woman named Roslyn Loveless, and they had two children together, Thomas Jr. and Samantha. After Thomas divorced Meghan’s mother, she still remained close with her half-siblings. According to Thomas Jr., he would go to her school productions. “I’d go to her school productions,” he told Daily Mail. “When you saw Meg on stage, even as a kid, it was clear she was going to be a star. She came alive.”
Her dad filed for bankruptcy in 2016 in California. He had credit card debts of $33,540 and a savings of only $222. He has also been the subject of four legal claims over the past 20 years for unpaid tax bills. Her mother, on the other hand, declared bankruptcy in 2002 over a $52,750 credit card bill, according to the UK Daily Mail.
Meghan’s mother’s ancestors were cotton slaves. “Like many African Americans, Doria can trace her lineage back to the days of slave labour in the Deep South states of Georgia and Tennessee, in particular the area around Chattanooga,” Halima Sadat wrote in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Engagement. Her grandmother, Netty Allen, grew up during racial segregation and discrimination and left the deep south and moved to Ohio, which is where Meghan’s mother Doria was born.
Her dad Thomas currently lives in Rosarito, Mexico. Her uncle Michael said that he chose to move there because the cost of living is better than it is in the United States. He lives in a small beachfront house that is perched on a 120-ft cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, drives a Volvo S70 and a red Ford Escape, and shops for groceries at a Walmart that is a few miles away. He also owns an apartment in Los Angele in the city’s Los Feliz suburb.
Her half-sister Samantha (who is 16 years older than her) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and is now wheelchair-bound. She is estranged from her mother, brother, father and Meghan, but she’s given a number of interviews about her half-sister. She claims that she and Meghan have barely spoken since her MS diagnosis.
The actress’ half-brother, Thomas Jr., was arrested on New Year’s Eve along with his fiancée Darlene Blount after they had an altercation. Thomas Jr. reportedly held a gun to Blount’s head while she allegedly hit him. Blount was charged with fourth-degree assault and spent nearly a day and a half in jail while Thomas Jr. was released without charge.
Doria, Meghan’s mother, has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. According to her Facebook page, she does social work at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services and Wise and Healthy Aging in California and works specifically with the geriatric community. She reportedly quit her job ahead of the royal wedding so that she could pursue her dream of starting her own practice.
Samantha is writing a book about Meghan and her family called The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister. According to her, it’s not going to be a tell-all, but instead will be a memoir that focuses on race. “It’s only a tell-all in that I recant beautiful nuances of our lives, our family home,” she said. “More importantly, it has to do with the interracial evolution of this country through the lens of my life in my family since the civil rights act until present, and how that intersects with the recent events with my sister.”
The actress is really close with her mom, Doria, who she describes as a “free spirit. “She’s got dreadlocks and a nose ring. She just ran the LA Marathon. We can just have so much fun together, and yet, I’ll still find so much solace in her support. That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend,” she told Glamour.
Thomas Markle worked as a television lighting director and as a director of photography on Married…with Children and he worked as a lighting director for General Hospital, and he won a Daytime Emmy in 2011 for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series for his work on the soap opera General Hospital.
Meghan’s dad won $750,000 in a California state lottery in 1990. She was just nine years old at the time. “If Meg marries Harry she’ll have won the lottery of life but dad winning the lottery helped us all,” her brother Thomas Jr. told the Mail on Sunday. “That money allowed Meg to go to the best schools and get the best training. Meg is someone who has always had laser focus. She knows what she wants and she doesn’t stop until she gets it.”