With all of the drama that's been happening, many people probably want to know more about Meghan Markle's close family and who she has the strongest ties to. It's no secret that members of her extended family, including her half-sister and half-brother, have spoken out negatively against the soon-to-be duchess. As for her mother and father, who are divorced, it appears the former Suits actor is very tight with her mom, Doria Ragland, and has somewhat of a close relationship with her dad, Thomas Markle Sr.
"The first thing I would like to share is that Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are very much looking forward to welcoming Ms. Markle's parents to Windsor for the wedding," the Royal Family's statement read. "Mr. Thomas Markle and Ms. Doria Ragland will be arriving in the UK in the week of the wedding, allowing time for Prince Harry's family, including The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to spend time with them before the big day."
The press secretary also announced Meghan's dad would walk her down the aisle and that her mom would ride with her in the car on the way to St. George's Chapel on May 19. It seems like Ragland and Thomas were Meghan's only family members, who were asked to be part of the ceremony. At this point, it's unclear if any cousins or aunts and uncles will be there for the wedding.
Before May 17, there was much confusion about whether Thomas would be in London on his daughter's wedding day. On May 14, TMZ reported Meghan's father wasn't going to the royal wedding, nor would he walk her down the aisle. He reportedly felt the staged looked "stupid and hammy" and didn't want to further embarrass Meghan and the Royal Family.
However, on May 15, Thomas then told TMZ he changed his mind and wanted to walk his daughter down the aisle. "I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle," he said. "Of course I'd walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I'd like to be a part of history." However, that's not happening. After recently experiencing health issues and having a heart attack in early May, Thomas told TMZ May 15 he was scheduled for heart surgery on May 16 prohibiting him from traveling to London for the wedding.
On May 17, Kensington Palace confirmed Thomas' absence at the wedding in statement on behalf of Meghan. It read:
Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health. I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday.
This news came on the heels of those staged photos, as reported by the Daily Mail. On May 14, the Daily Mail also reported Samantha Grant, Meghan's half-sister, tweeted (her tweets are protected) she was to blame for her father agreeing to work with photographers as a way to benefit him and portray him in a more positive light.
On May 14, Kensington Palace released the following statement to The Guardian after Thomas' incident: "This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation."
Before Meghan confirmed her father wouldn't be walking her down the aisle, Thomas told TMZ Meghan reached out to him after the photo debacle. He said she tried calling him and also texted him saying she loved him and was worried about him health-wise. Thomas also said Meghan doesn't resent him for the photos.
On May 15, Us Weekly reported Meghan still wanted her dad at the wedding. “Meghan is devastated that her father isn’t making it," a source said. "She has been very upset and would very much like for Tom to be at the wedding. She never disinvited him. She has always wanted him there."
Meghan's parents seem to mean a lot to her. On more than one occasion the 36-year-old has praised her mother and father. For example, in August 2017, she wrote about "The 10 Women Who Changed My Life" for Glamour, and, yes, the list included Ragland.
"My mom's a yoga instructor, but she does social work, as well, and she works specifically with the geriatric community," Meghan wrote. "For me to watch this level of life-long sensitivity to nurturing and caregiving, but at the same time my mom has always been a free spirit. She's got dread locks 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."
There have been reports that Meghan and her dad have faced ups and downs in their relationship, but seeing as she wanted him to walk her down the aisle, they must be on somewhat of good terms. Her father also taught her a lot as a young girl and helped her embrace who she is as a mixed raced woman.
In an essay written in July 2015 for ELLE, Meghan explained how she felt after taking a mandatory census in the seventh grade. She was overwhelmed about which box to check regarding her ethnicity. She didn't want to pick just one. As she wrote, "So, I didn't tick a box. I left my identity blank — a question mark, an absolute incomplete — much like how I felt."
She then had a conversation with her father, who said something that has "always stayed with [her]": "If that happens again, you draw your own box."
"I never saw my father angry, but in that moment I could see the blotchiness of his skin crawling from pink to red. It made the green of his eyes pop and his brow was weighted at the thought of his daughter being prey to ignorance." Meghan also wrote, "Growing up in a homogeneous community in Pennsylvania, the concept of marrying an African-American woman was not on the cards for my dad. But he saw beyond what was put in front of him in that small-sized (and, perhaps, small-minded) town, and he wanted me to see beyond that census placed in front of me. He wanted me to find my own truth."
They certainly formed a strong bond, so no wonder she hoped he would walk her down the aisle. It's unfortunate Thomas won't be at his daughter's wedding and it's probably especially sad for Meghan.
At the time of Meghan and Harry's engagement announcement, Ragland and Thomas released a statement expressing their happiness. "We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry," the statement shared by Kensington Palace read. "Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person. To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy and passion for us parents. We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together."
There's no doubt Meghan's parents have made her the woman she is today. They also seem to want the best for their daughter and are overjoyed she's living a fulfilling life — and with the man she loves.