Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding is almost here, and in recent weeks, her family has found itself in the spotlight too.
Most recently, TMZ reported that Meghan's nephew Tyler Dooley, his brother Thomas, and their mother Tracy Dooley touched down at Heathrow Airport in London Monday despite not having invitations to the royal wedding on Saturday. The extended family members are reportedly planning to serve as "special correspondents" for Good Morning Britain.
The news of their arrival in the United Kingdom follows a report that Meghan Markle's father, Thomas Markle Sr., has decided not to attend the royal wedding so as not to "embarrass the royal family" after it was reported that he collaborated with a paparazzi photographer to stage a series of pictures (for which Meghan's half-sister, Samantha, subsequently took responsibility). Kensington Palace issued the following statement on Monday: "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."
Meghan Markle attends an Anzac Day service at Westminster Abbey on April 25.
It remains somewhat unclear whether Thomas will be there. Since the prince's press secretary previously said that "Mr. Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle of St. George's Chapel," his potential absence could require a replacement. Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, is a likely contender. She is planning to spend the night before the wedding with her daughter at Cliveden House, a Relais & Châteaux hotel in the Berkshire countryside. Then, "on the morning of the wedding, Ms. Ragland will travel with Ms. Markle by car to Windsor Castle," the press secretary's statement said.
Markle's mother and father had been expected to arrive in the U.K. the week of the wedding, the statement added, "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."
Someone who probably will not be spending time with the young couple before their nuptials? Meghan's half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr., who just a few weeks ago asked Prince Harry to call off the wedding.
"As more time passes to your royal wedding, it became very clear that this is the biggest mistake in royal wedding history," Tom wrote in a letter to Prince Harry, which InTouch shared on May 2. "Meghan Markle is obviously not the right woman for you." He also wrote that she is a "jaded, shallow, conceited woman that will make a joke of you and the royal family heritage."
This isn't the first time Markle's brother has shared his less-than-kind thoughts about Meghan.
"She is giving the greatest performance of her life. She is acting phony. I've read that Meg wants to be like Diana. Diana was worshipped by everyone in the world. She was loved for the right reasons. That's what Meg wants, but I don't think that's going to happen. She's not genuine like Diana," he told the Mirror.
So who are these (for the most part) chatty relatives and what are their relationships to Markle? Here’s everything we know about the potential princess-to-be's family life.
HER DAD WORKED IN SHOWBIZ
Markle is not the first one in her family to get a Hollywood gig. Meghan’s father Thomas W. Markle, 72, was a camera operator on the '80s sitcom Married With Children, and, according to Markle's
However, during her first sit-down interview with Prince Harry, Markle revealed her father has yet to meet her beau. "He’s talked to my dad a few times, hasn’t been able to meet him just yet," she shared.
Meghan Markle at age 10 with her grandmother Doris, her father (top right), and her uncle (top left).
Thomas currently lives in Mexico, and his son divulged that their father once won the lottery, winning an estimated $750,000.
"If Meg marries Harry she'll have won the lottery of life but dad winning the lottery helped us all," the 51-year-old told the Daily Mail. "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."
SHE'S CLOSE TO HER MOTHER
Markle describes Ragland as the biggest influence on her life. Though Markle lives in Toronto and her mother is in L.A., the two spend plenty of time with one another. They attend events together (such as the United Nations Women's Day in March 2015), grab yoga classes together (Doria is an instructor), and Markle even took her mom to London to meet Prince Harry. Just a few months ago, at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Markle brought along her mother to hang out with the Prince as well.
Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry at the Invictus Games closing ceremony.
"Her mom’s amazing," Prince Harry said during that sit-down with the BBC following their engagement announcement.
"I’m sure at the onset, both my parents and my close friends were concerned because we got very quickly swept up in a media storm that was not part of my life before that, but they also had never seen me so happy," Markle said.
"And I think also once my friends were able to really meet Harry and my mom, who we’ve spent a lot of time with, who’s so much fun ... It was just obvious that no matter what we were being put through, it was just temporary."
In addition to teaching yoga, Doria is a licensed social worker and jewelry maker living in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles. Her marriage to Markle's father, Thomas Markle, ended when the actress was six years old, after which Meghan lived with her mom but saw her dad regularly.
HER HALF SISTER IS A FORMER MODEL AND ACTRESS
Samantha Grant, 51, is Markle's
She’s even writing a tell-all, reportedly titled The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister
half sister Samantha Grant says she has barely spoken to Meghan since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008.
A mother of three and former actress and model based in Florida, Grant said she has also since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008.
Still, Grant praised Markle on Entertainment Tonight, saying her
Grant is reportedly not invited to the wedding (the May 4 statement from the palace did not mention her
OTHER, MORE DISTANT RELATIVES ARE FINDING THEMSELVES IN THE SPOTLIGHT AS WELL.
Meghan Markle's nephew, Tyler Dooley, who is the son of her half-brother Thomas Markle Jr., recently appeared on Good Morning Britain to speak about his relative with his mother, Tracy. They shared that they likely won't be invited to the royal wedding. "I don’t think we are getting invitations, but that is fine, we are so proud of her," Tracy said. They haven't been in touch with Meghan in years.
Both Tracy and Tyler will reportedly be in Windsor on May 19 as part of Good Morning Britain's coverage.
Meghan Markle's nephew and his mum have not received an invitation to the Royal Wedding but say they're proudly supporting her. pic.twitter.com/LrMb8WCszh— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 26, 2018
SHE’S TALKED ABOUT GROWING UP MULTIRACIAL
Now 36, Markle has spoken of her pride in her mixed-race heritage and that her ancestors were once slaves.
Markle told Elle that she struggled with her identity, growing up with a black mother and white father: "You create the identity you want for yourself, just as my ancestors did when they were given their freedom."
Meghan and her half-sister Samantha in 1982.
In a post for her lifestyle site, The Tig, the actress recalled having to tick a box indicating her ethnicity as a
"You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other—and one half of myself over the other," Markle wrote.
My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. 'Because that's how you look, Meghan,' she said. I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn't bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn't tick a box. I left my identity blank—a question mark, an absolute incomplete—much like how I felt.
Markle says she grew to embrace her mixed heritage and is proud to be "a strong, confident mixed-race woman."
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.