All eyes will be on Meghan Markle come May 19 when she walks down the aisle of St. George's Chapel to marry Prince Harry. But they'll also be on her 61-year-old mother Doria Ragland, who, as the mother of the bride, will share in the royal spotlight, just as Carole Middleton did back in 2011.
Ragland, who had tea with her daughter, Prince Harry, Prince Charles, and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House after arriving in London yesterday, has been assigned a special role in the wedding. On the morning of May 19, she will ride in the car with Meghan to the chapel; however, after this week's shocking reports that Meghan's father, Thomas Markle Sr., will not attend the wedding following a heart surgery, many are wondering if Ragland will be the one to walk her daughter down the aisle. TMZ has even suggested that Markle Sr. thinks that would be a "good idea."
While Kensington Palace issued a statement, asking "for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation," and Meghan Markle issued a statement confirming her father would not be at the wedding, the royal family has yet to announce who, if anyone, will Meghan away.
We'll be sure to update as soon as we know more, but in the meantime, here's everything you need to know about Prince Harry's future mother-in-law.
MARKLE IS RAGLAND'S ONLY CHILD.
She and Tom Markle divorced when their daughter was six-years-old, but the marriage reportedly ended amicably. Markle, who is Ragland's only child, lived with her mother after her parents'
By all accounts, Markle and her mom appear to have an incredibly close relationship. "We can just have so much fun together, and yet I'll still find so much solace in her support," she said of Ragland in Glamour this past August. "That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend."
SHE CALLS MARKLE BY AN ADORABLE NICKNAME: FLOWER.
When sharing her humanitarian work on her now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig, Markle revealed her sweet nickname. "I’m consistently asked how I keep a foot in two contrasting worlds–one in the entertainment industry, predicated on wealth and indulgence, and the other in humanitarian work. To me, it’s less of a question of how can you do this, and more a question of how can you not?" she wrote in a post titled "How to Be Both."
"'I don’t know, Flower. You were just born that way.' This is my mom’s response to the aforementioned question, and indicative of the character traits she knows me to have so well: opinionated, driven, and with a deep desire to affect change. 'It’s just who you are,' she says. (And yes, she calls me, 'Flower.')"
Given the royal family's propensity for pet names, it sounds like Ragland will fit right in.
RAGLAND IS A SOCIAL WORKER.
"She works specifically with the geriatric community," . In the
Despite all the royal craziness over the past few months, Ragland reportedly still works at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Culver City, California. The organization's mission statement reads, "Didi Hirsch transforms lives by providing quality mental health and substance abuse services in communities where stigma or poverty limit access."
Meghan Markle and her mother at the 2016 Invictus Games in Toronto.
SHE'S A FREE SPIRIT.
Markle has written about her mother and their bond several times. In a 2014 Tig post called "Love Letter," the soon-to-be royal described her in this way: "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 “,” 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."
SHE RAISED MEGHAN TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF GIVING BACK.
Markle credits her parents' influence with her philanthropic instincts. "Both my parents came from little, so they made a choice to give a lot," Markle wrote on The Tig in 2016, "buying turkeys for homeless shelters at Thanksgiving, delivering meals to patients in hospice care, donating any spare change in their pocket to those asking for it, and performing quiet acts of grace—be it a hug, a smile, or a pat on the back to show ones in need that they would be alright."
It was her upbringing that inspired her advocacy work.
"This is what I grew up seeing, so that is what I grew up being," she continued, "a young adult with a social consciousness to do what I could, and to, at the very least, speak up when I knew something was wrong."
PRINCE HARRY IS CLEARLY A FAN OF HIS SOON-TO-BE MOTHER-IN-LAW.
And it appears the feeling is mutual. During the couple's first sit-down interview with the BBC, Prince Harry said
"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 in that same BBC interview.
"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."
Ragland and Markle's father released a statement following the royal engagement announcement, which read: "We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. 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 for us as parents. We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.