Family of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

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Family of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Coat of Arms of Merckel family of Alsace (attributed).svg
The arms attributed to the Merckel family in Alsace, blazoned in English Azure a feather bendwise between two fleurs de lys Or. Thomas Markle's forefather was Heinrich Martin Merckel who emigrated to the United States from the Alsatian town of Lampertsloch
Earlier spellingsMerckel
Place of originUnited States
MembersMeghan, Duchess of Sussex
Archie Mountbatten-Windsor
Thomas Markle Sr.
Doria Ragland
Connected familiesBritish royal family
Spencer family

Members of the Markle and Ragland families have been related by marriage to the British royal family since the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, on May 19, 2018, when Meghan became the Duchess of Sussex. Almost a year later, on 6 May 2019, Meghan gave birth to a baby boy, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. The Markle (formerly spelled Merckel) family is of German descent and originates in Alsace on the modern French–German border, and Meghan's paternal ancestors moved to the United States in the 17th century; among her father's other ancestors are American settlers of English, Dutch, and Irish descent. The Ragland family is of African American descent, and Meghan's maternal ancestors were enslaved in the U.S. state of Georgia.

Parents of the Duchess of Sussex[edit]

Thomas Markle Sr.[edit]

Thomas Wayne Markle is the father of the Duchess of Sussex. He is a retired American television lighting director, born in 1945.[5] Markle was raised in Newport, Pennsylvania, the son of Doris May Rita (Sanders) and Gordon Arnold Markle.[5][6] His mother was from New Hampshire.[7] He has two brothers.[8] He was previously married to Roslyn Markle (née Loveless), with whom he had Thomas Markle Jr. and Samantha Grant (née Markle). He was a co-recipient of two Daytime Emmy Awards for work on the television medical drama General Hospital (in 1982 and 2011) and received a Chicago / Midwest Emmy Award for work on the television program Made in Chicago (in 1975). He also won $750,000 in the California State Lottery in 1990, although he later declared personal bankruptcy (in 2016). He currently resides in Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico.[9] He had planned to walk Meghan down the aisle for her wedding, but did not. He said his absence was due to his health, as he was recovering from a heart attack and had undergone heart surgery.[10] In reference to his son and other daughter's comments about the royal wedding, he said they "should just shut up about everything".[11]

Doria Ragland[edit]

Doria Loyce Ragland is the mother of the Duchess of Sussex. She was born in 1956. Doria Ragland is the daughter of Jeanette Arnold (d. 2000) and her second husband Alvin Ragland (d. 2011).[12] She has two older maternal half-siblings and a younger paternal half-brother.[13] She was a makeup artist when she met Meghan's father, and later worked as a travel agent. In the early to mid 2000s, she was a small business owner, operating a boutique out of a rented space in a strip mall before filing for bankruptcy and choosing to pursue her education.[14] She is an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW) and holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California, a degree that she completed in 2011. In May 2018, just a few days before the royal wedding, she resigned from her position at a mental health clinic to enter private practice working with elderly patients.[15] She has a close relationship with her daughter and was the only member of the Duchess's side of the family who was present at the royal wedding.[16]

Children of Thomas Markle and Roslyn Loveless[edit]

Samantha Markle[edit]

Samantha Marie Markle (also known as Samantha Marie Grant, born Yvonne Markle[17][18]) is the paternal half-sister of the Duchess of Sussex, the daughter of Thomas Markle Sr. and Roslyn Markle (née Loveless). She was born in November 1964[19] and lives with her boyfriend Mark Phillips in Belleview, Florida.[20][21][22] Grant has been divorced twice and has been through personal bankruptcy.[23] She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, and has been using a wheelchair since then.[24] She has stated that she had a 70 foot fall as the cause for her being in the wheelchair.[1] She has worked as a mental health counselor.[25][26][27][28] Grant has three children,[23] all of whom she is estranged from. She is also estranged from her mother, her brother, and her half sister, the Duchess of Sussex.[11] At the time of the royal wedding, she had been estranged from her half-sister for almost a decade[11] and had not spoken to her for many years.[29] She was not invited to the wedding of Prince Harry and her half-sister and had not attended her half-sister's first wedding either.[30] She has cited Doria Ragland as the main reason behind their estrangement, and insisted that Meghan should have helped their father financially (as he had declared bankruptcy in 2016).[31] However, Grant's mother criticized her daughter's behavior and remarks to the press, saying she was "an embarrassment" and needed to "get some dignity".[11] She appeared on the TLC special program When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Engagement to discuss her half-sister and her upcoming book, The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister.[30] In October 2017, Grant insisted that it will not be a tell-all book, but will rather merely be about "some of the beautiful nuances of our lives".[32] In an interview with The Sun, Grant called her half-sister a "shallow social climber" whose behavior was not "befitting of a royal family member", though she later changed her mind, describing Meghan as "very animated, very charming, very lively", and "absolutely lovely".[32][11]

In May 2018, Grant told the media that she had suffered a broken ankle and fractured knee after her boyfriend crashed a car into a concrete barrier while driving with her and trying to avoid being photographed by a member of the paparazzi, although Florida police said no report of such an incident had been filed and they had "no evidence" that it had taken place.[33][22] In the months after the royal wedding, Grant has habitually criticized her half-sister and brother-in-law on Twitter.[34][35][36] When asked whether she was making money through speaking out about her relatives, Grant replied: "I've worked in media most of my life and in broadcasting. So because my sister is suddenly royal isn't grounds for me to stop doing all of that."[37]

In late 2018, media – citing police sources – reported that Grant had been placed on a watch list maintained by the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre of persons exhibiting signs of obsession with members of the Royal Family.[38][39] Markle responded to the news by denying that she was obsessed with the Duchess of Sussex and tweeting that the purported listing was "a British media attempt at silencing me".[39]

Thomas Markle Jr.[edit]

Thomas Wayne Markle Jr. (also known as Tom Markle Jr.) is the paternal half-brother of the Duchess of Sussex, the son of Thomas Markle Sr. and Roslyn Markle (née Loveless).[40] He was born in 1966 and lives in Grants Pass, Oregon, with his fiancée Darlene Blount.[24][29] He was married to Tracy Dooley until their divorce in 2001 and then to Johannes Rawha until their divorce in 2009.[23] He and Tracy Dooley have two sons, Thomas and Tyler Dooley.[23] He works as a window fitter. He was arrested in January 2017 after threateningly holding a gun to Blount's head during an argument while he was under the influence of alcohol.[24][25][41] Later in 2018, following another incident, Blount claimed in a police call that "Markle was beating himself up" and "drinking", saying that he "was not mentally fit". Blount got arrested by the police on assault charges, but was later released.[42] The couple were involved in another domestic violence incident in July 2018 after which Blount was arrested again and released "after posting bail".[42]

Thomas Markle Jr. was not invited to the wedding of Prince Harry and his half-sister, and at the time of the wedding, he had not seen her for about seven years.[29][40] In an interview with the Daily Mirror in April 2018, Markle called his half-sister a "phony" who had "turned into a different person" and "forgotten her roots and her family" since becoming famous.[43] He then sent Prince Harry a letter, asking him to call off the wedding – saying the upcoming wedding would be "the biggest mistake in Royal Wedding History", criticizing his half-sister's treatment of Thomas Markle Sr. by saying she had been "using her own father until he's bankrupt", and calling her "a Jaded, Shallow, Conceited woman".[44] However, he later wrote another letter in which he told his half-sister he was "sorry for venting my frustrations" after not being invited to the wedding and that he was "very proud" of her and wanted her "to have a great wedding and a long future with Prince Harry".[45] After their father's relationship with Meghan soured following his multiple paid interviews, Markle Jr. said on Daily Mirror that "she is abusing his love for her, ... It's selfish, cruel even".[35]

Grandchildren of Thomas Markle and Roslyn Loveless[edit]

Tyler Dooley[edit]

Tyler Scott Markle (born July 15, 1992), known professionally as Tyler Dooley, is a nephew of the Duchess of Sussex, the son of her haf-brother Thomas and his ex-wife Tracey Dooley.[46] He was born in Los Angeles, California,[47] and co-owns a legal cannabis business with his mother. He created a cannabis product called "Markle Sparkle" to honor his aunt for her marriage to Prince Harry.[48] In an interview with Inside Edition, he released a video of him being held by the now Duchess of Sussex.[49]

Dooley appeared in the MTV International television show The Royal World as the only American cast member.[50] The show featured cast members at a country estate where they were to be treated like royalty. It premiered on November 7, 2018.[50] Dooley currently lives in Oregon.[51]

Ancestry of Thomas Markle Sr. and Doria Ragland[edit]

Thomas Markle is descended from German,[1] English,[3] and Irish immigrants.[2] His forefather Heinrich Martin Merckel emigrated to the United States from Lampertsloch, a historically German-speaking town in modern-day France near the French–German border, and later changed the spelling of his name to Markle, their current family name.[1] Among Meghan's distant ancestors are her paternal great-great-great grandmother, New Hampshire landowner Mary Hussey Smith (died 1908).[52][53]

Doria Ragland is descended from African Americans enslaved in Georgia.[4] According to information passed down (much of it verbally) from earlier generations the Ragland name came from William Ragland, a Methodist who had emigrated during the eighteenth century from Cornwall, England to North America, settling successively in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.[54] It is inferred by family members that Doria Ragland's first identifiable African American Ragland ancestor was Richard Ragland, born in Jonesboro, Georgia, in 1830; he lived long enough to experience the abolition of slavery in 1865.[54]


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