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Marrying into the Markles: Meet Meghan's parents

First we had the Middletons and now the British Royal family are going Hollywood with their new relations – The Markles.

By Chloe Lal

Meghan Markle will officially be a member of the British Royal Family when she and Prince Harry marry on May 19.

From her incredible work as a humanitarian, a campaigner for equal rights, to her remarkable work as an actress - there is little doubt she'll fit into royal life perfectly.

But before Meghan creates a new life with Prince Harry, we take a closer look at the foundations that made her - the Markle family.

Last year, her parents, Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle shared their joy over their daughter's engagement news.

"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," they said at the time.

"We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together."

The pair can't wait to start their own family.
The pair can't wait to start their own family.

Despite their kind words, Meghan's immediate family have found themselves consistently in hot water from their run-ins with the law, to saying terrible things about their half-sibling and selling out the actress.

But time and time again, Prince Harry has shown that no matter what, he supports his wife-to-be.

Speaking about the issues, he mused, "I think we've got one of the biggest families that I know of and every family is complex as well."

WATCH: See Harry touch on his partner's family dramas in the video below!

Most recently, Meghan's father Thomas Markle has claimed he will no longer attend his daughter's big day.

Turning down the opportunity to walk his youngest down the aisle, friends of the 73-year-old have stated that he's pulled out of the prolific day following "staged paparazzi" photos were released online.

Thomas has since confirmed to TMZ that he is not going to his daughter's wedding to Prince Harry, blaming the decision on him suffering a heart attack.

Most recently it's been reported he'll now have serious heart surgery to clear a blockage, repair damage and have a stent put in.

While Prince Harry will no doubt help Meghan define what is her family, we look back at the people who make up Meghan Markle's foundation.

It's time to get to know the forces behind Meghan Markle...
It's time to get to know the forces behind Meghan Markle...

Meet Meghan Markle's parents and family

Born on August 4, 1981, Meghan is the daughter of Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle.

Her parents divorced when she six years old but maintained a strong family unit despite their relationship breakdown.

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Welcome to the family, Harry! Doria and the prince got on famously at the Invictus Games closing ceremony.
Welcome to the family, Harry! Doria and the prince got on famously at the Invictus Games closing ceremony.

Being a product of a bi-racial relationship Meghan has said, "My dad is Caucasian and my mum is African-American. I have come to embrace [this and] say who I am, to share where I'm from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident, mixed-race woman."

Doria and Thomas also instilled strong values in their daughter.

"Both my parents came from little, so they made a choice to give a lot."

Doria Ragland, Meghan's mum

Meghan and Doria are incredibly close.
Meghan and Doria are incredibly close.

One thing's certain - Prince Harry definitely has the seal of approval from Doria!

Last year, Meghan's mother was pictured with the couple at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Toronto.

So, just who is the woman that raised Meghan?

"My mum's a yoga instructor, but she does social work, as well, and she works specifically with the geriatric community," Meghan has explained of her mum. Race was a huge part of Meghan's childhood.

Her mother is African-American, and the actress has spoken about the many hurdles she faced in light of being mixed race.

In one interview, Meghan once confessed the moment her mother was mistaken for the nanny.

"I was home in LA on a college break when my mum was called the 'N' word. We were leaving a concert and she wasn't pulling out of a parking space quickly enough for another driver," the Suits beauty said.

Doria is a yoga instructor and a former social worker at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in California.
Doria is a yoga instructor and a former social worker at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in California.

Speaking on her parents' romance, Megs once remarked, "I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques. Whatever it was, they married and had me."

In an open essay for Elle Magazine, she mused, "Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating."

"While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I'm from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman."

On her now-closed lifestyle blog, Meghan reflected on her mum taking her to remote and often impoverished places when she was younger.

The starlet has described Doria as a "free-spirited clinical therapist."

"For me to watch this level of life-long sensitivity to nurturing and caregiving, but at the same time my mum has always been a free spirit," Meghan told Glamour.

"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."

Doria is said to like Harry because he's so down-to-earth.
Doria is said to like Harry because he's so down-to-earth.

Last year, before her daughter was engaged, Doria flew to London to spend time with both Harry and her daughter.

"Doria, of course, spent time with Harry and Meghan together," a source told E!.

The doting daughter also celebrated when her mum graduated with her masters in social work from the University of Southern California.

"Always proud of this beautiful woman," she penned on Instagram alongside a candid black and white snap of them.

"This was when she graduated from USC with a masters in social work. Honouring my mum, Doria, and all the amazing mamas in our lives."

Want to know more about Meghan's mum Doria?

Meghan describes her mum as one of her "best friends".
Meghan describes her mum as one of her "best friends".

Thomas Markle, Meghan's dad

Thomas is pictured with a newborn Meghan.
Thomas is pictured with a newborn Meghan.

The showbiz gene runs strong in the family.

Meghan's father, Thomas Markle, now 73, was a lighting director on the '80s sitcom Married With Children.

Describing him as the "most hardworking father you can imagine", she shared: "My father was the lighting director on two television shows as I was growing up."

He was also a voice of reason for Meghan.

Recounting an identity crisis when she was asked to tick a box marking whether she was black or white, her dad told her: "If that happens again, you draw your own box."

Despite her parents not being a couple, they had an extremely amicable relationship.

"What's so incredible, you know, is that my parents split up when I was two, [but] I never saw them fight. We would still take vacations together. My dad would come on Sundays to drop me off, and we'd watch Jeopardy! eating dinner on TV trays, the three of us.. We were still so close-knit," Meghan recently told Vanity Fair.

Meghan recounted a sweet story of how her dad once customised two Barbie doll sets, so that she could have a mixed race doll-family.

Writing for Elle she said, "On Christmas morning, swathed in glitter-flecked wrapping paper, there I found my Heart Family: a black mum doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each colour. My dad had taken the sets apart and customised my family."

There's no denying it's been a rough week for Thomas and the bride-to-be, but the retired lighting director still plays an important role in his daughter's life.

"I'm still your buckaroo, and to this day your hugs are still the very best in the whole wide world."
"I'm still your buckaroo, and to this day your hugs are still the very best in the whole wide world."

On Father's Day in 2016, the actress penned a poignant note to her dad.

"Happy Father's Day, daddy. I'm still your buckaroo, and to this day your hugs are still the very best in the whole wide world."

Adding, "Thanks for my work ethic, my love of Busby Berkeley films & club sandwiches, for teaching me the importance of handwritten thank you notes, and for giving me that signature Markle nose."

Before signing off, "I love you xo –Bean."

Thomas Markle's Dramas

Meghan had hoped her dad would play an instrumental role during her nuptials.
Meghan had hoped her dad would play an instrumental role during her nuptials.

While Meghan has nothing but love for her dad, Thomas Markle has faced incredible challenges including financial burden, which saw him relocate to Mexico after filing for bankruptcy.

Thomas has now decided to not attend his daughter's wedding to Prince Harry.

The sad news emerged after staged images showed the father of the bride browsing pictures of his daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law Prince Harry in an internet cafe, reading up on British landmarks, lifting weights to get in shape for the wedding, and being fitted for a suit for the big day.

But surveillance footage obtained by Britain's Mail alleges to show the photos were set up.

Meghan is said to be devastated that her dad won't be a part of her special day.
Meghan is said to be devastated that her dad won't be a part of her special day.

The picture-perfect photos allegedly netted up to $180,000.

Speaking with TMZ, Thomas said he "meant no harm to Meghan or the Royal Family" when he made a deal to allow a photo agency to take pictures of him ahead of the wedding.

"He says he had a reason, and it was not principally about money. Over the last year he's been ambushed by paparazzi who have photographed him in the most unflattering circumstances: buying beer, looking disheveled and reclusive. He's especially upset that they made him look like a lush," TMZ writes.

Following the fiasco, Thomas has since confirmed to TMZ that he is not going to his daughter's wedding to Prince Harry, blaming the decision on him suffering a heart attack.

Curious about recluse Thomas Markle? Read these articles...

Thomas Markle Jr., Meghan's half-brother

Thomas says he is still close to his little sister... Though his lack of wedding invite says otherwise.
Thomas says he is still close to his little sister... Though his lack of wedding invite says otherwise.

Meghan's half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr., is 15 years older than the star.

The 51-year-old, along with Samantha Grant, are the kids from Thomas Markle's first marriage to his now-ex-wife Roslyn.

Thomas has had many the run-ins with the law, and the fact he regularly shares details of his sister's romance could explain why he isn't invited to the wedding of the year.

At the start of last year, Thomas Jr. was arrested in Oregon after a drunken fight saw him allegedly threaten his girlfriend with a gun.

Tom says his arrest at the start of the year was a misunderstanding with his girlfriend.
Tom says his arrest at the start of the year was a misunderstanding with his girlfriend.

In an emotional and exclusive chat with Woman's Day just days after he was released on bail, 
Tom fought back tears as he explained he was desperately sorry for his actions, and hoped Prince Harry and Meghan would be able to forgive him.

["Meghan's relationship with Harry] has been going from strength to strength, and this drama is the last thing I wanted to happen," Tom said at the time.

"I want to tell my sister that I'm truly sorry from the bottom of my heart."

He has since changed his tune and been far from brotherly when talking about Meghan.

Earlier this year, he told In Touch that he'd recently reached out to his sister for help.

The 51-year-old had mailed her a letter congratulating her on her wedding news, and apologised for any embarrassment he may have caused.

Meghan never responded to the letter.

Assuming it must have been case of lost post, Thomas attempted to get in contact with Harry's future wife by getting his lawyer to call Buckingham Palace.

He was hoping she'd help him deal with all the extra press that now approach him.

"My lawyer had a phone meeting with her lawyer, and he emailed me some of her direct words. She said, 'That's distant family and I don't know those people.'"

"That's pretty harsh," he relayed.

The 51-year-old has since tried to soil her name in many open letters.

Just weeks before his sister is set to say "I do," Thomas wrote to Prince Harry saying it's not "too late" to pull the pin on their May 19th nuptials.

"As more time passes to your royal wedding, it became very clear that this is the biggest mistake in royal wedding history," Tom cautioned.

"Meghan Markle is obviously not the right woman for you."

Throughout everything, Meghan has handled herself with absolute grace.
Throughout everything, Meghan has handled herself with absolute grace.

3 times Thomas Markle Jr. proved to be a very bad big brother

Samantha Grant, Meghan's half-sister

Where do we begin with Samantha Grant?
Where do we begin with Samantha Grant?

Samantha Grant, nee Samantha Markle, is Thomas' Markle's eldest child and a former actress and model who lives in Florida.

The mother-of-three regularly hits out at her little sister, claiming she raised her for 12 years.

The soon-to-be author is wheel-chair bound after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008.

WATCH: Meghan's niece Noelle defends the star. Post continues below...

She has publicly criticised Meghan, alleging she was always ambitious to become a prince and had a "soft spot for gingers."

Describing her as a "social climber", she has said, "I didn't feel a separation from her until I was in the wheelchair."

"The royal family would be appalled by what she's done to her own family."

"The truth would kill her relationship with Prince Harry," adding, "Her behaviour is certainly not fitting of a Royal Family member."

Samantha (inset) has been very vocal about her sister, ever since news she was dating Prince Harry broke back in 2016.
Samantha (inset) has been very vocal about her sister, ever since news she was dating Prince Harry broke back in 2016.

In bizarre plot twist, Sam's mum Roslyn has gone on the record to say, "Everything she has said about Meghan is a lie."

The former model is releasing an explosive memoir around her little sister, with the working title The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister.

Sources close to the family believe Samantha is trying to ride her famous sibling's coat tails.

"Samantha Grant doesn't have a relationship with Meghan Markle and she never has," one source told E! News, adding Samantha was trying to "take advantage"."As they were 17 years apart, they were never raised in the same house. Meghan was raised an only child by her loving parents."

"Meghan has never done anything to her and continues to take the high road."

Harry has indirectly spoken out about the Markle drama, saying, "I think we've got one of the biggest families that I know of and every family is complex as well."
Harry has indirectly spoken out about the Markle drama, saying, "I think we've got one of the biggest families that I know of and every family is complex as well."

3 times Samantha Grant made us shake our heads

Honourable mentions: Her pets Guy and Bogart

Meghan with Bogart and Guy.
Meghan with Bogart and Guy.
Meghan's rescue pup Bogart was too old for the move to London.
Meghan's rescue pup Bogart was too old for the move to London.

Harry may be her Prince Charming, but Meghan's two love are her very cute pet pooches Guy and Bogart.

"Bogs is about three years old now and I started to see that he loves the company of people, but just like I love the company of dogs, I don't want to be around solely dogs all day long so I realised he might like to have a companion," the 36-year-old told Ellen DeGeneres.

"Guy is a Beagle and 17 pounds. He's probably about four or five-years-old based on his teeth. They are thick as thieves those two."

Sadly, Bogart had to remain in the States when Meghan made her move to the UK.

Though it's believed Prince Harry got his wife-to-be another pooch to join Guy, for Christmas last year.

Can't wait for the Royal Wedding? See our full coverage of the event right here and be sure to check back in on Saturday night as Now To Love brings you every moment as it happens!