Why Princess Diana Would Have Loved Meghan Markle’s Mom
Until very recently, nobody knew much about Meghan Markle’s mom. Markle’s parents divorced when the future Duchess of Sussex was just six years old. And Meghan was raised by her mother, Doria Ragland. She had a very different upbringing than what her husband, Prince Harry, had as a member of the royal family.
Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, never got to meet her son’s wife. But we think that if Princess Diana were still around, she would have loved Meghan Markle — and Meghan Markle’s mom. Here’s why.
Meghan Markle’s mom is a therapist, and Princess Diana worked as a teacher
Both Prince Harry’s mom and Meghan Markle’s mom chose jobs that put them in direct contact with other people. And both care deeply about others. They also worked to instill those values in their children. Meghan Markle’s mom, Doria Ragland, has worked as a yoga instructor and as a clinical therapist. Meghan used some of the money she made as an actress to send her mother to graduate school. So Ragland became a licensed social worker. Markle once wrote that her mom works with patients in the geriatric community. And she said that Ragland has had a “lifelong sensitivity to nurturing and caregiving.”
You may not know this about Prince Harry’s mom, but she worked before she became the Princess of Wales. Business Insider reports that before she married Prince Charles, Diana Spencer worked as an assistant kindergarten teacher. (At that job, a reporter slipped into the school through a bathroom window to try to get a photo.) Even when she stopped working, Diana still loved children and did plenty of outreach to vulnerable kids.
Both Doria Ragland and Diana Spencer valued philanthropy
Princess Diana was and is beloved for her philanthropy. And many people admire her choice to make the world pay attention to causes that mattered. Harper’s Bazaar notes that Meghan Markle’s mom also steered her daughter toward philanthropy. Just as Princess Diana took her sons to homeless shelters and hospitals, “Ragland used to take her daughter to see deprived, underprivileged areas abroad so that Markle would understand what it meant to be impoverished.”
Meghan Markle once said of her parents, “Both my parents came from little, so they made a choice to give a lot.” Seeing her mom model that commitment likely made an impact on Markle. The Duchess of Sussex does a lot of charity work and has taken up a number of causes. That probably pleases her mother. And it would have made her mother-in-law proud.
They both married men 12 years their senior — and divorced them
Harper’s Bazaar reports that Doria Ragland married Thomas Markle, who is 12 years her senior. That age gap would sound familiar to Princess Diana, who was 12 years younger than Prince Charles. (When the Prince and Princess of Wales tied the knot, Charles was 32 and Diana was 20.) Ragland met Markle when she was just 20. But when things didn’t work out between them, she forged ahead as a single mother.
Both Meghan Markle’s mom and Prince Harry’s mom felt protective of their children
The New Yorker reports of Meghan Markle and her mom, “What we know of the relationship between mother and daughter has an ‘us against the world‘ feel to it. After her parents divorced, when she was six, Markle spent weekdays with her mother.” Princess Diana, similarly, was protective of her sons and tried her best to prepare them for the demands of royal life, while still ensuring that they wouldn’t grow up isolated behind palace walls.
Plus, both women did what they needed to do to ensure the best outcomes for their children, no matter what others thought. The New Yorker points out:
It should not be lost on anyone that, despite the pitiful shenanigans of her ex-husband, Thomas Markle, and the gossiping of her ex-stepchildren, Ragland flew to Heathrow to do what black women do: straighten the mess up. One vision of the black mother depends on this kind of self-effacing altruism. The public has fallen for Ragland. On Twitter, people speculate that Lady Diana Spencer, whose legend of social rebellion is especially idolized by black women, would have adored her.
Doria Ragland and Diana Spencer both stand out from the royal family
The New Yorker also reports that at the royal wedding, Meghan Markle “entered one of the oldest halls of whiteness, with the flowers of former colonies sewn onto her veil, and blended in. Ragland stood out.” And if Princess Diana had been around to attend her son’s wedding, she and Meghan Markle’s mom might have bonded over feeling like outsiders among the royal family.
Good Housekeeping notes that Diana repeatedly broke royal protocol with her parenting, her style, her marriage, and her relationship with the press. And USA Today reports that she continually mystified and aggravated the royal family. Their experiences certainly aren’t the same. And one definitely grew up with many more privileges than the other. But the gulf between them and the rest of the royal family might have given them something to discuss.
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