Meghan Markle’s father discusses his split from Doria Ragland
Meghan and Prince Harry are evidently spending a great deal of time with Archie’s grandmother, Ms Ragland, now they have a permanent home in California. Meghan’s mother was credited with capturing the informal image the couple chose for their Christmas card and has supposedly been helping raise her one-year-old grandson since the rebellious couple left the Royal Family. LA-based Ms Ragland was pictured visiting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex a handful of times during their brief period as a married couple on the royal frontline.
She was the only member of Meghan’s immediate family to attend their wedding.
This trip alone was enough for Harry’s mother-in-law to “fall in love” with the UK, according to reports, despite being based on the other side of the world.
One of Ms Ragland’s close friends told the Daily Express: “She is getting ready to move to London.
“I think she will be going as soon as possible.
“I know that she was eager to live closer to her daughter.
“She also fell in love with England and told me when she got back that it’s somewhere she believes she too could happily live.
Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Ragland
Meghan has always been close to her mother, pictured here at a UN event
“I think this has been coming for a while.
“Even before the wedding, she told me how she misses her Megs so much she would do anything to be closer to her, especially now Meghan will be starting a family of her own.”
The wedding appeared to be a particularly enjoyable time for Ms Ragland, and her friendship with Prince Charles was apparent as she looped her arm through his upon exiting St George’s Chapel.
Speaking to reporter Mike Parker, another neighbour said: “Doria and Meghan have always been inseparable.
“Doria is beside herself with excitement at the thought of moving to London.”
Meghan has referred to her mother as her “best friend” in the past, praising her for being a huge influence on her life and teaching her to appreciate food and yoga.
Ms Ragland seemed serious about relocating to be closer to her daughter, as sources claimed she had quit her job as a social worker for the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services clinic in LA.
Harry’s mother-in-law also had a security guard with her as she moved around California, and appeared to have almost moved out of her LA home, according to the August 2018 report.
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Doria meeting her grandson Archie with the Queen, Philip, Meghan and Harry
However, Meghan has pipped her mother to the post and has already moved closer to her.
The Duchess of Sussex spoke of her unhappiness behind Palace walls in 2019 in a bombshell ITV interview and said: “Not many people have asked if I’m OK.”
In hindsight, it appears the couple were laying the groundwork for their exit at the time.
She and Harry hightailed it to Canada shortly afterwards, for an extended break away from their public life, spending Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year in North America with Ms Ragland.
A source told PEOPLE: “She definitely gets a lot of her strength from her mother.
“She and Meghan are so close — Harry really gets on well with her too.
“Any new mom wants her own mom around at this time, so it’s great.”
An insider told the Mail that Ms Ragland was “really worried about Meghan”, and was “relieved that her daughter is putting her mental health and wellbeing first” by stepping away from the spotlight and royal life.
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Meghan and Harry’s Christmas card this year with Archie — taken by Doria
Doria Ragland appeared friendly with Charles at Meghan’s 2018 wedding
Meghan and Harry then came back to the UK for just three days and announced their intention to “step back” from the Royal Family.
The Duchess of Sussex left to return their son Archie, who had been left in Canada — presumably under the care of either friends or his loving grandmother — while Harry stayed to hash out the details of their royal exit with his family.
When the couple completed their last duties in the UK as working senior royals in March last year, they returned to North America and jumped from Canada to the States just before the pandemic triggered the borders to shut.
It will have come as no surprise to royal fans that Meghan chose to set up camp in LA, to begin with, as she grew up there and it would have enabled her to be close to Ms Ragland.
She and Harry then bought a sprawling mansion in Santa Montecito, just 90 minutes from the big city.
Despite Ms Ragland’s excitement over England, Meghan was apparently “miserable in the UK”, according to friends.
A pal explained: “This was her plan all along, to eventually leave the UK and build her own empire with Harry.”
Doria during a visit to the UK to unveil Meghan’s cookbook
Doria and Meghan during the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto
They added: “Doria is very much about being true to oneself and so of course she will continue to encourage Meghan to take the road less travelled.”
Another friend told the Mail that Meghan has no “intention” to return to the UK permanently, as she “doesn’t want to raise Archie there” and does not want “to schlep back and forth”.
They claimed she plans only to make extended visits.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were expected to return to Britain to have a face-to-face meeting with senior royals for the one-year review of their royal departure.
However, reports claim this review has since been extended, as coronavirus restrictions make travel difficult.
There is also no impetus to make significant changes to the current arrangements, because both the Royal Family and the Sussexes are content.
The deal, first struck back in January last year, means Meghan and Harry have to spend the majority of their time in North America as opposed to splitting it equally with the UK — as the Sussexes planned originally.