Meet the Markles: A Comprehensive Timeline of Meghan’s Family Drama
4099 words — & counting!
Since the beginning of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal romance, Markle’s family — in particular, her half-siblings and father, Thomas Markle— have been more than willing to give their two cents about the Duchess of Sussex. Here is a look at the family drama that has occurred since the royal romance began.
Meet the Family
Before we dive into this sordid timeline, let’s go over its key players:
Doria Ragland is Meghan’s mother. Doria and Meghan’s father, Thomas, divorced when Meghan was six years old. Doria has met Prince Harry, and he thinks that she is “amazing.”
Thomas Markle Sr. is Meghan’s father. The former lighting director filled for bankruptcy in 2016, which has turned to one of the same sources of family accusations against Meghan. He now lives a seemingly laid back life in Mexico.
Samantha Grant (who now goes by Markle) is Meghan’s half-sister. They have the same father, and Samantha is 17 years older than Meghan. She has been the most outspoken member of Meghan’s family since her courtship with Harry in 2016. She is said to be writing a memoir called “The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister.” According to Samantha, it is less a tell-all and more to do “with the interracial evolution of this country through the lens of my life and my family since the civil rights act until present.” Keep in mind that while Meghan Markle is bi-racial, her half-siblings are not.
It all started when…
December 28, 2017: Markle’s siblings slam Harry for saying the royals are “the family she never had”
Meghan’s siblings were quick to respond to a BBC interview in which Prince Harry referred to the royals as “the family [Meghan] never had.” Brother Thomas Jr., told the Daily Mail that their father was “extremely hurt” over this comment and that “obviously, she had a family. She was very privileged. She got everything she ever wanted.” Half-sister Samantha also responded via her Twitter account (which she has now made private), saying: “Actually she has a large family who were always there with her and for her. Our household was very normal and when dad and Doria divorced, we all made it so it was like she had two houses. No one was estranged ,she was just too busy. Read my book complete with facts and photos.”
Jan 10, 2018: Samantha Markle calls sister out for engagement photo
Half-sister Samantha did an interview with In Touch in which she claims that Meghan owes much of her success to their father, saying that “he gave her so much of who she is.” She then went on to call out her half-sister about not helping their father with his financial troubles, mentioning the $75,000 Ralph & Russo gown Meghan wore in her engagement photos. “If you can spend $75,000 on a dress, you can spend $75,000 on your dad.” She also added that Meghan’s mother Doria has become “possessive and controlling” over her daughter.
Feb 5, 2018: Samantha says that she’s disappointed in Meghan
In an interview with Australian news show A Current Affair, Samantha once again called out Meghan for not helping their father financially since he declared bankruptcy in 2016. “I don’t think that he feels that she owes him but, that is how I see it,” said Samantha. She then went on to seemingly discredit Meghan’s philanthropic work by saying that she’s seen “a lot of situations where celebrities visit a place that is poverty stricken and they’re wearing impeccable clothing. They themselves are wealthy, and it really feels like a photo opportunity. So it’s a little exploitive in my mind.”
February 8, 2018: Thomas Jr. says that Meghan is “ignoring” his plea for help
Meghan’s brother Thomas Jr. told In Touch magazine that he has received no help from his younger sibling in light of her royal engagement. According to Tom Jr. the connection to Meghan has caused a lot of media scrutiny for him and his family. “There was a time where people were following me around at work, taking pictures and posting horrible stories about me and my family saying I’m a white supremacist, a drug addict and a dealer, all this crap that just isn’t true,” said Thomas Jr. His lawyer has been in contact with the palace lawyers in hopes of getting some help with the negative press, but the interactions have been less than successful.
February 24, 2018: Samantha’s ex-husband speaks out
Samantha Markle’s ex-husband, Scott Rasmussen, told The Mirror that the royal couple should refrain from inviting the bride’s half-sister to their nuptials. According to Rasmussen, his “fame hungry” ex-wife is exaggerating her relationship with Meghan. “Harry and Meghan need to know the truth about her. She’s the last person who should be at Windsor Castle,” said Rasmussen. Rasmussen also said that his ex-wife “should act with some dignity, keep her mouth shut, and leave everybody else alone.” Samantha responded by saying that Rasmussen “wants to take advantage of my sister’s high profile. Scott vowed to get revenge when we got divorced. He is saying anything he can right now to disparage me.”
Mar 11, 2018: Brother Thomas Jr. does not receive wedding invite
An inside source told UK news outlet Express that Meghan’s brother, Thomas Jr., will not be invited to her wedding. The source said that her brother did not receive an invite due to all the interviews he has done with the media about his sister. “If he would quit talking to the media, Meghan would probably be more into the idea of inviting him,” said the source.
March 26: Meghan’s nephew and former sister-in-law confirm that they won’t be going to the wedding
Meghan’s nephew Tyler Dooley and his mother Tracy have revealed that they have not been invited to the royal wedding, according to an interview with Good Morning Britain. However, Tyler remains optimistic, saying, “At this point, who knows? This all goes back to Meghan, it’s her day and her happiness.” Tyler’s mother Tracy, who was married to Meghan’s half-brother Thomas Jr., added, “I don’t think we’re going to get an invitation, and that’s fine. We’re OK with that and we’re supporting her. We’re so proud of her.”
March 28 2018: Meghan’s estranged family are revealed as wedding correspondents
An inside source told Us Weekly that Meghan’s half-sister Samantha, nephew Tyler and ex-sister-in-law Tracy are planning to fly to London to be correspondents for the royal wedding.
April 14, 2018: Meghan’s nephew begins making commemorative cannabis
Tyler Dooley, son of Thomas Jr., is planning to make a special hybrid of weed to celebrate his aunt’s wedding, appropriately named The Markle Sparkle. If for some reason the couple would like to try the custom cannabis, he told the Daily Mail that he would be “more than happy” to supply them with a sample, providing they come to Oregon where Dooley is a licensed medical marijuana grower.
April 23, 2018: Meghan’s niece begs family to leave Meghan alone
Meghan’s niece has spoken out in hopes that her family will leave her aunt alone, according to Metro UK. The estranged daughter of Meghan’s half-sister Samantha said she is “embarrassed” by her mother’s actions and that her mom’s interest in having a relationship with Meghan came after she started dating Prince Harry. “She wanted to be nice, to be friends, to say how much she loves her sister – but after years of telling me and the rest of the family how much she hates Meghan, how much of a narcissist Meghan apparently is and what a horrible woman Meghan is, which isn’t true at all.”
May 2, 2018: Thomas Jr. tells Harry not to marry Meghan
Meghan Markle’s half-brother has sent a letter to future brother-in-law Prince Harry as a final plea to call off the wedding. “Meghan Markle is obviously not the right [woman] for you,” he writes in a letter shared exclusively with In Touch. He then goes on to accuse her of abandoning their father after using him for money. “She easily forgets if it wasn’t for my father she would be [bussing] tables and babysitting to pay her old debt off.”
May 4, 2018: Palace confirms that Meghan’s parents will have roles in her wedding
Today we have provided an update on the Wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle.
Read the full statement here: https://t.co/bhrPnJtrNm
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 4, 2018
Days after Meghan’s half-brother told Prince Harry and In Touch magazine that their father was snubbed, Kensington Palace confirmed that both Markle’s mom and dad will have roles in her wedding. “On the morning of the wedding, Ms. Ragland will travel with Ms. Markle by car to Windsor Castle. Mr. Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel. Ms. Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion,” wrote a Kensington Palace spokesman.
May 12, 2018: Thomas Markle Sr. begins staging paparazzi photographs
Photos of Meghan’s father taken by “paparazzi” turned out to be taken by photographer Jeff Rayner in collusion with Thomas Sr. himself. The Daily Mail reported that the pair was caught on the security camera of an internet cafe in Mexico staging a photo of him looking at images of his daughter and Prince Harry. Other photos that were proven to be staged include him being measured by a “tailor” (who turned out to be an assistant at a party goods store), browsing through a book about English landmarks at a Starbucks, and lifting weights. It’s reported that Meghan’s father could have received up to £100,000 for the photos.
May 14, 2018: Meghan’s father pulls out of wedding, reveals he had a heart attack
After he was caught staging photographs with paparazzi, Thomas Markle Sr. has said he will not attend his daughter’s wedding, telling TMZ that his motives for the images were not “principally about money.” He was to hoping improve his image but now he “deeply regrets” it. The report also revealed that Meghan’s father had suffered a heart attack six days earlier, but checked himself out of the hospital so that he could attend the wedding. However, the embarrassment of the photo scandal has led to him opting out of walking his daughter down the aisle.
May 14, 2018: Half-sister Samantha takes credit for staged photos
On the same day, Samantha Markle did an interview with British TV show Loose Women, defending her father and taking responsibility for the staged photos. “I have to say that I am entirely the culprit. As we know, the media can take very unflattering photographs on their casual days and blow it way out of proportion… I said ‘you need to show the world that you’re getting in shape and doing great, healthy things,’” said Samantha. She then went on to say that the plan was not money motivated and that if her father did receive any compensation for the photos it would be “a pittance.” She also confirmed that the last time she and Meghan spoke was in 2015, when she called Meghan to talk about their father.
May 15, 2018: Samantha gets called out by Piers Morgan
Samantha returned to Good Morning Britain for an interview with a less-than complimentary Piers Morgan. On the show, she confirmed that the last time the sisters saw each other was in 2008, and that their last contact was a phone conversation in 2015. Samantha then went on to blame the media for her father’s heart attack as well as the negative portrayal of their family. Piers was having none of it, and responded by saying, “We can’t respect it coming from a woman who’s been trading her very tenuous relationship with Meghan Markle, who’s had one conversation with her in ten years and has been popping up on the world’s airwaves…Some may say it’s pretty rich coming from you, Samantha Markle, to come on television and blame media vultures.” Samantha then went on to tell Piers that he shouldn’t believe everything he reads just because it’s in quotes. Yikes.
May 15, 2018: Some of the family arrives in London
Also on this day, Meghan’s nephews and former sister-in-law were photographed arriving at London’s Heathrow airport. Though they have not received invitations to the royal wedding, it has been previously speculated that they are going to be TV correspondents on Meghan and Harry’s special day.
May 15, 2018: Thomas Sr. is having surgery
Finally, Thomas Sr. told TMZ that he has changed his mind and now wants to walk Meghan down the aisle. However, he has to undergo heart surgery this week which means it’s unlikely that he will be able to make it to the nuptials. To really add to things, Meghan’s father said that the open letter his son sent to Prince Harry at the beginning of the month is what triggered his heart problems. The article also revealed that, according to Samantha, her father did receive compensation for the staged photographs—around $1,500 plus royalties (pun intended?).
May 16, 2018: Thomas Sr. heads in for surgery and Samantha Markle does another interview
As it stands, Meghan’s father’s surgery is said to be scheduled for this morning. In the meantime, Samantha Markle had a chat with TMZ about, you guessed it, Meghan Markle. The interviewer tells Samantha that Meghan has reportedly made it clear that she does not want her half-sister to be speaking to the press. “There’s something in this country known as free speech. She doesn’t have a copyright on that and she’s not going to tell me that I can’t speak my own life or my father’s where it’s a matter of public self defence because the media is disparaging us… She’s way out of her league to tell me that I can’t speak,” responded Samantha.
Samantha then went on to say that she and her half-sister do not have a relationship as of the past year, blaming the media for their falling out. However, if we look back just two days, Samantha confirmed that the last time the sisters spoke was in 2015. I’m so confused.
May 16, 2018: Samantha Markle in car crash after “paparazzi confrontation”
Half-sister Samantha has been in a car accident after an alleged run-in with the paparazzi, according to TMZ. Samantha’s boyfriend, Mark, told TMZ that he swerved into a concrete barrier after a photographer swerved in front of them in hopes of getting a clear shot. Mark then drove Samantha (who is said to have a broken ankle and fractured knee from the accident) to the hospital.
May 16, 2018: Thomas Sr. is out of surgery
Also in the hospital? Meghan Markle’s father, who just had surgery after suffering a heart attack eight days ago. TMZ spoke to Thomas Sr. after his surgery, where he said “I’m ok. It will take a long time to heal. Staying in the hospital a few more days. Not allowed to get excited.”
May 17, 2018: Meghan Markle confirms that her father will NOT be at the wedding
A statement from Ms. Meghan Markle: pic.twitter.com/TjBNarmuBU
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 17, 2018
This morning, Meghan Markle released a statement confirming that her father will not be attending the wedding. “I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health,” reads the statement. There has been no word yet on who will be walking Meghan down the aisle, but there is speculation that it could be her mom, Prince William or Prince Charles.
May 18, 2018: Prince Charles will walk Meghan down the aisle
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 18, 2018
Kensington Palace has announced that Prince Charles, Harry’s father, will walk Meghan down the aisle at their wedding. This news comes just one day before the couple’s wedding. The statement reads that Meghan asked Prince Charles if he would walk her down the aisle and that Charles is “pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way.”
May 18, 2018: “No evidence” found of Samantha Markle’s crash
According to local law enforcement in Florida, they have been unable to find any proof of the “paparazzi confrontation” that lead to a car accident for Samantha Markle and her boyfriend. “We can’t find any reports basically from all of central Florida. We can’t find a report by name or a scenario that was similar to this,” Lt. Kim Montes told the DailyMail.com. Furthermore if Markle’s boyfriend, Mark, did hit a barricade and failed to report it, he could be charged with a hit-and-run under Florida law and face up to two months in jail.
May 22, 2018: Samantha Markle takes to Twitter
Samantha has returned to Twitter to give her two-sense about her half-sister’s royal wedding. Most of the critique was targeted to Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, who she said “looked more like the hockey player in the penalty box” at the wedding. She also tweeted how it was “ridiculous” that she was sitting by herself at the ceremony and accused her of being a sell-out. Doria wasn’t the only subject of Samantha’s critique, she then went on to slam the bride after it was reported that Meghan didn’t mention her father in her toast. “So she didn’t mention my dad and his shout out at the reception either? I guess she ignored the bishop’s sermon about love and forgiveness,” tweeted Markle. She then compared the royal family to the Addams family “but with billions of dollars.”
May 29, 2018: Samantha critiques Meghan’s Coat of Arms
Meghan Markle’s coat of arms was revealed this past week, and Samantha Markle is NOT impressed. In her latest take to Twitter, Samantha said that it “looks like it was drawn by someone in a kindergarten classroom”. Yikes. But that’s not all, Samantha then went to go on to attack Meghan, saying that the new coat of arms does not suit her. Her main issue appeared to be with the three quills that are said to represent communication. “She does not communicate with people she cuts people out of her life including a best friend of 30 years and two speeches in her whole lifetime does not make her a public speaker,” said one tweet. Along with “Her degrees are in drama and foreign affairs and only a bachelor degree,” and “Her motto is say nothing and she cut everyone off.”
Speaking of Meghan’s “only a bachelor degree,” her university education makes her one of two royal brides in the history of the British Monarchy to receive a university education. She is accompanied by sister-in-law Kate Middleton who has a master’s degree in Art History.
June 18, 2018: Thomas Markle Sr. has his first tell-all interview
Thomas Markle Sr. opted to speak with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain for his first tell-all interview. In the world exclusive, Thomas Sr. speaks about his relationship with the royal family, missing his daughter’s wedding and, most surprisingly, Prince Harry’s political affiliations.
Clearly, Markle’s father is unaware of the longstanding tradition of royals avoiding political talk. Or, he just doesn’t care. Speaking about a phone call with his daughter and Prince Harry, Thomas Sr. shares that he and the British royal discussed President Donald Trump. “Our conversation was, I was complaining about not liking Donald Trump, he said ‘give Donald Trump a chance.’ I sort of disagreed with that.”
On top of sharing Harry’s opinions on the political climate across the pond, Thomas Sr. also spoke to a conversation he had with Harry about Brexit. (The tricky topic was, of course, brought up by Morgan.) “It was just a loose conversation about something that we have to try. There was no real commitment to it.” Morgan pressed further, asking if Harry supported Brexit. To which Thomas (thankfully) kept his answer somewhat vague: “I think he was open to the experiment.”
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) June 18, 2018
The interview wasn’t all politics: at another point in their on-air chat, Thomas Sr. teared up as he reflected on his infamous staged photos, calling them a “mistake.” He continued on to say that he “spoke to them both and apologized” for the images, insisting that Harry and Meghan were “very forgiving.”
July 16, 2018: Thomas Markle Sr. gives his second tell-all interview
In a new interview with British tabloid The Sun, Thomas Markle Sr. asserts his belief that his daughter is miserable in her role as the Duchess of Sussex. Here are some of the highlights. (And by highlights, we of course mean cringe-worthy moments):
“My thing about my daughter right now is that I think she is terrified. I see it in her eyes, I see it in her face and I see it in her smile. I’ve seen her smile for years. I know her smile. I don’t like the one I’m seeing now. This one isn’t even a stage smile – this is a pained smile.”
“Meghan seems like something out of an old movie. Why in 2018 are we dressing like the 1930s? Why do they have to cover their knees?”
“Anyone who makes a profit off the Royal Family becomes shunned. But I could have made well over $100,000 by just doing a talk show. So if I moved to London and started selling cups with my daughter’s face on, would they shun me?”
August 12, 2018: Okay, Thomas Markle Sr. seriously doesn’t know when to stop talking…
Thomas Markle’s latest — and according to him, last (ha!) — interview has him addressing the facts and fiction of his narrative in the media. In the story, he claims that drinking a class of red wine with dinner is good for the heart, that fish from McDonald’s is part of a healthy post-heart attack diet and that he had a “heated” pre-wedding phone call with Prince Harry.
Shortly after the third explosive interview, the Daily Mail‘s Richard Kay reported that the royal family is in a state of “existential crisis” over the nonstop drama. “The perception is that he was treated very much as an afterthought,” said one royal aide, “No one went to visit him when the answer would have been to have someone fly out from London and explain to him how things were going to happen. Even after he started talking to the media it was not too late.”
December 9, 2018: Thomas Markle Sr. launches pre-Christmas campaign to get Meghan to speak with him
Well, well, well…it looks like Mr. Markle has lied to us all when he said he would no longer be giving interviews to the press. Meghan’s father, once again, spoke with the Daily Mail, where he shared intimate details about their relationship. “I have been frozen out and I can’t stay silent,” he said, “I have made dozens of attempts to reach my daughter via text and letters, but she and Harry have put up a wall of silence. They have done what they once told me not to do – they are believing everything negative that has been written about me.”
Then, in an effort to prove himself worthy of being let into the oh-so-private royal inner circle, Thomas Markle shared letters that the Duchess has written to him over the years — including the ‘Save the Date’ card from her first wedding. (She’s wearing a bikini. It’s on the beach. There’s a beer. It’s just a little different from the wedding announcement Kensington Palace made for Markle’s second nuptials.)
December 16, 2018: Samantha Markle criticizes the royal Christmas card
On December 14, Kensington Palace shared Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s first Christmas card as a married couple. The black and white photograph is a BTS shot from their May wedding, and shows the royals holding onto one another as they watch a firework display over Frogmore House.
Samantha hit Twitter to respond to Kensington Palace, writing “Interesting that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have their backs turned. Is this towards the world or just the Ragland and Markle family? It’s a bit sad. Face the Christmas spirit.”
“It’s incredibly rude to turn your back in a Christmas photo that is meant to share warmth and good wishes with the world,” she wrote in another tweet. “Those that criticize me for pointing out the truth, need to get that brown stuff off their noses. I hear the worlds smallest violin playing.”
December 16, 2018: Thomas Markle Sr. feels he’s been ‘ghosted’ by his daughter
During an appearance on Good Morning Britain, Thomas Markle—who Piers Morgan confirmed “received no payment for today’s interview”—said he’s tried to contact Meghan every day since the royal wedding, but has yet to receive a response.
’We’re family. Please reach out to me.’
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) December 17, 2018
“She has always been a very controlling person and that is part of her nature, but she has never been rude. She has always been in charge,” he said. “I’ve been ghosted. I’m not sure why it’s happening. I love my daughter very much. I wish she would reach out, send me a text, anything. There has to be a place for me. I’m her father.”
Thomas then issued a statement directly to his daughter, you know, just in case she was watching: “I love you very much. I would like to hear from you. Whatever difficulties we’ve had I hope we can work through them. We’re family.”