Meet the parents: Meghan Markle's mother and father

Meghan Markle is close to both her "free-spirited" mother and her "thoughtful, inspiring" father.

She has written lovingly of her relationship with both.

Thomas Markle will perform the fatherly duty of walking his daughter down the aisle, and Doria Ragland will travel with Ms Markle in a car to Windsor Castle on the morning of the wedding.

Both are meeting the Queen and the royal family ahead of the nuptials, and Harry's encounter with Mr Markle in the days before the wedding will be the first time he has met his future father-in-law face to face.

Mother - Doria Ragland

Ms Markle has described her mother as a "free-spirited clinical therapist".

Writing on her lifestyle blog, she told how her mother took her to visit the slums of Jamaica and to see poverty in Mexico when she was just 10.

"My mother raised me to be a global citizen, with eyes open to sometimes harsh realities," Ms Markle revealed.

Ms Ragland, who is African-American, met Mr Markle on the set of the US soap General Hospital, where he worked as a lighting director, when she was a temp in the studio.

"I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques," Ms Markle wrote.

They divorced when Ms Markle was six. Although she lived with her mother in Los Angeles, Ms Markle also spent a great deal of time with her father.

Ms Ragland has worked at a day centre for adults with memory loss and as a yoga therapist.

Ms Markle's mother, who filed for bankruptcy in 2002, has kept her daughter's counsel despite the press interest.

There have been recent reports that she has visited chat show host Oprah Winfrey at Winfrey's California mansion.

She was mentioned in the Kensington Palace statement which attacked the media over its treatment of Ms Markle, saying that her mother was "having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door".

Ms Ragland also joined her daughter and Harry to watch the Invictus Games closing ceremony in Toronto, Canada, in September.

Father - Thomas Markle

Thomas Markle is a former TV lighting director who worked on shows such as hit sitcom Married ... With Children and popular US drama General Hospital.

He won two Emmys for his team's work on General Hospital and was nominated for countless others.

Ms Markle is his only child from his second marriage to Doria Ragland. He has two older children from his first marriage to Roslyn Markle.

He lives a quiet life in Mexico and filed for bankruptcy in 2016 after reports that he failed to pay his debts.

Ms Markle is close to her father, who is of Dutch and Irish descent, and has described him as hard-working and caring and of believing in her "grand dream" of becoming an actress.

She has paid tribute to "the blood, sweat and tears this man (who came from so little in a small town of Pennsylvania, where Christmas stockings were filled with oranges, and dinners were potatoes and spam) invested in my future so that I could grow up to have so much".

Ms Markle added: "It's safe to say I have always been a daddy's girl - he taught me how to fish, to appreciate Busby Berkeley films, write thank-you notes, and spend my weekends in Little Tokyo eating chicken teriyaki with vegetable tempura."

She recalled how one Christmas he created a Barbie family for her when they were only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls.

Her new collection of dolls had "a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each colour. My dad had taken the sets apart and customised my family".

When Ms Markle was confronted with a tick-box form to fill in at school about her ethnicity and found she did not fit into just one category, she revealed: "My dad said words that will stay with me forever: 'Draw your own box'."

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS