Doria Ragland has stayed out of the public eye ever since her daughter’s relationship with Prince Harry began. In her first interview, Meghan Markle’s mom is opening up about the couple’s relationship and how it’s changed her life. “The last 5 years has been challenging,” the 66-year-old admits in the second episode of the Harry & Meghan docuseries. “I’m ready to have my voice heard, that’s for sure.”
Doria recalls when Meghan told her that she was dating Prince Harry. They were on the phone and Meghan whispered to her, “Mommy, I’m going out with Prince Harry.” At the time, Meghan told Doria that she couldn’t tell anyone.
Doria also remembers the moment she met Prince Harry for the first time. “You know, he was just like six one, handsome man with red hair. Really great manners. He was just really nice. And they looked really happy together. Yeah, like he was the one,” Doria says.
Once Prince Harry and Meghan’s relationship was officially announced, everything changed. “I said to her. I remember this very clearly, that this is about race,” Doria explains. “And Meg said, ‘Mommy, I don’t wanna hear that.’ And I said, ‘You may not want to hear it, but this is what’s coming down the pike.'”
Meghan admits that she “wasn’t thinking about how race played a part in any of this” at the time. Prince Harry notes that within the first week of their relationship going public, the first story was about Meghan being “straight out of Compton.”
The royal family’s protocol was to not say anything and just ignore it. “But what people need to understand is, as far as a lot of the family were concerned, everything that she was being put through, they’d been put through as well,” Prince Harry says. “So it was almost like a rite of passage. Some of the members of the family were like, ‘But my wife had to go through that. So why should your girlfriend be treated any differently? Why should you get special treatment? Why should she be protected?’ And I said, ‘The difference here is the race element.'”
Prince Harry addressed the “racist undertones of articles and headlines” directed at Meghan in a public statement he issues 8 days after their relationship went public. In his statement, Harry said that he was “worried” about Meghan’s safety and was “deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.”
Doria admits that she “felt unsafe” a lot because of the paparazzi that followed her around constantly. “There was always someone there waiting for me, following me to work. I was being stalked by the paparazzi,” she says.
Meghan’s mom has stood by her daughter’s side through the highs and lows. Doria notably rode with Meghan in the car to Windsor Castle on Meghan and Harry’s wedding day instead of Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle. Doria says she was “absolutely stunned” that Thomas staged photos with paparazzi prior to the royal wedding for cash.