Despite officially stepping back from their roles as senior members of the royal family, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have continued to capture worldwide attention and interest as they pursue independent endeavours and grow their family in California.
For the Duchess of Sussex, the move to the United States, and specifically California, last year marked a return to the country of her birth, as well as the state where many of her friends and family members live.
The couple’s relocation has also sparked the beginning of new friendships, with the duke and duchess forging close relationships with their new neighbours, such as Oprah Winfrey, with whom they have sat down with for a wide-ranging, highly anticipated interview.
From Meghan’s mother and father to her closest friends, these are the people in the duchess’s inner circle.
Meghan, who was born in California, is the only daughter of Doria Ragland, a former social worker and yoga teacher and Thomas Markle Sr, who divorced when the duchess was six years old.
Ragland has been an integral part of the couple’s life since before the royal wedding, with Meghan’s mother staying with the couple ahead of their wedding in 2018, before becoming the only member of the duchess’s family to attend the ceremony.
Meghan and her mother Doria
Ragland later reportedly moved in to help the couple in the weeks after the birth of their firstborn child, Archie Harrison, and according to reports, is currently living with the couple in their California home, where she has continued to enjoy her grandmotherly duties.
In 2017, Meghan opened up about her relationship with her mother during an interview with Glamour, revealing: “We can just have so much fun together, and yet, I’ll still find so much solace in her support.”
Meghan has had a tumultuous relationship with her father, a 76-year-old retired television lighting director who lives in Rosarito, Mexico.
The issues between the father and daughter became public prior to the royal wedding, when Markle Sr announced that he would not be attending the wedding, where he was meant to walk his daughter down the aisle, after he suffered a heart attack.
Ahead of the royal wedding, Meghan’s father had also reportedly staged paparazzi photos in which he was pictured showing his interest in his daughter’s upcoming nuptials, and has on numerous occasions, discussed his troubled relationship with his daughter in interviews with media outlets.
Meghan has reportedly not seen her father since before her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.
The duchess has an equally volatile relationship with her half-sister on her father’s side, Samantha, 54, who lives in Florida and who has also spoken to the media about her sister.
According to Cosmopolitan, the last time Meghan saw Samantha was when she graduated from college in 2008.
Meghan’s other half-sibling, her brother Thomas, 53, lives in Oregon and, like others members of her family, has publicly criticised the duchess for her role in the royal family.
Meghan married Harry in 2018 after getting engaged in November 2017. Prior to their engagement, the couple, who met through a mutual friend, had dated for 15 months.
Meghan and Harry married in 2018
The marriage marked the duchess’s second, as she was previously married to film producer Trevor Engelson, who she divorced in 2013 after two years.
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor
The couple is currently expecting their second child
The announcement that Archie would soon be a big brother came after Meghan revealed in November that she had suffered a miscarriage over the summer.
The tennis pro is one of Meghan’s closest friends, after they first met in 2014 during a charity football match.
Williams attended the couple’s wedding in 2018
(AFP via Getty Images)
According to Vogue, the duchess discussed their relationship on her now-defunct lifestyle website The Tig, where she wrote that she and Williams “hit it off immediately, taking pictures, laughing and chatting - not about tennis or acting, but about good old-fashioned girly stuff”.
Williams attended Meghan’s wedding in 2018.
Winfrey was another celebrity in attendance at Meghan’s royal wedding, after the pair reportedly met once before.
Since announcing their decision to leave the royal family, Winfrey has been an outspoken supporter and friend of the couple.
Ahead of the upcoming two-hour special, the former talk-show host told her friend Gayle King that the interview with the duke and duchess is her best yet.
Mulroney, a stylist and TV personality, has long been known as one of the duchess’s closest friends.
Recently, there were reports that the friends were no longer close after Mulroney became embroiled in controversy, however, she denied the rumours on her Instagram in September, where she referred to Meghan as “family”.
“I’m going to tell this once and for all. Meghan and I are family. She is the kindest friend and has checked up on me everyday,” Mulroney wrote on her Instagram Story, according to People. “Tabloid culture is atrocious. It creates lies and hurtful storyline. Stop feeding into it. Done.”
Prior to becoming a member of the royal family, Meghan was well-known for her role as an actress in Suits, which is how she met her close friend Abigail Spencer, who co-starred on the show.
In addition to contributing to The Tig, Spencer attended her friend’s baby shower, and has previously gone on outings with Meghan and Harry.