05/17/2018 12:51 EDT | Updated 05/18/2018 09:43 EDT

Who Are Meghan Markle's Parents, Thomas Markle And Doria Ragland?

The former actress' mom and dad are now in the spotlight.

Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Meghan Markle and Doria Ragland at a UN Women's event in New York City on March 10, 2015.

If you're not a die-hard royal fan, it can be hard to keep up with all the buzz about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, let alone remember who is who in their respective families.

Markle's family, in particular, has only just been thrust into the spotlight and are not as well-known to the public. So if you've been wondering who the former "Suits" star's parents are, consider this your primer.

Who is Thomas Markle?

Markle's father, Thomas, is a retired Emmy award-winning lighting director and cinematographer who worked on the sets of shows like "General Hospital" and "Married... with Children."

He met Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, after he moved to California in the late '70s following the end of his first marriage to Roslyn Loveless, Hollywood Life reports. Thomas and Ragland then wed in 1979 and welcomed Markle two years later.

Although Markle's parents split when she was six, she's always had a close relationship with her father.

"Every day after school for 10 years, I was on the set of 'Married... with Children,' which is a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up," the 36-year-old recalled in an interview with Esquire in 2013.

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"There were a lot of times my dad would say, 'Meg, why don't you go and help with the craft services room over there? This is just a little off-colour for your 11-year-old eyes.'"

Thomas was also responsible for jumpstarting his daughter's acting career. In Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, biographer Andrew Morton revealed that in 1990, the elder Markle won $750,000 in the California State Lottery.

Although he eventually filed for bankruptcy after his win, part of his lottery money was put towards Markle's education.

"If Meg marries Harry she'll have won the lottery of life but dad winning the lottery helped us all," Markle's half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr., told the Daily Mail in November. "That money allowed Meg to go to the best schools and get the best training."

Thomas, who now lives in Mexico, was expected to attend his daughter's wedding and walk her down the aisle. However, after staging paparazzi photos, suffering a heart attack and undergoing heart surgery — all within a one-week span — Markle herself confirmed her father will not be at the ceremony.

"Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding," she said in a statement shared by Kensington Palace. "I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health."

Who is Doria Ragland?

Although Thomas will not be attending the royal wedding, Markle will have her mother by her side.

On Friday, the night before the nuptials, Ragland will stay with her daughter at Cliveden House Hotel. The next morning, the two will travel by car to St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for the ceremony, which begins at 7 a.m. EST (4 a.m. PST, 12 p.m. GMT).

Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Meghan Markle and Doria Ragland at a UN Women's event in New York City on March 10, 2015.

Markle has a very tight-knit relationship with her mother. Last year, the former actress penned an essay for Glamour, listing Ragland as one of ten women who've changed her life.

"My mom's a yoga instructor, but she does social work, as well, and she works specifically with the geriatric community," Markle wrote.

"For me to watch this level of life-long sensitivity to nurturing and caregiving, but at the same time my mom has always been a free spirit. She's got dreadlocks and a nose ring. She just ran the LA Marathon. We can just have so much fun together, and yet, I'll still find so much solace in her support. That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend."

Meghan Markle/Instagram

According to Morton, Ragland began her career as a makeup artist, which is how she met her now ex-husband, before eventually turning to yoga and social work. According to Town & Country magazine, Ragland currently works at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Culver City, California.

Markle is also a descendant of slaves through Ragland's family. According to Harper's Bazaar, Ragland's great-great-great-great grandfather worked on plantations in the south, and was freed in 1865.

Markle, who is Ragland's only child, keeps her mother in the loop when it comes to her relationship with Prince Harry. Last July, the 36-year-old took Ragland to London to show her the prince's hometown, and in September, Harry flew his future mother-in-law to Toronto to spend time with him and Markle during the 2017 Invictus Games.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Doria Ragland at the Invictus Games in Toronto on Sept. 30, 2017.

After the royal engagement was announced, Ragland and Thomas released a joint statement, via Kensington Palace, expressing their joy for their daughter.

"We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry," it read. "Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person. To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents. We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together."

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