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Doria Ragland speaks out: Meghan Markle’s mother steps into the spotlight for Netflix series

Meghan Markle’s mother Doria Ragland reveals her ongoing support for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, by taking a starring role in the couple’s blockbuster new Netflix series.

The 66-year-old, who lives in LA, and has a close relationship with the couple and her grandchildren – appears in all three of the episodes released by streaming giant Netflix today. 

Intimate family photos show the grandmother to Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, celebrating key milestones, including Archie’s first birthday party. 

And in the first half of the second episode, Doria takes centre stage, saying she’s now ready for her voice to be heard on the couple’s story – and revealing how she felt when the world learned her daughter was dating her a prince. 

She tells the series she wanted to share ‘a little bit of my experience as her mom’  – including how she raised the Duchess ‘with a network of women’.

The opening scenes of episode two of the Netflix series sees Doria Ragland say she’s ‘ready to have my voice heard’ – as she reveals the last five years have been ‘challenging’ for Meghan

The first half of the much anticipated six-part Netflix series dropped today, with the couple airing footage that they began filming in March 2020, in the days after their final royal engagements.

This is the first time Doria has spoken so freely to camera about her daughter’s relationship – clearly showing just how close she remains to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  

She also reveals that she instantly knew Prince Harry was ‘The One’ for her daughter from their first meeting. 

Speaking straight to camera, the mother was quizzed by producers about the first time her daughter told her about her new royal romance back in 2016.

Recalling their phone conversation, Doria says Meghan – who was starring as Rachel Zane in Suits at the time – whispered: ‘Mommy, I’m going out with Prince Harry.’

Close relationship: The yoga instructor, who lives in LA, appears in the couple's new documentary, appearing in numerous family photos from Meghan's childhood and more recent family snaps with the couple's grandchildren

Close relationship: The yoga instructor, who lives in LA, appears in the couple’s new documentary, appearing in numerous family photos from Meghan’s childhood and more recent family snaps with the couple’s grandchildren

Doria said: ‘I started whispering [and said] “oh my god!”

During that first phone call, Meghan told her mother that she needed to keep her relationship a secret.

She explained: ‘From the beginning, it was very sort of… nobody could know.’

Doria then went on to share her first impressions of her son-in-law – but didn’t reveal where or when the meeting took place.

She continued: ‘He was this 6’1 handsome man with red hair, [he had] great manners. He was just really nice. They look really happy together.

‘He was The One.’

Mother and daughter also recount their experiences of the Duchess’ childhood, with Meghan saying people assumed that Doria was her nanny. 

The first half of the six-part series dropped today, with the couple airing footage that they began filming in March 2020, in the days after their final royal engagements

The first half of the six-part series dropped today, with the couple airing footage that they began filming in March 2020, in the days after their final royal engagements 

The first three episode of the series sensationally dropped this morning, despite the couple having been reported to have tried to push it back to 2023 despite the streaming giant paying them a rumoured $100million (£88million) for the fly-on-the-wall series. 

There have been mixed reports, with the royals reportedly ‘at odds’ with the production staff on their Netflix docuseries because the ‘panicked’ couple want to make ‘such extensive edits’ that the team believe the project could be ‘shelved indefinitely’.

King Charles and Prince William are poised to issue a ‘swift and robust’ response to any unjust claims in Harry and Meghan’s series – but William and his wife Kate are not likely to watch it themselves, sources have said.

Senior royals are said to be bracing for the worst and will be prepared to address any unfounded accusations as the new series drops on the streaming service at 8am.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have already made a number of claims in two trailers released by Netflix in recent days, saying they had no protection from the Palace and accused aides of actively leaking and ‘planting’ stories against them as part of a ‘dirty game’.

But the Royal Family believes the series will actually by slim on new revelations.

A source told The Mirror: ‘There’s a real feeling in the camp that Harry and Meghan are making a lot of noise and there isn’t much more to say.

King Charles and Prince William (pictured with Queen Consort and the Princess of Wales) are poised to issue a 'swift and robust' response to any unjust claims

King Charles and Prince William (pictured with Queen Consort and the Princess of Wales) are poised to issue a ‘swift and robust’ response to any unjust claims

The promotional art for the Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan

‘But preparations are being made for all outcomes, especially if there are unjust accusations being made.’

Members of the Sussexes’ now defunct household are also said to be ‘seething with rage’ over trailers for the six-part documentary. 

Officials from both Buckingham and Kensington Palace will watch the first three episodes of the series this morning.

But it is understood that the Prince and Princess of Wales will refuse to watch the first three episodes of the documentary.

An insider also told The Sun that the royals are reluctant to engage in a tit-for-tat battle over the series.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made an appearance at the Ripple of Hope Awards in New York

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made an appearance at the Ripple of Hope Awards in New York 

They said: ‘If there are parts which are blatantly wrong, then it is only right that they are corrected.

‘The trailers already have some glaring errors and misrepresentations, which doesn’t bode well for the full series. But the plan is to keep schtum and carry on.”

Left-leaning Oscar nominated director behind Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series

 

Liz Garbus, the Left-leaning Oscar nominated director behind Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series has had a 25-year career working on projects about oppressed women and is ‘long admired’ by Duchess of Sussex .

Ms Garbus is known for her critically acclaimed exposes and documenting the stories of ‘survivors’, and worked on the Handmaids Tale finale.

Raised in New York by a civil rights lawyer father, her career has spanned almost 25 years, covering documentaries, true crime and high-end drama.

Her notable titles include The Farm: Angola, USA; Bobby Fischer Against The World; Love; Marilyn; and The Fourth Estate.

The Duchess of Sussex previously suggested that the show’s direction was in the hands of left-leaning filmmaker Liz Garbus ‘even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it’.

She said: ‘It’s nice to be able to trust someone with our story — a seasoned director whose work I’ve long admired — even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it. 

But that’s not why we’re telling it. We’re trusting our story to someone else, and that means it will go through their lens.’

But sources told the newspaper they are unlikely to respond until the full series has been released – due next Thursday.

Aides are understood to have been briefed by the King and Prince of Wales to issue a ‘swift and robust’ response if required.

‘If there is a need to respond to anything in the upcoming series then you can be assured that response will be swift and robust.’

It is understood that Netflix offered a right of reply to senior royal to allow them the chance to respond to any allegations featured in the series.

But Buckingham and Kensington Palace both deny receiving any such approach.

Harry and Meghan, meanwhile, have vowed that it is just the ‘beginning’ and have earlier spoken of ‘sweeping down walls of oppression’.

But Netflix’s use of ‘misleading’ footage in two trailers for the series would not have been tolerated by British broadcasters, according to producers.

Former BBC and Channel 4 commissioning editor Peter Grimsdale said lawyers would have intervened before the trailer was relased.

He told The Times: ‘It’s almost hard-wired into us to make sure we know where every shot comes from because that’s the sort of thing that if there was complaints about it, you would be in real trouble. 

‘There’s a certain duty of care. I think people working for Sky would feel the same way. It’s partly a function of regulations just being different in America.’

Mr Grimsdale added: ‘99.9 per cent of the time this doesn’t happen because every one checks.’

It comes after the Sussexes faced an awkward grilling from journalists about their explosive documentary in New York. 

Harry and Meghan were asked if they were putting money before family as they graced a star-studded gala hosted by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, where they received an award for fighting racism in the Royal Family.

The pair did not give a direct response, but the duke could be heard saying ‘so many questions’ before they were escorted inside.

Earlier, they told the ceremony that their war against ‘oppression’ has only just begun.

Harry and Meghan delivered the politically charged pre-taped remarks after being honoured with an award for fighting racism in the Royal Family by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Foundation, a prize that counts Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton among its former recipients.

Meghan also talked about her struggle with suicidal thoughts since becoming a member of the Royal Family, telling the audience she ‘didn’t want to be alive anymore’ and revealing that the decision not to end her life ‘wasn’t easy’, in remarks echoing those made during her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.

In a speech praising the late RFK, the Duke of Sussex told the star-studded Ripple of Hope Gala: ‘As we all face a complete and challenging time in the world, we choose the path of optimism of care for each other and our communities. 

‘We understand this honour, not about the culmination of a life’s work, but instead and in many ways for us, a beginning.’

Members of the Sussexes' now defunct household are said to be 'seething with rage' over trailers for the six-part documentary

Members of the Sussexes’ now defunct household are said to be ‘seething with rage’ over trailers for the six-part documentary

The couple have been shown claiming they had no protection from the Palace and that aides actively leaked and 'planted stories' against them as part of a 'dirty game'

The couple have been shown claiming they had no protection from the Palace and that aides actively leaked and ‘planted stories’ against them as part of a ‘dirty game’

He said: ‘Bobby Kennedy said, ”Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”’

His wife said: ‘The enduring dream of RFK of a just and peaceful world is so much more than a simple hope. It’s a direct ask, a specific challenge, a call to action, a test of individual courage and collective spirit. And his appeal to humanity is as relevant today as it was in 1966 when he stood before the University of Cape Town, a place we’ve visited and hold close to our hearts. And he delivered a vision for the common good of society.

‘He also said those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance’.

The timeline of Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell documentary series  

September 2020 – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s production company, Archewell Productions, signed a reported $100million deal with the streaming giant.

July 2021 – Meghan announces first project with Netflix – an animated series called Pearl. She was taking on the roles of ‘creator and executive producer’ – marking the first time the former actress and Suits star would work in the position of EP. 

September – Spotted filming in New York at the Global Citizen Live event 

April 2022 – Spotted filming at the Invictus Games in the Hague 

May – Reports emerge Netflix are hoping for an ‘at-home with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex-style’ docuseries 

Meghan’s animated series Pearl is dropped by Netflix as part of a wave of cutbacks prompted by the streaming service’s drop in subscribers. 

June – Couple were told they wouldn’t be able to film while attending Jubilee celebrations 

August – Meghan hints that the documentary could focus on their ‘love story 

September – The Queen dies. Reports emerge the the couple want to ‘downplay’ what they’ve said about the royal family in the documentary 

October – It was reported how the Duke and Duchess were ‘at odds’ with the production staff on their Netflix docuseries because the ‘panicked’ couple wanted to make ‘such extensive edits’ that the team believe the project could be ‘shelved indefinitely’.

Meghan then appears to try to distance herself from the project during an interview.

She suggested that its direction was in the hands of left-leaning filmmaker Liz Garbus ‘even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it’.

At the end of the month, it’s announced Prince Harry’s memoir will be released on January 10 and will be called Spare. 

November – It was reported Prince Harry was trying to get Netflix to postpone the documentary until after Christmas so it was released at around the same time as his bombshell memoir.

It is claimed Prince Harry and Meghan first hired Oscar-nominated director Garrett Bradley for the series – before they had a falling out and she left.

Meanwhile Netflix face heavy backlash over the fifth series of The Crown, and reports suggest the streaming platform might push back the release date of Harry and Meghan’s series in response.

However, it is then revealed the couple will release the documentary on December 8. 

December 1 – First trailer is released, showcasing a number of highly personal images 

December 8 – Part one of the documentary is released 

December 15 – Part two of the documentary is set to be released  

January 10 2023 – Prince Harry’s memoir Spare is due to be released 

Just six months after the couple set up home in California in March 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced a shiny new deal with Netflix, saying they wanted to provide ‘hope and inspiration’ by teaming up with the streaming goliath.

The Duke and Duchess said their company, unnamed at the time but now known as Archewell Productions, would make documentaries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming. 

In a statement, the Sussexes said: ‘Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope. As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.’

They added that Netflix’s ‘unprecedented reach will help us share impactful content that unlocks action.’

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer and co-chief exec, said at the time: ‘We’re incredibly proud they have chosen Netflix as their creative home and are excited about telling stories with them that can help build resilience and increase understanding for audiences everywhere.’

After putting ink to paper on the deal, the Sussexes were said to have welcomed cameras into their luxury Montecito mansion for a reality-type documentary, Page Six reported.

While it’s unclear on exactly how much of their home life the couple were prepared to share, they certainly did let Netflix cameras trail them on public appearances in 2021 and 2022. 

When Harry and Meghan jetted to the Global Citizen Live event in New York in late September 2021, a camera crew accompanied them. 

And just over six months later in the Hague, in April this year, the Duke and Duchess were filmed at the Invictus Games, hugging Team United Kingdom competitor Lisa Johnston and meeting competitors and chatting to the crowds. 

One of the organisers at the event said the Netflix team arrived in six people carriers with caseloads of equipment.

The film crew were given maroon bibs to help them stand out from the dozens of photographers covering the games and given exclusive access to the couple with behind close door meeting with the athletes.

However, when it came to the Queen’s Jubilee in June – just a few months before the late Monarch died on September 8th, the couple were firmly told they wouldn’t be able to film while attending the celebrations.   

Indeed, Meghan and Harry took a low key role in the national event, missing out on key moments on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, which only senior roles were allowed to attend. 

Even before it’s release, the show has made waves on both sides of the Atlantic and it is expected to cause fresh turmoil for the Royal Family. Harry also has his memoirs, named ‘Spare’, on the way. 

Royal experts have claimed in recent weeks that these two bombshell projects will further set back any prospect of a meaningful reconciliation between the couple, who live in a $14.65million Montecito mansion with their two children, Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, with King Charles and Prince William. 

This summer, Meghan hinted that the documentary  could focus on their ‘love story’.

Speaking in an interview with The Cut, the Duchess said her five-year-long romance with Prince Harry is one of the ‘pieces of her life’ that she has not yet been able to share with the public.

The Duchess continued: ‘The piece of my life I haven’t been able to share, that people haven’t been able to see, is our love story.’ 

But after the Queen’s death the Sussexes were said to have wanted to ‘downplay much of what they have said about Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla, and the Prince and Princess of Wales’ in their documentary series, according to a previous report.

It was then reported how the Duke and Duchess were ‘at odds’ with the production staff on their Netflix docuseries because the ‘panicked’ couple wanted to make ‘such extensive edits’ that the team believe the project could be ‘shelved indefinitely’. 

One Hollywood industry source said the couple were facing doubts about the series following the Queen’s death.

They said: ‘A lot of conversations are happening. 

‘I hear that Harry and Meghan want the series to be held until next year, they want to stall.

‘I wonder if the show could even be dead in the water at this point, do Harry and Meghan just want to shelve this thing?,’ they added.

A Netflix insider also claimed: ‘Netflix has been keen to have the show ready to stream for December. There’s a lot of pressure on (Netflix CEO) Ted Sarandos, who has the relationship with Harry and Meghan, to get this show finished.’

However the source added that the streaming platform was ‘standing by the filmmakers’ who want to keep the content in the project, and that it will still be ‘going forward.’ 

Insiders reportedly told US website Page Six earlier this year that the couple were ‘having second thoughts’ on the project.

‘Harry and Meghan are panicked about trying to tone down even the most basic language. 

‘But it’s their story, from their own mouths,’ one Netflix source told the website last month.

Another said: ‘They’ve made significant requests to walk back content they themselves have provided’.

And Prince Harry faced claims that he was trying to get Netflix to postpone his controversial fly-on-the-wall documentary until after Christmas so it was released at around the same time as his bombshell memoir. 

Hollywood news website Deadline previously said that ‘rattled’ Netflix bosses ‘blinked first’ and decided to push back the original December release date after the US company came under heavy criticism over its bombshell fifth series of royal drama The Crown.

Meghan even appeared to distance herself and Harry from their upcoming and controversial Netflix documentary around a month after Her Majesty’s death. 

The Duchess of Sussex suggested that its direction is now in the hands of Left-leaning filmmaker Liz Garbus ‘even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it’.

Harry and Meghan were asked if they were putting money before family as they graced a star-studded gala

Harry and Meghan were asked if they were putting money before family as they graced a star-studded gala

She said in a magazine interview: ‘It’s nice to be able to trust someone with our story — a seasoned director whose work I’ve long admired — even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it. But that’s not why we’re telling it. We’re trusting our story to someone else, and that means it will go through their lens.

‘It’s interesting. My husband has never worked in this industry before. 

‘For me, having worked on Suits, it’s so amazing to be around so much creative energy and to see how people work together and share their own points of view. That’s been really fun.’

Garbus, who was also due to work on the Duchess’ series Pearl before it was scrapped by Netflix, is a documentarian and filmmaker and also helmed the last season of The Handmaid’s Tale, which earned her an Emmy nomination in 2021.

The TV drama is an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, which became an instant feminist classic following the story of a woman named Offred, who is forced to live as ‘handmaid’ producing children against her will in a totalitarian North America.

Garbus has been involved in a host of other TV and film projects about oppressed women, notably including Girlhood, which follows two female inmates – victims of horrific violence and tragedy – who are serving time in a juvenile detention centre.

She has also had control over a documentary about the life and legend of singer, pianist and civil rights activist Nina Simone as well as a film called Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech.

Meanwhile the director’s Instagram page is openly political, with recent posts urging for women’s abortion rights and comments about ‘brilliant’ Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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