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Meghan Markle's doppelganger mother Doria's, 23, whirlwind temple wedding with Thomas, 35

The Duchess of Sussex's parents got married following a six-month romance

Meghan Markle with her mother Doria Ragland
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
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Meghan Markle was considered to be one of the oldest royal brides when she married Prince Harry aged 36 in 2018, but her mother Doria Ragland chose to tie the knot at a much younger age.

At just 23, Doria met and married 35-year-old divorcé Thomas Markle. The pair had been working on the TV show General Hospital in 1979, where she was a make-up artist and he was a lighting director, when their professional relationship turned romantic. 

Following a six-month whirlwind romance, the Duchess of Sussex's parents tied the knot in an "unconventional" low-key ceremony at an LA temple. 

Recalling her parents' love story, Meghan wrote in Elle: "I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques. Whatever it was, they married and had me."

Meghan Markle in a black dress with Doria Ragland attend UN Women's 20th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing© Getty
Meghan's lookalike mother Doria got married six months after meeting Thomas Markle

Their fast-paced relationship even came as a surprise to their families, with Meghan's uncle, Joseph Johnson telling The Mail on Sunday: "None of the family knew anything about Tom until we got the wedding invitations." 

Here's everything you need to know about Meghan's doppelganger Doria's rebellious bridal outfit, gold wedding turrets and more…

The pair said 'I do' at the Self-Realisation Fellowship Temple on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, a faux-Indian temple featuring gold accents, stone elephants and plastic Buddhas. It was founded by Indian yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, with Joseph explaining his sister "was fascinated by alternative religions and yoga" – and it was a passion she passed on to Duchess Meghan. 

Doria Ragland, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex attend the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards: Celebrating Generations of Progress & Power © Kevin Mazur
Doria, who lives near Meghan and Prince Harry, had a low-key wedding in LA

He continued: "It was a lovely wedding but not conventional at all."

As well as their unusual choice of venue, Doria also ditched the traditional wedding dress and wore a white buttoned-up shirt and skirt combo, finishing off her look with pretty white flowers in her hair. Meanwhile, Thomas wore a grey tweed jacket and orange shirt, and the Buddhist priest 'Brother Bhaktananda' was dressed in orange robes.

"Doria was very young, just 23, but looked much younger. She had tiny white flowers in her hair," Joseph recalled, adding: "She wore a simple white dress. My son was the ring-bearer."

Doria and Thomas welcomed Meghan in 1981, but the couple split when she was six years old. Thomas was also previously married to Rosalyn from 1964 to 1975, and they share children Samantha and Thomas Jr.

meghan thomas markle baby photo© Netflix
Meghan Markle's parents split when she was six

Meghan made some rare comments about her parents' relationship and divorce on the Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan. "There’s so much I think from anyone’s childhood that you bring with you into the present, especially when you’re the product of divorce," Meghan began, and Harry added: "I think most kids who are the product of divorced parents have a lot in common, not matter what your background is.

"Being pulled from one place to another, or maybe your parents are competitive, or you’re in one place longer than you want to be, or another place less than you want to be. There’s all sorts of pieces to that."

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