Watch: Meghan's mum Doria reacts to daughter's suicidal thoughts in Netflix documentary
During the second episode of the series, which dropped on the streaming platform last week, the 66-year-old yoga instructor appeared on camera revealing she was "ready to have her voice heard". She's been interviewed again in Volume II of the couple's six-part documentary.
In episode four, Meghan discusses her mental health struggles and her suicidal thoughts as a result of the tabloid portrayal of her in the public eye. Ragland describes what it was like hearing her daughter felt suicidal, adding that it "broke her heart."
Discussing the tabloid furore and the impact being in the public eye had on her mental health, Meghan remembers thinking “all of this will stop if I'm not here” in the documentary.
“And that was the scariest thing about it,” she continues. “It was such clear thinking.”
It’s not the first time we’ve heard from Meghan in regards to her mental health struggles, and the notion of potentially ending her life, as she had reflected on her suicidal thoughts in the infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey.
But, it is the first time we’ve heard from Ragland about how it felt to know what her daughter had been going through.
“I remember her telling me that… that she had wanted to take her own life,” explains Ragland in episode four of the documentary. “And that really broke my heart, because I knew that it was bad,” she continues. “But to just constantly be picked at by these vultures, just picking away at her spirit, that she would actually think of not wanting to be here.”
“That’s not an easy one for a mum to hear,” added Ragland. “And I can’t protect her, H can’t protect her.”
Who is Meghan Markle's mum Doria Ragland?
Doria Loyce Ragland, 66, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, before her family moved to Los Angeles when she was a baby.
On leaving high school, Ragland temporarily worked as a make-up artist's assistant on the set of General Hospital, where she met her future husband Thomas Markle. Ragland married the lighting director on 23 December, 1979, and had Meghan two years later on 4 August, 1981.
However, when Meghan was two the couple went their separate ways, ultimately divorcing in 1987 when Meghan was six years old.
Ragland has been a social worker, at a Mental Health Services clinic in Culver City, as well as a yoga instructor and later, CEO, CFO and secretary of a care home firm in Beverly Hills.
She reportedly still lives in the View Park-Windsor Hills neighbourhood of Los Angeles, a two-hour drive south of where Meghan and Harry have settled state-side in Montecito, Santa Barbara.
What does she say in the Harry & Meghan documentary?
Despite some public appearances alongside her daughter and son-in-law, Ragland has preferred to stay back from the public eye, until now.
"The last five years have been challenging," says Ragland, after introducing herself on camera in the second episode of the six-part series. "I'm ready to have my voice heard, that's for sure. A little bit of my experience as her mom."
When asked if she remembered when her daughter told her that she was dating the royal, Ragland replied: "I do. When she told me, we were on the phone and she says, 'Mommy, I'm going out with Prince Harry,' and I started whispering, 'Oh my god!'
"She says, 'You can't tell anyone.' So from the beginning, it was very sort of, 'Oh my god, nobody can know.'
Ragland also recalled the first time she ever met her now son-in-law, describing him as "handsome" and "really nice".
"He was just like, [this] 6ft 1, 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."
Later Ragland spoke about her relationship with her daughter, and "the network of women who helped her raise Meg".
"We were close to my mom, her grandma. My sister was close by, and my girlfriends were close by. So we had a nice network of women who helped me raise Meg."
Ragland went on to recall what Meghan was like as a child, describing her as "easy to get along with" and "empathic".
"She was always so easy to get along with," she explained. "Very congenial, making friends. You know, she was a very empathic child. Very mature."
She went on to offer a hint of the relationship the mother/daughter duo had while Meghan was growing up.
"I remember asking Meg did I feel like her mom, and she told me that I felt like her older, controlling sister.
"I never forgot that," she adds.
Later in the series, Ragland recalls the impact the interest in her daughter's relationship had on her own life, explaining she felt like she was being "stalked" by paparazzi, which made her feel "unsafe".
"I felt unsafe a lot," she said. "I can't just go walk my dogs, I can't just go to work. There was always someone there waiting for me, following me to work. I was being stalked by the paparazzi."
She went on to recall a time when she was encouraged to sell her story.
"Once I pulled over, and he pulled next to me and he said: 'You know, I'm just trying to get a story. You know, you can get a lot of money for this?' And I just looked at him and said: 'This is my child. I have nothing to say'."
Later in the series Ragland shared her thoughts on allegations that Meghan's father Thomas Markle had been involved in the staging of paparazzi shots shortly before the couple got married in 2018, in a ceremony that he did not attend.
"I was absolutely stunned that Tom would become part of this circus," Ragland said. "I felt sad that the media would run with this. That he would capitalise... certainly as a parent, it's not... that's not what you do.
"That's not parenting," she added.
Where to seek help for suicidal thoughts
Experiencing suicidal thoughts can be complicated, frightening and confusing, but there is someone waiting to help you. See this page on what to expect from talking with the Samaritans.
For more information on how to support someone with suicidal thoughts, including when to seek professional support, please see this Samaritans page.
Whatever you're going through, you can also call the Samaritans now for free, from any phone, at any time, on 116 123 – a friendly voice will be there to listen – or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a reply within 24 hours.
If you think someone is in immediate danger, the quickest way to get help is to call an ambulance on 999.