Queen Elizabeth Invited Meghan Markle’s Mother Doria Ragland To Spend Christmas With The Royal Family

It's an invitation that has never been extended to Kate Middleton's family.

Doria Ragland and Prince Charles
Brian Lawless- WPA Pool / Getty Images

It's an invitation that has never been extended to Kate Middleton's family.

In an unprecedented move, Queen Elizabeth has extended an invitation to Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, to spend Christmas with the royal family, according to Express. It’s an invitation that has never been extended even to the family of grandson Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton. One source described the invitation to the media outlet as “a very thoughtful gesture.”

The Middletons have attended Christmas morning services with the royal family in the past, but have never been invited to the family celebration at the Norfolk estate. Instead, they have stayed at Anmer Hall near William and Kate’s home. The queen’s invitation to 62-year-old Doria Ragland is seen as an acknowledgement of a major difference between the family of Kate Middleton and the family of Meghan Markle. While Kate’s family lives in close proximity to the Duchess of Cambridge, Doria Ragland is the only family member who lives near Meghan’s royal home. The royal source explained.

“It’s a mark of the Queen’s respect for Meghan and an acknowledgement that she doesn’t have any other relations in this country – unlike Kate who has the support of a very close family.”

The queen also seemed to take a liking to Ragland when she attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan in May. She is said to have been impressed with Ragland’s warmth and composure during the nuptials. Ragland was the only member of Markle’s family to attend the ceremony. Meghan’s father was expected to walk her down the aisle until he announced that he had suffered a heart attack and would be unable to attend. The queen is also said to have taken note of the difference in Ragland’s behavior since Markle joined the royal family, behavior that stands in stark contrast to that of the rest of Markle’s family.

Royal watchers have speculated in recent weeks that Ragland may move closer to her daughter as Meghan prepares to give birth to her first child in the spring. The Sun described Ragland as “very happy about this lovely news and… looking forward to welcoming her first grandchild” when she learned that Markle was pregnant. Speculation about her move has been fueled of late by news that Ragland left her job as a social worker in Los Angeles. The mother and her 37-year-old daughter are believed to have a close relationship. Markle has described her mother as a “free-spirited clinic therapist” in the past and has spoken of their many travels together during her childhood.