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Meghan Markle’s mother stars at royal event: Sending a message to an aggrieved Thomas Markle?

There was all sorts of public and private significance to Meghan Markle’s garden luncheon at Kensington Palace to launch a new charity cookbook.
For one thing, sponsoring the cookbook, “Together: Our Community Cookbook,” marked the new Duchess of Sussex’s first solo project as a working royal since her May 19 marriage to Prince Harry, according to Sky TV. 
The guests at her luncheon party included the book’s chefs, a group of women who started cooking together at a Muslim cultural center in London after they lost their homes in the deadly 2017 Grenfell Tower fire. Seventy-two people were killed in the fire at the building that was home to immigrants and working-class residents, and sales of the cookbook will benefit its survivors
So, the project offered the U.S.-born former TV actress a way to express a combination of interests: in cooking, in charity, in promoting multiculturalism and in showing her love for her new hometown. As Meghan said in her remarks at the luncheon, “On a personal level, I feel so proud to live in a city that can have so much diversity. It’s pretty outstanding.”
But the luncheon also offered Meghan a way to make a statement of a more personal nature. Making a surprise appearance was Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, all the way from Los Angeles.
Dressed casually but elegantly in beige slacks and sweater, and with a scarf draped around her shoulders, Ragland emerged from a Range Rover with her daughter and son-in-law and quickly broke the ice with the other guests by introducing herself simply as “Meg’s mom,” reports said.
The presence of the African-American Ragland allowed Meghan to demonstrate her own multi-cultural roots. More important, it allowed Meghan to show the world how she remains close to her mother and how much she trusts her, according to the Daily Mail. 
As events of the past few months have shown, Meghan can’t say the same thing about her 74-year-old father Thomas Markle. Her relationship with her father, a retired Hollywood lighting designer, reportedly was strained even she before became engaged to the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.
But then Thomas Markle, who divorced Ragland when Meghan was a young girl, made headlines by staging paparazzi photos ahead of her May 19 wedding at Windsor Castle.
Caught in this scandal, Thomas Markle backed out of attending the royal wedding and walking Meghan down the aisle. He also claimed the need for sudden heart surgery prevented him from flying to the U.K.
But perceiving that Meghan had cut off contact following the paparazzi scandal, Thomas Markle began to give increasingly explosive interviews about his strained relationship with her and Harry. To dish dirt about his daughter and her new in-laws, Thomas Markle was perhaps encouraged by his oldest daughter, Samantha Markle, who has long accused Meghan, her younger half-sister, of being a social climber and of turning her back on her family.
This drama with her father and half-sister has increasingly left the new duchess feeling wore down and not knowing whom to trust, People reported. 
“Meghan has lost touch with some of her close friends from before the wedding, which has been tough,” a source told People in a recent issue. “She’s finding it hard to know who to trust.”
Given that the royal family rarely comments on personal matters, and given that Meghan no longer has her own social media accounts, she has had no way of publicly addressing her relatives’ criticism. She has also feared what would happen if she reached out to her father and attempted to mend their rift, according to reports.
“She and Harry fear that any attempts at contact will be leaked to the media,” wrote the Daily Mail columnist Richard Kay .
But perhaps Meghan found a way to respond, however indirectly — by inviting her mother to the Kensington Palace luncheon.
“Yesterday the warmth between the two women was palpable; their affection for one another entirely natural and the effect utterly dazzling,” Kay wrote. “Never before have a mother and daughter commanded the royal stage so spectacularly as Doria Ragland and the Duchess of Sussex did at Kensington Palace.”
Ragland’s presence at such a high-profile royal event also “is proof that (Megan) did not cast her old life aside, as some predicted she would” Kay wrote.
“Meghan does not just dote on her mother, she depends on her,” Kay added. “When they are together they are animated and share a kindly glow.”
Certainly, Ragland made quite an impression at Meghan and Harry’s wedding, with her quiet, supportive presence and her designer mother-of-the-bride dress — which she accessorized with her signature dreadlocks and nose ring.
People across the world expressed good will towards Ragland, seeing her as an African-American mother watching her daughter marry a member of a 1,000-year-old royal dynasty, which has shaped history but which doesn’t have a good track record of welcoming people of diverse backgrounds into its ranks. People on social media and elsewhere praised Ragland as the gentle force who nurtured Meghan’s free spirit, confidence and passion for making a difference in the word.
But however “electrifying” Ragland and Meghan were together at the wedding and at the Kensington Palace luncheon, Ragland’s appearance Thursday “can’t help but shine an ever sharper spotlight on the one figure who has not shared in Meghan’s happiness – her father Thomas Markle,” wrote the Daily Mail’s Kay.
“Markle’s foolish behaviour with paparazzi in the weeks before the wedding, and his eccentric conduct since, have contributed to a bitter rift with his daughter,” Kay added. “Markle must be wondering why one parent is treated with courtesy and respect while he has become a virtual pariah.”
There have been reports that Ragland is planning to relocate from Los Angeles to London, including a that Ragland took a baby-care class so that, down the line, she can help out if Meghan and Harry decide to start a family, Vogue reported.
Ragland’s presence at the luncheon also showed how much Meghan’s royal in-laws have come to welcome the social worker and yoga instructor. Indeed, Ragland may become an increasing feature of her daughter’s royal life, Vogue magazine added.
That’s in contrast to Thomas Markle, who reportedly never got to meet Harry in person and who certainly missed out on his chance to meet Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family by skipping the wedding.
Kay said the big downside of Meghan and Harry so publicly embracing Ragland is that it could set off Thomas and Samantha Markle to give another round of scathing interviews.
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“The danger for the palace, whose handling of the Markle affair has been little short of disastrous, is that every time Doria is given such special treatment, Thomas Markle is driven further to the margins,” Kay wrote.
“How tragic if the success of Doria’s visit should widen the yawning gap between Meghan and her father – and mar that heartfelt confidence she exuded to the world yesterday,” Kay wrote.

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