Who is Samantha Markle? Meghan's estranged half-sister

Bianca Soldani
Acting Lifestyle Editor

Only one member of Meghan Markle’s family, her mum Doria Ragland, has been confirmed as attending her wedding to Prince Harry on May 19.

But you may have come across some of the more vocal members of the Markle clan in recent weeks, with her father, half brother and former sister-in-law, attracting headlines in the lead up to the big day.

No voice has been louder than that of her estranged half sister Samantha Markle however, and here we take a look at everything we know about the long lost sibling.

She has the same father as Meghan

Samantha, now 53, was a teenager when Meghan was welcomed into the family. She and her brother Thomas Markle Jr, have a different mother to Meghan, after she was born during their father’s second marriage to yoga teacher Doria.

Samantha has said she grew up more like an aunt than a sister to Meghan as they couldn’t play on the same level as kids who are closer in age.

She has previously claimed to have raised Meghan for 12 years, despite Meghan’s mum separating from her dad when she was just six.

Thomas Markle has three kids, Samantha and Thomas Jr with his first wife, and Meghan with his second wife Doria Ragland.

She and Meghan are estranged

Mum-of-three Samantha hasn’t seen Meghan in a decade, and wasn’t in attendance for her first wedding to Trevor Engelson.

Speaking to Sunrise the week of the royal wedding, Samantha said she last spoke to her sister over the phone in 2014 or 2015.

“I was in school full time and she was travelling for Suits so I called her in Canada,” she said, “We spoke about my father a little bit, I asked her how she was doing”.

“I wished her well as any older sister would, I wanted her to feel supported, spread her wings and fly without worrying about challenges that I was having.”

They last saw each other face-to-face at a graduation ceremony in 2008, the same year Samantha was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Samantha and Meghan last saw each other at her graduation in 2008. Photo: ITV/Loose Women

She isn’t on speaking terms with her brother either

Although they are both estranged from Meghan, both Samantha and her brother Thomas have been vocal since news first broke that she was dating Prince Harry.

However, after Thomas penned a humiliating open letter to the royal urging him not to marry his half-sister, Samantha said she is no longer on speaking terms with him.

She doesn’t think Meghan is doing enough to help her family

On multiple occasions, Samantha has criticised Meghan’s image as a humanitarian, saying she should help her own family before looking to help the rest of the world.

“Humanitarianism begins at home,” she told KIIS FM, “That doesn’t mean monetary, it means reaching out.”

“I am in a wheelchair and she did meet Harry at the Invictus Games. I felt like it was an opportunity to be a voice and bring a lot of awareness to it [disability].”

She’s also had a go at Meghan from allegedly neglecting their father who lives in Mexico, after he apparently went bankrupt.

After Meghan wore a pricey Ralph and Russo dress for her official royal engagement photoshoot with Prince Harry, Samantha blasted her.

“If you can spend $75,000 on a dress, you can spend $75,000 on your dad”, she said.

Samantha Markle has spoken to Sunrise about the royal wedding controversy.

She wasn’t invited to either of Meghan’s weddings

Samantha has loudly lamented the fact she hasn’t received an invite to Meghan and Harry’s wedding, but said that as she uses a wheelchair after being diagnosed with MS, it might have been difficult for her to navigate her way around Windsor.

She was also absent from Meghan’s 2011 wedding in Jamaica, and likewise said that given those nuptials took place entirely on the sand, it would’ve been inaccessible to her.

She’s broken a palace ban

After being quizzed on how much she’s spoken out about Meghan, Samantha revealed that she deliberately ignored requests from Buckingham Palace not to speak to the media.

“Early in the year we were asked not to speak to the public, but I’m pretty adamant about it,” she told Sunrise.

“It was my observation that even family members who didn’t speak to the media were made fun of, they were taunted, they were photographed, they were insulted.

“I’m not giving them license for them to disparage me like that without at least levelling the playing field for intelligent minds. I have a right to get out there and say ‘This is the way it is, that’s not accurate.’”

She changed her name back to Markle

When Samantha first burst onto the media circuit, she was known as ‘Samantha Grant’, her married name.

But shortly after her half-sister announced her engagement, she changed her surname back to ‘Markle’. She’s also recently dyed her hair from blonde to a dark brown, which makes her look much more like the princess-to-be.

She recently dyed her hair from blonde to brunette

She’s writing a book about Meghan

Samantha is said to be writing a book about her sister with the working title “The Dairy of Princess Pushy’s Sister”.

She had previously denied using the term “pushy princess” to describe Meghan.

For all the latest details on everything Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, check out our rolling Royal Wedding coverage here.

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