Kate and Meghan's mumalikes
From Carole and Doria's humble upbringings to their air hostess jobs and those embarrassing relatives, the very surprising similarities between the two mothers
One is a laid- back LA social worker who sports a nose ring; the other a blow-driedto-perfection Home Counties party planner with a reputation for being pushy. At first glance, these two sixtysomethings appear to have little in common - except, of course, having raised daughters who are now on intimate terms with the Royal Family. But there are surprising parallels between Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, who was pictured with her daughter and Prince Harry for the first time at the Invictus Games in Toronto last week, and Carole Middleton, mother to the Duchess of Cambridge.
Two tenacious matriarchs on the rise
Both women seem to have inherited a steely resolve from forebears deter- mined to better their lot. Doria, 60, is the descendant of slaves whose great- great- grandfather was forced to work on the cotton plantations of America’s Deep South and was freed after Abolition in 1865. Subsequent generations rose to professional success, with Doria’s great-aunt Dora becoming a teacher and her father, Alvin, an antiques dealer.
Carole’s background lacks such brutal injustice, but she and her family had to surmount significant obstacles to end up hobnobbing with the aristocracy. Her mother’s side of the family were coal-miners; her father, Ronald, a builder. Carole, 62, held a Saturday job at fashion retailer C&A by her teens.
Both got off to a flying start . . .
Long before either of them made their names, however, both apparently had stints working as air hostesses. Carole was a flight attendant for British Airways for three years in her 20s until she became pregnant with Kate, while friends of Doria’s have said she worked as a flight attendant after separating from her husband, Thomas Markle, when Meghan was young. Presumably, Doria and Carole can discuss pesky passengers and the perils of jet lag when they do eventually meet.
. . . And picked up helpful husbands
Arguably, neither woman would have reached her current impressive standing without the help of the man she married.
When Doria met Meghan’s father, she was a 20- year- old studio temp while Thomas, 12 years her senior, was already a successful lighting director on a soap opera. The couple - who married in 1979 - divorced when Meghan was five years old, but they maintained joint custody of their daughter. It seems it was his career that helped pay for Meghan’s private schooling and gave her an entree into showbusiness.
Meanwhile, Carole’s husband Michael - whom she wed in 1980 - worked his way up from flight attendant to manager shortly after they met. He also inherited a significant sum of money from his great-grandfather, Francis, a wealthy wool merchant.
Only the best for their princesses
Despite their own schooling being gov- ernment-funded, both women pulled out all the stops to get their daughters the best education money could buy. Doria sent Meghan to Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse, a private primary which boasts Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland as past pupils. Meghan later attended the prestigious, all- girl Catholic Immaculate Heart High School, where fees are upwards of £12,000 a year.
Carole sent Kate, 35, to Marlborough College. At £31,050 a year per day child, the fees must have been quite a sacrifice in the days.
Red-faced over those relatives
Should they ever find themselves stuck for conversation, Doria and Carole could always commiserate with one another on the embarrassing skeletons in their family closets. Doria has a double whammy. Former stepdaughter Samantha Grant, 52, from Thomas’s first marriage, accused Meghan of being ‘narcissistic and selfish’ and is said to be penning a tell-all book with the working title The Diary Of Princess Pushy’s Sister. And her brother, Doria’s former stepson, Thomas Markle Jr, 50, was arrested at his home in Oregon after allegedly holding a gun to his girlfriend’s head during a drunken row.
Carole, of course, has her gregarious brother Gary Goldsmith. The self-made IT recruitment millionaire gave a revealing, 16- page interview to Hello! magazine describing William and Kate’s stay at La Maison de Bang Bang, his Ibizan home where he was once filmed preparing lines of cocaine.
They splash cash on looking good
Carole, is a regular at hairdresser-tothe-stars Richard Ward’s salon and who is rarely photographed without perfectly applied cosmetics. She is also reportedly treated by celebrity facialist Linda Meredith, who counts Madonna among her clients and whose anti-ageing treatments cost around £150. Doria is similarly keen on skincare. ‘ When I was 13 years old, my mum had me start getting facials,’ Meghan has said. ' My mum says: “You must always take care of your skin.” ’
One's a yogi - the other a tennis ace
Few sixtysomethings look as slim as Doria or Carole without some serious hard graft. Doria likes to run - she completed the LA Marathon - and keeps supple with yoga.
Carole’s punishing regimen, meanwhile, includes tennis, daily swimming sessions in the heated pool at her mansion and hydro-spinning classes - a mix of high- intensity aqua aerobics and cycling.
Fans of Kale and Green tea
Both women know the importance of eating well - even if they do take very different approaches. According to Meghan, Doria conditioned her daughter to like tacos, and plyed the family with lean meat. ‘ Mum cooked a lot of turkey when I was growing up,’ Meghan has said. ‘Turkey meatloaf, turkey burgers, ground turkey shepherd’s pie.’
Equally health- conscious, although arguably less new-age about it, Carole is said to be a fan of the fashionable Sirtfood diet, which involves eating foods such as dark chocolate, matcha (green tea) powder and kale as they supposedly activate proteins called sirtuins to regulate the metabolism and slow the ageing process.
Helping hands in finding love
Neither Doria nor Carole has been able to resist offering romantic guidance to her daughter - advice which seems to have been worth its weight in gold. Meghan has said she doesn’t wear revealing clothes because Doria imposed strict limits on her as a teenager, explaining her reasoning bluntly: ‘ Honey, never give the milk away for free.’
Carole, meanwhile, was rumoured to have persuaded the Duchess of Cambridge to change her choice of university on hearing that William was going to St Andrews, in the hope that the pair would meet and hit it off.
Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria