Meghan Markle Recalls Her Mom Doria Being Called the N-Word and Being Mistaken for Her Nanny

Prince Harry said that the "race element" separated the scrutiny Meghan Markle faced when news of their relationship broke as compared to that of the women who married into the royal family before her

Harry & Meghan Netflix Documentary
Photo: Netflix

Meghan Markle is reflecting on the racism she witnessed her mother face.

The Duchess of Sussex, 41, spoke about what it was like to grow up as a young biracial woman and the racist remarks towards her mother Doria Ragland in Harry & Meghan, now streaming on Netflix. The second episode featured a sit-down with Doria, marking her first public interview since her daughter married Prince Harry in 2018.

The social worker, 66, described Meghan as an "old soul" and straight-A student. She raised her in Los Angeles and shared custody with her ex-husband, Thomas Markle. Meghan spent the week with her mom and weekends with her lighting director dad and recalled the harrowing exchange when a stranger called her mother, who is Black, the N-word.

As she drove by the Hollywood Bowl, Meghan explained that she was last at the venue for a concert with her mom when the incident occurred.

Harry & Meghan Netflix Documentary

As Doria and Meghan were leaving the parking lot, Meghan said, "My mom honked her horn, this woman was taking a long time to figure out how to get out, and the woman turned around and screamed the N-word at my mom."

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"I just remember my mom, the grip that her hands had on the steering wheel. You could it was so tight, like the knuckles get all white, and she was just silent the rest of the drive home. We never talked about it," the Archetypes host continued, adding that she had never heard the N-word before.

On being biracial, Meghan explained, "[It's] very different to be a minority but not be treated as a minority right off the bat. Obviously, now, people are very aware of my race because they made it such an issue when I went to the U.K. But before that, most people didn't treat me like a 'Black woman.' So that talk didn't have to happen for me."

"As a parent, in hindsight, absolutely, I would like to go back and have that kind of real conversation about how the world sees you," Doria said of the regret.

Harry & Meghan Netflix Documentary

Earlier in the interview, Meghan spoke about how Doria would be mistaken for her nanny when she was small.

"I just remember my mom telling me stories about taking me to the grocery store and women going, 'Whose child is that? You must be the," She's like, 'It's my child,' " Meghan said.

"'No ― you must be the nanny, where's her mom?' 'Cause I was really fair skinned and my mom, darker," she added.

Turning to the racially-charged scrutiny Meghan immediately faced when the news broke that she was dating Harry, 38, on Halloween in 2016, Doria said she told her daughter "Clearly, this is about race."

"And Meg said, 'Mommy I don't want to hear that,' " Doria recalled. "And I said, 'Well, you may not want to hear it, but this is what's coming down the pike.' "

Harry & Meghan Netflix Documentary
Doria Ragland. Netflix

The camera cut to an interview with Meghan, where she said, "At that time, I wasn't thinking about how race played a part in any of this. I genuinely didn't think about it."

In a solo sit-down of his own, Prince Harry recalled how when their relationship was revealed, the Daily Mail immediately ran the headline "Harry's girl is (almost) straight outta Compton."

"I was like, whoa," Harry said.

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Meghan added, "Well, firstly, I'm not from Compton, I've never lived in Compton. So it's factually incorrect. But why do you have to make a dig at Compton?"

Harry continued, "The direction from the Palace was, 'Don't say anything.' But what people need to understand is, as far as a lot of the family were concerned, everything that she was being put through, they had been put through as well."

Prince Harry
Prince Harry. Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty

"So it was almost like a rite of passage, and some of the members of the family were like 'My wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently? Why should you get special treatment? Why should she be protected?' " as old footage of Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson, and Kate Middleton dodging photographers played.

"I said 'The difference here is the race element,' " Harry said.

Volume one of Harry & Meghan is now streaming on Netflix. Volume two premieres next Thursday, Dec. 15.

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