May 31, 2018 09:00 AM

When Doria Ragland accompanied her daughter Meghan Markle to church on her wedding day, she drew plaudits for being a strong and solo role model. 

With Meghan, 36, initially entering St. George’s Chapel alone and walking unaccompanied up the aisle, Doria watched on, tears in her eyes, as her daughter joined Prince Harry, 33, at the altar. 

Those who know the two women are not surprised at the display of self-confidence. 

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“Meghan draws a lot of strength from her mother. Doria is classy, chic and confident, but not unapproachable,” Meghan’s friend and makeup artist Daniel Martin tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “I definitely feel Meghan gets a lot of that from her mother.”

The characteristics that inspired Meghan’s steady confidence were plain to see for those who met Doria at the parties following the Windsor Castle wedding on May 19. 

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“She has a softness, but I detected a steely core to her,” says a royal family friend. “She has come through a hell of a lot.”

Doria, the source adds, “was lovely to talk to and bursting with pride.”

For more on Meghan’s new life, check out this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Doria, along with aides like Harry’s new private secretary Samantha Cohen, will be important sounding boards for the new duchess as she starts her royal life.

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