Meghan Markle wed Prince Harry in a fairy-tale ceremony surrounded by Hollywood royalty – while her niece claims she was banned from the wedding on the advice of palace aides.
Ashleigh Hale, 37, says that she was ‘hurt’ by the decision to be removed from the wedding list, which included Meghan’s A-list pals, but ‘understood’ the decision.
She claims she was not invited because of tension between her estranged mother Samantha Markle and Meghan – her half-sister.
In another thinly-veiled attack on Buckingham Palace, it is suggested that Meghan’s relationships with friends and close family were being ‘managed’ by those inside the Firm.
Speaking for the first time about their ‘close’ relationship on the Netflix documentary, Ashleigh said that she was ‘hurt’ by the decision to ban her from the wedding.
Ashleigh Hale, 37, sensationally claimed that her aunts’ relationships were being ‘managed’ by Buckingham Palace after getting involved with Prince Harry
The business immigration attorney, who is thought to have been her inspiration in Suits, claims that she was not allowed to attend Meghan’s star-studded wedding in 2018
As part of their $100million deal with Netflix, the privacy-conscious couple have handed over a trove of pictures and video from their relationship. Meghan opened up about her relationship with her niece
She said: ‘I think I said I was hurt on some level, but I understood where it was coming from.
‘To know that it was because of my biological mother that this relationship, that’s so important to me, was impacted in that way. I feel like because of her, it was taken away. It’s been hard.’
Meghan said she has ‘compassion’ for the palace press team for trying to explain why Ashleigh was invited to the wedding but her mother wasn’t.
Meghan said: The guidance at the time was to not have her come to our wedding.
‘I was in the car with H, I called her and I had her on speakerphone and we talked her through what guidance we were being given and why this assessment was made and that’s painful.’
Both Ashleigh and Meghan opened up about their relationship, with her father Thomas Markle connecting the two via email initially.
As part of their $100million deal with Netflix, the privacy-conscious couple have handed over a trove of pictures and video from their relationship.
MailOnline can reveal:
The two women grew close after Meghan emailed her niece, with Ashleigh claiming there were ‘long emails’ back and forth several days a week
Ashleigh claims that Samantha, right, was the reason that she was not allowed to attend her aunt’s wedding to Prince Harry
Ashleigh was brought up by her paternal grandparents from the age of two, and was adopted by them before reconnecting with her mother in 2007
These included snaps of Meghan with Ashleigh on a trip to New Orleans before she met Harry, as well as Meghan standing by Ashleigh’s side on her wedding day.
The two women grew close after Meghan emailed her niece, with Ashleigh claiming there were ‘long emails’ back and forth several days a week.
Meghan said: ‘My dad said that Samantha had found her daughter and I remember saying, oh if you have her email address, I want to email her.
‘I think we both crave the same thing. I wanted a sister, and she was like a little sister.
‘Ash was put through quite a bit by the media just by association and I didn’t want her life to be plagued with all that drama.’
Ashleigh was brought up by her paternal grandparents from the age of two, and was adopted by them before reconnecting with her mother in 2007.
In another swipe against the royals, Ashleigh added: ‘Communication with Meg became less and less frequent… my impression was that her relationships were being managed on some level.
Ashleigh describes the Duchess as filling a lot of different roles for her, including a ‘sister’ as well as ‘maternal’
Ashleigh went on to say that she had been estranged from her mother, and she felt ‘hurt’ that she was not allowed to the wedding
Harry and Meghan kiss in the behind closed doors Netflix series. Harry says he made decision to marry Meghan ‘with his heart’ because he is ‘his mother’s son’ and claims his wife being an American actress ‘clouded’ his family’s view of her
‘She took me to New Orleans, we walked around, we listened to some good live music, ate way too much food and had way too many drinks.
‘It was just the two of us which I think is really special. I think she takes on a lot of roles for me.
‘There is a sister element, there’s a maternal she’s my friend she’s kind of all the things.
‘After the news first broke, Samantha pretty quickly began expressing a lot of angry words about Meg, and towards me.
‘What was communicated to me, was maybe some resentment and it felt like no matter what I said you know her perspective didn’t change and seemed to get angrier and bigger, and we stopped talking.
‘Just some people you can’t reason with.’
Ashleigh went on to say that she had been estranged from her mother, and she felt ‘hurt’ that she was not allowed to the wedding.
Those who did attend the bash included Oprah Winfrey, Idris Elba, George Clooney and his wife, humanitarian lawyer Amal Clooney.
Meghan jetted to New York for the first time since her wedding to Prince Harry in February 2019 for her baby shower
Pregnant Markle was joined Serena Williams for a baby shower bash for Archie in February 2019
Elton John, Priyanka Chopra, a close friend of Meghan’s, as well as several of her Suits castmates – including Jacinda Barrett and Patrick J Adams and his wife, Troian Bellisario.
Samantha Markle, Thomas Markle and Thomas Markle Jr did not attend the wedding, and it is understood that only Meghan’s father had been included in the original wedding plans.
Despite her claims that Meghan’s relationships were being ‘managed’, the Duchess still attended events with her friends both before and after their nuptials – including a baby shower for Archie.
She threw the bash in New York, with Amal Clooney, Misha Nonoo, Jessica Mulroney and Gayle King all attending the event – as well as tennis ace Serena Williams.
The shower took place Grand Penthouse Suite at The Mark hotel on New York’s Upper East Side – which costs $75,000-a-night.
Several of Meghan’s closest friends also flew to the UK days before her big day in 2018 and were spotted in London to see the sights.
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Doria Ragland has spoken about her daughter relationship with Prince Harry for the first time in their new Netflix documentary
Lindsay Roth, Sarah Rafferty, Misha Nonoo, Priyanka Chopra and Heather Dorak all flew across the world to celebrate their friends’ nuptials.
Meghan also claimed that her passport was taken by the Palace during their sensational Oprah interview in 2021 – though made several trips abroad including to New York after meeting Harry.
She also hits out at the formality of the royals, describing meeting the Prince and Princess of Wales wearing torn jeans and bare feet.
Discussing what happened, she said: ‘I was a hugger. I’ve always been a hugger, I didn’t realise that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits’.
She also admits to being baffled by the ‘formality’ of meeting the Queen for the first time, claiming she thought Harry was ‘joking’ when she learned she had to bow or curtsey and comparing her first meal at Windsor to a ‘Medieval Times, Dinner and Tournament’.
The highly-anticipated series is being put out in two parts, with the first three episodes of the six-part docu-series now available to stream online.
In episode one, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex begin by filming themselves on the day they ended their royal duties in March 2020, with Harry in the VIP lounge at Heathrow as he flew to Canada.
Meghan cries with a towel on her head as she declares: ‘I don’t even know where to begin’.
Meghan said she was shocked at the formality of the Royal Family and showed how she bowed for the first time when she met the Queen
Harry and Meghan shared pictures of their courtship and their marriage together and with their children
Lindsay (right) and Meghan (above with Heather Dorak) met in a Toni Morrison class at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Lindsay , Sarah Rafferty, Misha Nonoo, Priyanka Chopra and Heather all flew across the world to celebrate their friends’ nuptials
Viewers pointed out this footage was captured six months before their $100million deal with Netflix was signed in September 2020.
The privacy-conscious couple have given extraordinary access to the streaming giant, including a treasure trove of pictures and footage from their private lives including of their children.
There are also private texts and emails they shared at the time of their courtship.
The first three episodes also cover Harry’s birth and upbringing and he blames the media for the failure of his previous relationships.
The Sussexes then describe how they get together, their engagement and then quitting as frontline royals.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex discuss Megxit, racism and their new life in California.
It also begins with a pointed comment that the Royal Family declined to comment on allegations in the show and reveals it was completed in August 2022 – before the death of the Queen.