Who is Samantha Markle's daughter Ashleigh Hale? Everything to know about Meghan Markle's niece

The two are 'more like sisters'

a split template showing Meghan Markle and her niece Ashleigh Hale
(Image credit: Future/Netflix/Getty)

Viewers of the Harry & Meghan docuseries (opens in new tab) have been introduced to a new Markle family member who they might not be familiar with. So who is Samantha Markle's daughter Ashleigh Hale and what has she said about her relationship with Aunt Meghan?

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past years, most people know that Meghan Markle has a complicated family life. Whilst she remains close with her mother Doria Ragland, it's safe to say the other of Meghan Markle's parents (opens in new tab) - her dad Thomas - no longer has any involvement in his daughter's life. Then there's Thomas's other daughter Samantha Markle - aka Meghan's half sister - who has been very publicly open about her thoughts on the Duchess and her marriage to Prince Harry (opens in new tab).

Whilst her relationship with her paternal family is strained, the new Netflix docuseries has uncovered one member who Meghan does stay in contact with - her niece Ashleigh Hale. The 37-year-old, whose biological mother is Samantha Markle, has been close with the Suits actress way before Harry and Meghan met (opens in new tab) and has come out in support of her in their new tell-all series. Here's everything to know about Ashleigh Hale and what she's had to say.

She's an Immigration Lawyer

Ashleigh Hale introduces herself as an Immigration Lawyer in the Harry & Meghan docuseries. Her Linkedin profile states she is a Business Immigration Attorney and that she currently works as an Associate at San Francisco firm Fragomen.

Hale studied International Studies and French at Hollins University, before going on to become a Doctor of Law at Charleston University. In 2011, she gained a Master of International and Comparative law at The George Washington University Law School.

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Studying International law, it may come as no surprise that Hale has worked abroad. Before settling in Richmond, Virginia, the lawyer worked in Belgium at the firm Hunton & Williams.

Before deleting her social media, Meghan shared her pride online at Ashleigh's work and the difference she is making. According to the Express (opens in new tab), Meghan dedicated one Twitter post to Ashleigh's unpaid work with Gray Haven. The Richmond-based non-profit organisation helps to fight the trafficking of vulnerable adults and children.

"Please help victims of human trafficking! Support @thegrayhaven (my niece, Ash, does pro bono work for them!)" read the caption, that accompanied a photo of the two, sat in a car.

She's Samantha Markle's daughter - but was raised by her grandparents

In the docuseries, Ashleigh explains how she is related to Meghan:

"So Meg is my aunt on the maternal side of my family. So she is my biological mother's half-sister. My biological mother is Samantha Markle and it was agreed by everyone and myself and my brother to be raised by our grandparents. So they got custody of us when I was probably around 2-years-old and ultimately they did adopt us. So I was raised by my paternal grandparents. And for me they were my parents."

Ashleigh's paternal grandparents are called Earle and Meta, who were responsible for raising Ashleigh and her brother, Christopher from a young age.

Meghan and Ashleigh met after Samantha reconnected with her daughter

It seems Samantha and her daughter Ashleigh have had periods without contact with each other. In Harry & Meghan, Ashleigh stated that she has not seen her biological mother since she was six years old.

"And then later in life, around 2007, we reconnected," Ashleigh explains. This is ultimately when Meghan and Ashleigh's relationship began. Meghan's father Thomas Markle told the Suits star that the two had reconnected, prompting Meghan to ask her father: "If you have her email address, I want to email her."

Meghan and Ashleigh started hanging out

"It started out as these long emails back and forth to each other," explains Ashleigh in the docuseries. "And then texts and calls. After a while I think we were talking on some level, several days a week.

"She took me to New Orleans, we walked around, we listened to some good live music," she adds. "Ate way too much food and had way too many drinks. It was just the two of us which I think was really special."

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The two describe their relationship as more like 'sisters'

"We just hit it off," Meghan says of their relationship. "And then she and I, we just started - you know I was on Suits at the time so I was like let's go on vacations.

In a sweet moment, the actress adds: "I think we craved the same thing. I wanted a sister and she was like a little sister"

It's something that Ashleigh very much reciprocates: "I think she takes on a lot of roles for me. There's like a sister element, there's something maternal, she's a best friend. She's kinda all the things." 

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However, Ashleigh was not invited to Meghan's wedding

In a difficult moment, Meghan explains how her relationship with Harry meant consequences for her relationship with Ashleigh. 

"Ash was put through quite a bit by the media by association," Meghan relays - and Ashleigh agrees that their relationship became different when her aunt married into the institution.

Then came the matter of the wedding invite. Meghan claims that a private secretary advised her she couldn't invite Ashleigh - her niece - if she wasn't prepared to invite her half-sister Samantha - Ashleigh's mum. The Duke and Duchess had the "difficult" conversation with Ashleigh on the phone explaining their reasons for the non-invite.

Ashleigh 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 so important to me was impacted in that way. I feel like because of her it was taken away. It's been hard."

Ashleigh no longer talks to her mother

Ashleigh says that her mother's mindset of Meghan has led to the two cutting ties.

"What was communicated to me was maybe some sort of resentment - and it felt like no matter what I said her perspective didn't change and seemed to get angrier and bigger. And we stopped talking - just some people you can't reason with."

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.