Meghan Markle and Her Niece Ashleigh Hale: Everything We Learned About Their Relationship From 'Harry & Meghan'

She's like a substitute sister for the duchess.

Actress Meghan Markle attends USA Networks a "Suits" Story Fashion Show on June 12, 2012 in New York, United States.
(Image credit: Photo by Michael Stewart / Getty)

Meghan Markle unfortunately doesn't have a relationship with her half-sister Samantha Markle, but she has formed a strong bond with Samantha's biological daughter Ashleigh Hale.

Hale's appearance in Harry & Meghan on Netflix was one of the biggest surprises contained in the first three episodes. Up until now, it seems the Duchess of Sussex has tried to keep her niece, an immigration attorney, a bit more sheltered from media attention.

Speaking on the documentary, Hale explained that she lived with her paternal grandparents from the age of two, and was adopted by them along with her brother. She didn't see Samantha after the age of six, until they eventually made contact again around 2007.

It was at this point that Meghan asked to be put in touch with Hale, and they started chatting over email. Eventually, they began hanging out regularly.

They went on vacations and adventures together and have maintained their relationship ever since. Hale explained, "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 kind of all the things."

As for Meghan, she said, "I think we both craved 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."

Hale also recalled the resentment Samantha appeared to be expressing towards Meghan when she met Prince Harry.

Significantly, Meghan was told it was better not to invite Hale to her royal wedding in 2018, because of how it would look that her mother Samantha wasn't included as well.

Both women spoke about how difficult this episode was at the time, but it didn't harm their relationship in the end, because Hale understood the situation. Her inclusion in Harry & Meghan, of course, proves that there's no bad blood.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.