‘Harry & Meghan’ Doc Unveils Meghan Markle’s Niece: 5 Things to Know About Ashleigh Hale

Ashleigh Hale and Meghan Markle for 'Harry & Meghan'
Courtesy of Netflix

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Harry & Meghan, Episodes 1-3.]

Netflix‘s new docuseries Harry & Meghan has dropped its first three episodes and among the biggest revelations is the connection between Meghan Markle and her niece Ashleigh Hale.

Many viewers didn’t even know about Ashleigh’s existence, let alone her sisterly bond with the Duchess of Sussex. But she has quite a substantial on-screen presence in the show, which gives an insight into the lives of Markle and her husband Prince Harry.

Below, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about Ashleigh and Meghan’s connection, and why it’s so pivotal.

Ashleigh Hale in 'Harry & Meghan'

(Credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

How Are They Related?

Ashleigh Hale is the daughter of Meghan Markle’s half-sister Samantha Markle, who viewers may have heard of over the past several years. It’s not entirely a secret that Meghan isn’t close with her sister who has on multiple occasions spoken to tabloids about her. As Ashleigh shares in the docuseries, she was raised by her paternal grandparents and only got back together with her mother in 2007. According to Meghan, she was informed by her father Thomas Markle about Ashleigh reconciling with Samantha, and in turn, she asked to get connected with her niece through email. From there, the women began sending messages back and forth fostering a close bond that quickly turned into a tight-knit friendship.

Why Wasn’t She at the Royal Wedding?

Because of comments that Ashleigh’s mother made to the press surrounding Meghan and Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were advised by their royal comms rep to not invite the young woman to their wedding. Despite being on good terms with Meghan and Harry, Ashleigh’s inclusion at the wedding was shut down because she was Samantha Markle’s daughter. According to both women, it was a devastating reality to face. “To know that it was because of my biological mother that this relationship that’s so important to me was impacted in that way… To feel like because of her it was taken away… it’s been hard,” Ashleigh shared in the docuseries.

Meghan Markle and Ashleigh Hale for 'Harry & Meghan'

(Credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

Is Ashleigh in Touch With Her Mom Samantha?

As if her lack of invite to Meghan and Harry’s wedding wasn’t enough of an indication, Ashleigh said in the docuseries that after her mother “began expressing a lot of angry words about Meg towards me,” she tried reasoning with Samantha. “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.”

How Close Are Meghan and Ashleigh?

As they’re seemingly similar in age, Meghan and Ashleigh are connected in many ways. “We just hit it off,” Meghan said in the docuseries after they began communicating through email. “And then she and I just started, like… I was on Suits at the time. So I’d say, ‘Let’s go on vacations.'” Ashleigh warmly remembers their trips to places like New Orleans. “It was just the two of us which I think was really special. I think she takes on a lot of roles for me,” Ashleigh shared.

“There’s a sister element, there’s something maternal. She’s a best friend. She’s kind of all the things…,” Ashleigh concluded. And the feeling’s mutual as Meghan shared she always wanted a sister and Ashleigh was “like a little sister.” Photos shown in the docuseries also hint that Meghan was involved in Ashleigh’s wedding, featuring in several photos.

What Does Ashleigh Do?

According to Ashleigh in the show, she works as an immigration attorney. Upon further research, Hale works for a law firm based out of the San Fransisco Bay Area.