Who is in Harry and Meghan’s inner circle? The Sussexes’ close friends who may speak out in the couple’s explosive Netflix docuseries
- Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Netflix series is set for release on December 8
- Harry and Meghan will give a glimpse into their live in Montecito, California
- The series is set to hear from some who have never spoken publicly before
As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex get ready to share their story with the world in a new Netflix series which airs next week, it is likely some of the couple’s dearest friends will feature in the show.
Netflix said the six-part documentary series will tell the story of the Duke and Duchess’s relationship as it’s never been told before, including revelations from friends and relatives who have previously avoided speaking about their ‘whirlwind romance’.
Despite the eyes of the world upon them when they stepped down as senior royals as fans eagerly awaited what the Sussexes did next, the couple have maintained a loyal inner circle as they embark upon life in the US.
While some of their close friends have spoken out from time to time about their relationships with the royals, they have for the most part remained quiet about Harry and Meghan’s side of the story – but this may change when the £88 million docuseries airs on December 8.
So who from Harry and Meghan’s inner circle might appear on the Netflix show? FEMAIL takes a look at some of their closest friends…
Music mogul David Foster, 72 (pictured) has been described by some as a ‘father figure’ to Meghan and Harry
Music mogul David Foster, 72, has been described by some as a ‘father figure’ to Harry, who has helped the Duke and Duchess of Sussex settle in North America.
Foster’s wife, Katharine McPhee, attended the same Catholic school as Meghan. The Duchess of Sussex was already at high school by the time Katharine was at the Los Angeles middle school.
She previously revealed how close her husband is to both Prince Harry and Meghan.
In May 2020 she told Access Hollywood: ‘My husband has a really, really beautiful relationship with Harry. They’re so cute. They’re like father and son.’
She explained how David helped set the Sussexes up with their Canadian $14.1 million mansion hideaway before they moved to LA.
He said his wife Katharine discovered that the Duke and Duchess were in need of a discreet spot for their first Christmas holiday with a then-seven-month-old Archie and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, and he was happy to oblige.
David said that he hooked the couple up with the sprawling property, which was located on the waterfront in North Saanich, near Vancouver.
‘I felt honoured that I was able to help Meghan there because I’m a Canadian and we’re a commonwealth country. It’s important to us, so I grew up with that kind of sentiment,’ David told DailyMail.com.
Meanwhile, it was reported that David had planned to throw the Duke a fun-filled party in celebration of his first Los Angeles-based birthday upon Harry turning 36.
The Mirror claimed that the party was set to be held at David’s Los Angeles home, with a source telling the publication that it was going to be a low-key and intimate celebration.
Meanwhile, in October 2020, it was reported that Harry and Meghan planned on spending Christmas in the US with the Duke’s ‘surrogate’ father David, a source claimed.
The couple were apparently hosting their own Christmas soirée in Los Angeles and planned on inviting his ‘surrogate’ dad, The Mirror reported.
‘Meghan very much wants to host the first Christmas at their new home with her mum,’ a source close to the couple claimed.
‘She’s really excited and is planning on doing all the traditions she grew up with as a child, including the cooking.’
According to the source, David and Katherine offered to host the festivities at their home, however, Meghan volunteered that she and Harry host at theirs.
Jessica Mukroney (pictured in New York) met Meghan Markle while the Duchess starred in Suits
One of Meghan’s closest friends is Jessica Mulroney, a celebrity stylist based in Toronto, Canada. The couple met while on the set of Suits in the Canadian city.
For years, the pair were inseparable – although in recent years reports have surfaced that they are less close than they once were.
At Meghan and Harry’s wedding in Windsor in 2018, Jessica’s young twin sons were page boys at the ceremony while her daughter Ivy was a bridesmaid.
And the stylist was a key player in every aspect of Meghan’s wedding plans – helping her choose the dress designer and speaking daily.
Later, Jessica shared snaps of the royal wedding on Instagram with the caption: ‘Proud friend. Proud mom.’
And a palace insider even suggested to the Mail on Sunday that Meghan had confided in her Toronto-based pal while she and Harry were making plans to step down as senior royals.
The source said ‘Jessica was more influential on “Megxit” than anyone really realised.’
Soon after the announcement that Harry and Meghan were to leave the Royal Family, Mulroney said: ‘A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.’
However, Jessica and Meghan appeared to become distant in 2020 when the stylist was called out by influencer Sasha Exeter for comments she had made about white privilege.
Following Sasha’s claims, Jessica issued three public apologies but she was still dropped by CTV and ABC television networks, on which she had broadcast fashion segments.
As the backlash built against Jessica, Meghan maintained a discreet silence in public on the matter.
However, shortly after Meghan’s 40th birthday, a source told the Daily Mail’s Richard Eden the pair were still friends even though they did not see each other frequently.
‘Meghan is in regular touch with Jessica,’ the source said. ‘It’s just difficult now they’re in California and Jessica’s in Toronto.’
Mark Dyer (pictured at the Dorchester Hotel in 2014) served as an equerry to King Charles in the 1990s
Mark Dyer, 55, is a long-time mentor and is often referred to as the Duke’s ‘second dad’.
The former Welsh Guards officer, known to friends as Marko, served as an equerry to King Charles during the 1990s, and has remained close with Harry ever since.
It is said that, after the death of Princess Diana, Mark stepped up and was a strong presence in the lives of both Prince Harry and Prince William.
When Harry admitted to smoking cannabis as a teenager and Prince Charles insisted he spend a day at a residential centre for drug users in Peckham, South London, meeting recovering cocaine and heroin addicts, it was Dyer who escorted him along with his royal protection officers.
However, after his spell as an employee to the Prince ended he remained a mentor to Harry.
He was reportedly fond of the Prince’s former girlfriend Chelsy Davy and sneaked her out to the ranch where Harry was staying in Argentina during his gap year before starting his Army training at Sandhurst.
Royal biographer Penny Junor once described Mark as one of the ‘few people who talks some sense into [Harry]’.
Dyer enjoyed a brief romance with ex-royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke but wed Texan heiress Amanda Kline in 2010.
Prince Harry was an usher at the ceremony at St Edmund’s Church at Crickhowell, in Powys, Wales.
The pair are so close, Harry and Meghan even decided to name Mark as Archie’s Godfather – with Harry holding the same responsibility for Mark’s own son Jasper.
These days, Mark runs a chain of bars and restaurants in west London, and he is also a trustee of Harry’s Sentebale charity.
It is thought Harry and Meghan had secret dates at Mark’s establishments when they first met.
Cressida Bonas (pictured at a book launch in Mayfair in Audust 2022) dated Prince Harry for several years
After his long-term relationship with Chelsy Davy came to an end, Harry found love again with Burberry muse and actress Cressida Bonas.
Harry and aristocrat’s daughter Miss Bonas are believed to have been introduced by Princess Eugenie.
The pair dated on and off between 2012 and 2014, but ultimately split only a month after Miss Bonas attended an official engagement with Harry for the first time.
The couple had embraced in front of cameras, prompting speculation they might be about to get engaged but it later emerged the relationship had come under great strain in the weeks leading to their split.
The break reportedly came because Cressida was tired of the scrutiny that came with dating a member of the royal family.
Speaking at the Henley Literary Festival in 2016, Ingrid Seward, who has written several books about the Royals, said that the-then 27-year-old actress ‘couldn’t take it’ when she found herself being judged by total strangers.
She said: ‘A friend of mine’s daughter went out with Prince Harry, Cressie, the most gorgeous girl, she just said it was awful because every time she walked down the street she could hear people criticising her.
‘They would whip out their phones and take photos of her. They’d say “oh look at her hair”, “oh look at her clothes, look at her boots, she hasn’t got her laces done up”, I mean this is just a normal, pretty girl and she just couldn’t take it. She just thought “why are they getting at me”.’
However the couple remain on good terms and socialise in similar circles, with Princess Eugenie among Cressida’s closest friends.
Cressida, 33, even attended her ex-boyfriend’s wedding to Meghan in May 2018.
This summer Cressida, who now hosts a podcast, revealed she was expecting her first child with her husband Harry Wentworth-Stanley.
She appeared at the wedding of Lady Tatiana Mountbatten, daughter of Queen Elizabeth’s cousin the Marquess of Milford Haven, showing a hint of a baby bump.
Lindsay Roth (pictured leaving Meghan’s baby shower in New York) attended Northwestern University with the Duchess
Lindsay Roth is one of Meghan Markle’s oldest friends, having studied at Northwestern University with the Duchess.
Now a producer and author, Lindsay remains fiercely loyal to Meghan and has leapt to her old friend’s defence in response to criticism of her.
Last year, when claims of bullying emerged against the Duchess, Lindsay was quick to jump to Meghan’s aid.
She took to Instagram to share a photo of herself and Meghan at graduation, with a caption praising her longstanding friend.
Lindsay wrote: ‘Meg’s M.O. has always been kindness; goodwill runs in her bones.
‘I know this to be true after 22 years of very close friendship. I have seen firsthand how she treats her friends and their families, and her colleagues.
‘She’s more than just a cover story. She’s funny. Like, laugh out loud funny. And smart.
‘She was this woman when we were students together at Northwestern University; she was this woman in Los Angeles when her days were spent auditioning; she was this woman living in Toronto as Rachel Zane on Suits.
‘She was this woman before you knew she was dating Harry; she was this woman after you knew was dating Harry; she was this woman when she became Duchess of Sussex and she is still – without a doubt – this very same woman today.’
Lindsay’s close relationship with Meghan was evident when Lindsay asked the Duchess to be Maid of Honor at her wedding.
Chelsy Davy (pictured in 2017) dated Prince Harry from 2004-2011 until the pair finally split when she struggled with the pressure of being in the public eye
Chelsy, 36, is now a mother-of-one and owns a jewellery business, but from 2004-2011, the Zimbabwean-born designer was best known for dating Prince Harry.
The pair met when Chelsy was at boarding school in Stowe, following her family’s relocation to the UK. For a few years they were just friends.
When the businesswoman finished school, she returned to Africa where she studied for a degree at the University of Cape Town. But, upon visiting South Africa on his gap year, Harry decided to look up his old friend and the pair reconnected.
Chelsy later moved back to the UK and studied at the University of Leeds, which allowed her to be closer to her beau.
For the next few years, they were a golden couple, with Chelsy often pictured at the sidelines of Harry’s polo matches.
She soon became accepted into the Royal Family, being invited to King Charles’s 60th birthday and later accompanying Harry to Princess Diana’s memorial concert in 2007.
The pair eventually split in 2011 in what was described as an amicable break-up – and several years later, Chelsy revealed how much she had struggled with being in the limelight.
In 2016 she told The Times: ‘I found it very difficult when it was bad. I couldn’t cope. I was young, I was trying to be a normal kid and it was horrible.’
Harry and Chelsy have clearly remained on good terms, because she was invited to his wedding to Meghan Markle at St George’s chapel in May 2018.
Earlier this year, she married Sam Cutmore-Scott, 37, who was in the year above the prince at Eton College, and the couple had their first baby in January, a boy named Leo.
Tiggy Pettifer, also known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, is one of the few people publicly named as Archie’s godparent
Tiggy Pettifer – better known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke – was famously Harry and William’s long-term nanny in their formative years.
Harry was closest to her, and she has been part of every landmark event in his life —including his Sandhurst passing out parade and his graduation as a helicopter pilot at the Army Aviation Centre in Andover, Hants.
A constant by the princes’ side while they were growing up, Pettifer has remained close to both the royals over the years, and met Meghan before they married.
At the time, it was reported Harry wanted the girl he married to get to know the figure who, with the exception of his mother, was the single most influential woman in his childhood.
The Duke of Sussex is godfather to her son Tom Pettifer, who was pictured at the royal wedding.
Meanwhile Tiggy is one of the few publicly named godparents for Harry’s son Archie.
Nacho Figueras, 45 (pictured) is a close friend of Prince Harry’s with whom he plays polo
Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Figueras, who is a close friend of Prince Harry’s with whom he plays polo, has spoken out previously about the Duke and Duchess’s struggles since they stepped down as senior royals.
However, this makes him all the more likely to participate in the couple’s Netflix series to stand up for his close friends.
In 2020, Argentine-born Nacho, 45, appeared on Good Morning America where he spoke about how Harry had suffered and added the Duke was just trying to live a normal life.
He said: ‘He has suffered a lot for all the things that have happened to him.
‘He wants to live a normal life, as normal as his life is going to be. When you have 1,000 paparazzi outside your house in Canada waiting to get one picture of your son, that’s not normal.’
Nacho first met the royal in 2007 at a charity match hosted by Sentebale – the organization created by Harry that was designed to ‘help children and adolescents struggling to come to terms with their HIV status’ – and from the start, he said it was clear that Harry dreamed of starting a family.
‘[My wife] Delfi and I have known Harry for a very long time. I know firsthand how much he wanted to have a family,’ he told People magazine this year.
Harry’s polo teammate added that Meghan makes an ‘amazing teammate’ for him off the pitch.
‘He found an amazing teammate, or partner, in Meghan. They love each other very much; their children are lovely,’ he gushed.
Nacho explained to the outlet that he had the luxury of spending a lot of time with the pair in recent months, as he was also on Harry’s team at the Santa Barbara Polo Club.
‘Being able to be with them for the last two months only made me happier – seeing them be a lovely family with their kids and their dogs, and that’s really what he always wanted,’ he said. ‘I’m very happy for them.’
Heather Dorak (pictured) became friends with Meghan Markle when the Duchess was on the set of Suits in Toronto
Meghan Markle’s pilates guru pal Heather Dorak, who has often been pictured practicing her profession with the Duchess of Sussex, is originally from Texas but now lives in LA, in the same state as Harry and Meghan.
She first met the Duchess when she became her trainer while on the set of Suits in Toronto, and the pair became close enough that Heather was invited to Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018.
She has been a key part of her North American inner circle since Megxit, visiting Prince Harry, 37, and Meghan in Canada in January 2020 shortly after they left the UK after stepping back as senior royals.
Meghan frequently shared snaps of herself and Heather on her now defunct Instagram account before it was closed ahead of the royal wedding.
In interviews published before her relationship with Prince Harry became public, Meghan gushed about her ‘amazing’ and ‘inspiring’ friend Heather.
Meghan once told Women’s Health Magazine: ‘There are so many workouts that you try out once and never go back to; Heather’s studio is the complete opposite.
‘You keep coming back for several reasons: first off, your body changes immediately… give it two classes and you will see a difference; second, Heather is amazing – as an instructor, as a friend, she is inspiring in every way.
‘Lastly, the people in class are cool, unpretentious, and motivating… and that is a testament to Heather’s energy.’
Heather has remained a member of the Duchess’ close-knit girl squad, and is understood to have masterminded Meghan’s secret hen do ahead of her wedding to Prince Harry.
The friends were also both pregnant at the same time in late 2018, with Heather being one of the first friends to visit the Duke and Duchess when they briefly lived in Vancouver after leaving the UK in 2020.
Although the pair are incredibly close and Meghan has praised Heather in public in the past, Heather has rarely if ever spoken about her close friend the Duchess in the public eye.
Janina Gavankar (pictured at a premiere in Hollywood in September) has stared in True Blood and The Morning Show
Janina Gavankar has been friends with Meghan Markle for almost two decades after they first met when the pair were starting out as actresses.
While Meghan went on to take a recurring role in law drama Suits, Janina ended up being cast in TV programmes including True Blood and The Morning Show.
Although Janina has spoken out about her friendship with the Duchess a few times in the past, she may well appear in the Netflix show in support of her friends.
In March 2020, Janina told Entertainment Tonight her friendship with Meghan had not changed at all despite her marrying into the royal family.
She said: ‘We met 16 years ago, and we’ve just been apart since, so our friendship lives on FaceTime, no matter where we are.’
American actress Janina was asked by her friend Meghan to take the image for the couple’s Christmas card in 2019.
The photograph showed her and husband Prince Harry with their seven-month-old son Archie in the foreground.
When asked if she would take anymore photographs of baby Archie, the actress jokingly hinted that if she didn’t, ‘somebody else will’.
Janina also insisted that said the royal had ‘always’ been ‘amazing’ and maintained that ‘nothing has changed’ in their friendship over the last 16 years.
Abigail Spencer (pictured) a Grey’s Anatomy star, was once Meghan’s castmate in Suits
Abigail Spencer, an actress who now stars in Grey’s Anatomy, met Meghan when they were co-stars on Suits.
The pair became close friends while filming the legal drama and Abigail was pictured attending Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018 alongside Priyanka Chopra.
Meghan and Abigail played Rachel Zane, a senior paralegal and later associate at Zane Specter Litt, and Dana “Scottie” Scott, Gabriel Macht’s character’s old rival, respectively in the drama.
In 2019, Abigail gave an interview to People Now where she gushed over her friend Meghan’s sense of style and claimed it usually wasn’t down to a stylist.
She said: ‘She always looks incredible.
‘[But] I think it’s more just cheering her on and saying, “How do you do it? How do you look so incredible all the time?”, because she does it all herself.’
Abigail has often been seen enjoying low-key meetings with the Royal, including her appearance at Meghan’s baby shower in New York in February 2019 along with tennis star Serena Williams and her close friend and make-up artist Daniel Martin.
Most recently, Abigail attended a polo match in Santa Barbara in May in which Prince Harry played in earlier this year at the end of May.
Doria Ragland (pictured with Meghan in 2018) is incredibly close with her daughter and plays a big part in her LA life
Meghan Markle’s mother Doria Ragland shares a close relationship with her daughter and plays a big part in the lives of Meghan and Harry’s children, Archie and Lilibet.
Recently, Doria appeared on a Zoom call with Meghan and little Archie as the Duchess spoke to an academic, who shared a screengrab of the call on Twitter.
And on her podcast Archetypes, Meghan recently revealed her mother still uses her childhood nickname – even though she is now a mother-of-two herself.
‘My mum still calls me Flower,’ Meghan admitted in a conversation with transgender actress Michaela J Rodriguez.
She added: ‘I’ll be a 41 year old Flower, that’s fine.’
The nickname could well be linked to 66-year-old social worker Doria’s new tattoo, which she debuted in September this year while walking around Los Angeles.
While she walked her two dogs near her home, fans spotted a flower tattoo on Doria’s arm.
In an interview with Glamour magazine before she met Prince Harry, she described her mother as ‘a free spirit’, saying: ‘My mum’s a yoga instructor, but she does social work as well and she works specifically with the geriatric community.
‘She’s got dreadlocks and a nose ring. She just ran the LA Marathon. We can just have so much fun together, and yet I’ll still find so much solace in her support. That duality co-exists the same way it would in a best friend.’
Doria was the only family member of Meghan’s to attend the royal wedding in 2018 and was pictured chatting to King Charles at St George’s Chapel ahead of the ceremony.
Unlike Meghan’s father Thomas Markle, Doria rarely speaks about her daughter in public, but Sussex fans are likely to see a little more of her as the Netflix series focuses on their life in LA, in which she plays a big part.
James Corden (pictured) has revealed his children and Prince Harry’s children have had playdates
Although he already has an enormous platform presenting The Late Late Show in the US, British comedian James Corden may well appear in Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series.
The presenter has become close to the Sussexes since their move stateside and has recently opened up about their children’s close friendships.
James, 43, lives just half an hour away from Meghan and Harry’s £11 million Montecito mansion and recently revealed his children and Archie and Lilibet have playdates together.
Speaking to The Sun, he added he and his wife Julia Carey have had dinner with the Sussexes.
He also said he finds it difficult to be ‘judgemental’ of the pair, seemingly referring to their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family and move to the US.
He said: ‘I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Harry, and anyone who has been around him and spent time with him would feel exactly the same way.
‘I think he is a devoted and loving husband and father and I think what they have done [in turning away from royal life] is incredibly brave and I’ll always be in their corner.’
He admitted he knows Harry better than he knows Meghan, after the Duke of Sussex appeared on The Late Late Show in 2020 shortly after he moved to the US with Meghan when they stepped down as senior royals.