Living with her mother in a dark and dingy second-floor apartment at the back of a nondescript street in the heart of Los Angeles, no one imagined Meghan Markle would become royalty in the House of Windsor almost three decades later.
These are the modest childhood homes of the Duchess of Sussex as she was pushed from pillar to post by her mother Doria Ragland and father Thomas Markle before and after their divorce. The modest housing is in stark contrast to her grand abode now in Kensington Palace, where she and Prince Harry live in a two-bedroom cottage.
Her humble beginnings started on Providencia Street, in Woodland Hills, where she lived with her parents and half-siblings Thomas Jr and Samantha. Both her brother and sister have recently spoken out vehemently against ‘Princess Pushy’ for allegedly turning her back on the dysfunctional family. Humble beginnings: Meghan Markle lived in a modest two-bedroom home in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood of Los Angeles with both her parents and half-siblings Thomas Jr and Samantha until 1983, when she was two years old This is the house pictured in 2018. Opposite a country club, it was the biggest and ‘flashiest’ home that Meghan lived in during her youth. However, the inside was fraught with problems and was where Thomas Jr allegedly smoked weed all day, while dad Thomas Sr worked night and day The Duchess of Sussex, here on her birthday August 4, lived in multiple modest homes before finding fame with her role in Suits and marrying Prince Harry Meghan lived on the property until she was two years old and it was the biggest and ‘flashiest’ home she lived in during her youth. It was located opposite a country club – but the inside was fraught with problems, according to acclaimed biographer Andrew Morton, who wrote the book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. Thomas Jr smoked weed all day and even her mother would share a joint with a neighbour, while TV lighting director Thomas worked night and day, and wild teen Samantha would be out clubbing. Doria and Thomas had married at the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple on Sunset Blvd, in a ‘hippie wedding’ in December 1979. They divorced four years later and Meghan went to live with her mother in a top-floor apartment on S. Cloverdale Ave, Mid-Wilshire. It was once the garage and loft space for the main front property. This was recently renovated and is currently for rent at $3,950 a month, ten times what her mother would have been paying over 30 years previously. Although Meghan lived in modest homes, she attended a prestigious private nursery and kindergarten called Little Red Schoolhouse which starts at $18,800 a year for kindergarten and $22,600 year for sixth-grade. After her parents divorced in 1983, Meghan and her mother Doria moved into a top-floor apartment (pictured) in the Mid-Wilshire neighbourhood of LA. The apartment previously served as the garage and loft space of the main front property. The Duchess of Sussex split her time here and at her father’s home until she graduated high school in 1999 Meghan and Doria lived behind this two-bedroom, one bathroom house (pictured) on South Cloverdale Avenue. Their home was a short walk from Sunset Gower Studios where her father worked and where she spent time after school. The school was a short walk from Sunset Gower Studios where her Emmy-winning father worked on the set of Married With Children and where she would spend her days after school.
Her mother Doria, 62, had a less glamorous location for her line of business, which was still only a stone’s throw away from the school – now called the Hollywood Schoolhouse. She owned a gift shop called Distant Treasures and a clothing store called A Change of a Dress – both at the same location on N. La Brea St in Hancock Park for 14 years – until she went bankrupt in 2009. As can be seen in our photos, the run-down shopping precinct is now home to a liquor store, kosher market, and an aquarium, which is where Doria’s shop was situated.
When Meghan moved on to the $15,900-a-year Immaculate Heart High School, which she attended from 1991 to 1999, she lived with her dad on Vista Del Mar Avenue, a shabby street behind the Hollywood strip, only a few hundred yards from one of Scientology’s most important buildings, founder L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition. This is where Thomas recently said in an interview that he’d warned his daughter off the controversial religion after catching her lingering outside the building.
Her father’s apartment was on the ground floor and had two tiny bedrooms with bars across the windows. She lived there until she was 17. Now the place has been renovated, as photos show the kitchen, living room and two bedrooms that she shared with her dad throughout her teenage years. Meghan’s mother Doria, 62, previously owned a gift shop called Distant Treasures and a clothing store called A Change of a Dress – both at the same location on N. La Brea Ave in Hancock Park – just a few blocks away from Meghan’s elementary school for 14 years – until she went bankrupt in 2009.
The run-down shopping precinct is now home to a liquor store, kosher market, and an aquarium which is where Doria’s shop was situated. Meghan began splitting her time between her mom’s house and her dad’s Hollywood apartment when she was 11 until she left for college in 1999. Thomas Sr was living in a two bedroom ground floor flat on Vista Del Mar Avenue, a shabby street behind the Hollywood strip, only a few hundred yards from one of Scientology’s most important buildings, founder L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition Thomas Sr’s apartment, pictured above with bars across the window, was a short distance to Meghan’s high school. According to a biography on the duchess, ‘it made sense for her to live with her father during the week,’ however, as she got older, there was friction between the two since she felt she was the one who was mothering her father Not so shabby: The home has since been renovated; the kitchen, living room and two bedrooms that she shared with her dad throughout her teenage years. Pictured above is the large living space of the Hollywood home.
The two-bedroom, two bath home located in the heart of Hollywood is now listed for rent. Pictured left is a renovated kitchen, while the right shows an upgraded living space with hardwood floors According to Morton’s book, ‘it made sense for her to live with her father during the week.’ ‘It was a decision that would have far-reaching implications for the way she was seen by her new teachers and classmates…The older she became, the more she felt she was the one who was mothering her father. It was a source of friction, especially when she started dating,’ the book states. Meghan also had various part-time jobs and volunteer work including bussing tables and serving food at the Hippie Kitchen in Downtown Los Angeles, a Catholic set up to help the homeless living in the notorious Skid Row. She was an assistant at the Paper Store in Beverly Hills, where she also taught calligraphy, and served frozen yogurt at Humphrey Yogart, in Sherman Oaks.
When she left high school to attend Northwestern University in Illinois she met film producer Trevor Engelson in a bar on one of her visits back home in LA. ‘When Meghan first met him on that night out in West Hollywood, she liked what she saw and was attracted to his passion, drive, and ambition. He was a guy with an aphorism for every occasion. ‘Hope is the greatest currency we have in this business,’ he told the wide-eyed wannabe.’ True or not, it’s a great pick-up line,’ Morton wrote. The pair lived behind Whisky A Go-Go, a notorious club on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, where Engelson still lives today and Meghan resided there until getting her big break in Suits and relocating to Toronto for filming in 2011, divorcing the 41-year-old two years later. Meghan lived in different humble abodes growing up but received a private education from kindergarten until high school. She attended Immaculate Heart High School on Franklin Ave in Los Angeles from the age of 11 up to 18. Tuition is now $15,900 a year She attended a prestigious private nursery and kindergarten school called Little Red Schoolhouse, pictured, which cost $18,800 a year for kindergarten. It is now called Hollywood Schoolhouse. This is where Meghan and her first husband Trevor Engleson lived – behind Whisky A Go-Go, a notorious club on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood on Hilldale Ave during their marriage until they split in 2013. Engelson reportedly still lives there today Yet it was her childhood that defined Meghan, the aspiring actress and now adored royal. ‘While her childhood experiences were the crucible that set her on the path to activism,’ says Morton. ‘Her mother believes that she was hardwired from birth to try to make the world a better and more equal place. In short, she had a moral compass.’
Despite wanting to be a Hollywood star, it was her faith that was equally important and the central pillar for Meghan and Doria. So much so, that we can disclose she was once a youth minister for the Agape International Spiritual Center, which her mum is still a member today, along with TV host Oprah Winfrey. Sharon Fox, now an executive producer at California Motion Picture Company, was also a member and told her Facebook followers about bumping into the duchess and her husband Prince Harry in Dublin earlier this month. ‘It was such a nice surprise to bump into them when I went to Dublin to view the Book of Kells. Meghan was very sweet and I had a short chat with her during her stop on the walkabout regarding our church, the Agape International Spiritual Center, and our mutual minister, Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith… Meghan was a youth minister at my church, Agape, in LA years ago when I used to volunteer with the babies and toddlers on Church Sunday at Agape… I can not recall if I ever met her back then but it is clear she radiates that Agape spirit where ever she goes.’