Megan Markle's father once won R10 million in the lottery — and paid tuition at her private school with part of his winnings

Business Insider US


  • Meghan Markle, now married to Prince Harry, went to private school. 
  • Meghan's father, Tom Markle, won $750,000, or more than R10 million in the California State Lottery in 1990, according to a biography.0
  • Though he has since declared bankruptcy, Markle used his lottery winnings at the time to pay her school fees.

A biography of Meghan Markle, now married to UK royal Prince Harry, tells how her father Tom once won the lottery when she was a child– then lost the money.

But first he used some of it to pay her school fees, according to "Meghan: A Hollywood Princess", a book by Princess Diana's controversial biographer Andrew Morton. 

The elder Markle was known as a frequent purchaser of lottery tickets who spent thousands of dollars pressing his luck, according to Morton. He won the California State Lottery in 1990, "scooping $750,000 with five numbers, which included Meghan’s birth date," Morton wrote. Today that would be worth more than R10 million.

Unfortunately, he eventually wound up filing for bankruptcy.

Tom Markle was a successful Hollywood lighting designer and was serving as the lighting director on the long running soap opera "General Hospital" when he met a makeup artist in training, Doria Ragland. Ragland became Markle's second wife and Meghan's mother, but the couple was already divorced by the time he won the lottery.

To avoid further financial difficulties from his divorce with Ragland, Markle sent a friend to pick up his lottery winnings from Chicago, according to The Times. Meghan's half-brother, Tom Jr., said that his father lost the bulk of the lottery prize when the same friend convinced him to invest a portion of his winnings into a jewellery business that later failed.

Markle didn't lose all of his money from his friend's scam, however. He gave Tom Jr. money to start a flower shop, bought a car for his daughter Yvonne, and paid Meghan's tuition at a Catholic school with his winnings.

"If Meg marries Harry she’ll have won the lottery of life but dad winning the lottery helped us all," Tom Jr. told the Mail. "That money allowed Meg to go to the best schools and get the best training."

As a student at Immaculate Heart, Meghan was a star in the classroom and in drama class. She was also named Homecoming Queen at the private all-girls school. After graduating from the Catholic school, Meghan Markle earned a degree from Northwestern University.

After college, Meghan Markle — like her parents before her — made a living in television. She appeared as a briefcase model on the game show "Deal or No Deal" and has starred on "Suits" since 2011.

In 2016, Tom Sr. declared bankruptcy over $30,000. With little in savings and no income during retirement, the father of the royal-to-be is in a precarious financial position.

It is not uncommon for lottery winners to lose their fortunes and wind up with less money than they had before their winning ticket. The rise and fall of lottery winners often comes with massive spending sprees.

Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa:

Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo