On Thursday, at an appearance for her cookbook, Together, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex was joined by a familiar face: Doria Ragland. Dressed in a neutral palette with a paisley scarf, she smiled warmly next to her daughter as they cooked coconut chicken curry, aubergine masala, and chapatis.
It was the first the public has seen of Ragland since Prince Harry and Meghan’s May 19 wedding, where the mother-of-the-bride won the public’s hearts with her tender, supportive demeanor. She stood in stark contrast to Thomas Markle—who, at that point, had given multiple interviews to TMZ.
Her Thursday appearance was just more evidence of how close Ragland is not only with her daughter, but with the royal family. An in-law at an official appearance isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence. It also begged the question: is Doria Ragland permanently entering the royal fold?
There have been rumblings since May that Ragland was planning to relocate from Los Angeles to London. Recently, they’ve grown even louder: The Daily Mail reported in August that she was “beside herself with excitement” at the prospect. Another article went further, saying that Ragland took an infant care refresher class so that, down the line, she could assist Meghan and Harry when they decided to start a family. The latter point, at this stage, certainly remains a rumor. But with such a high-profile appearance, it seems that a move could be in the cards.
For the royal family, casual visits by family and friends are usually treated as private matters. Markle’s reported trip to Toronto to visit Jessica Mulroney, for example, was not photographed in any official capacity, nor was the couple’s supposed visit to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall’s Castle of Mey. It’s just not something they publicize.
But the opposite is happening here. Daria Ragland is in the United Kingdom, and the couple wants photographers, the press, and transitively, the whole world to know. This is one visit they aren’t keeping under wraps.
There’s been no confirmation from Kensington Palace about the move, and perhaps Ragland just wanted to show support for her daughter’s new venture. But since Ragland has largely kept herself out of the spotlight, and Markle’s been doing royal appearances for months now (she’s practically an expert), it seems unlikely Markle needed her mother there. Instead, Ragland seemed to be sending a message: that, going forward, she will be a visible part of Sussex family life—and maybe she’s here to stay.
This article first appeared on Vogue.com