Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's newborn Lili shares name of aunt

The OTHER Lillie: Meghan Markle’s daughter shares name of her great-great aunt who married professional baseball player and worked Bette Davis’ housekeeper – and left her home to Doria Ragland

  • Meghan Markle’s great-great aunt Lillie Evans died when the Duchess was 22 
  • Her mother Doria Ragland lives in the house Evans left to Meghan’s grandfather 
  • Lillie’s husband, William Demont ‘Happy’ Evans Jr was one of the greatest ever black baseball players 
  • Evans’ grandson has previously said that Doria looked just like Lillie Evans

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry paid tribute to both the Queen and Princess Diana with their daughter’s name, but it seems there’s a nod to the duchess’ great-great aunt too. 

The Duke, 36, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, welcomed Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor on Friday, June 4 at 11.40am at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California.

She was named in honour of the Duke of Sussex’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as the Queen, whose nickname – used by Prince Philip and her grandfather King George V – was Lilibet.

But the name Lili, which the Sussexes plan to call their daughter, also holds special meaning for Meghan, whose great-great-aunt was Lillie Ragland, a successful realtor, who died when Meghan was 22.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry paid tribute to both the Queen and Princess Diana with their daughter’s name, but it seems there’s a subtle nod to the duchess’ great-great aunt too 

The name Lili, which the Sussexes plan to call their daughter, also holds special meaning for Meghan, whose great-great-aunt was Lillie Ragland, a successful realtor, who died when Meghan was 22 (pictured centre, with her husband WEilliam)

DailyMail.com previously revealed how Lillie’s husband William Demont Evans Jr was a star black baseball player nicknamed ‘Happy’ in the 1920s and 1930s, before Jackie Robinson finally broke the color bar and the game became desegregated. 

Evans was one of the country’s black stars, playing with the Homestead Grays when the team from just outside Pittsburgh was at its most successful in 1931 and 1932, winning those year’s equivalent of the World Series for the Negro Leagues.

After he retired from baseball, Evans moved to Los Angeles with his wife Lillie, who was born Ragland – and she was to become a housekeeper for Bette Davis before embarking on a successful real estate career.

Evans’ grandson Bill previously said: ‘Lillie became the first black realtor director, man or woman, so she was a pioneer. 

William ‘Happy’ Evans was a hugely successful baseball player whose wife Lillie’s great-great niece is now the Duchess of Sussex

Evans is pictured in the rear center with several of his grandchildren, as well as Lille Evans (pictured right on the bench) in an undated photograph

‘After Bill retired from baseball he got into the aerospace industry, I think he was an inspector.’

Before that, however, Meghan’s aunt worked for one of the all-time Hollywood greats, Bette Davis. 

In his book about the 1930-31 Homestead Grays, black baseball historian Phil Dixon wrote: ‘After retiring from baseball Evans’ relocated to Los Angeles, California, at which time his wife became a maid for actress Bette Davis.’

With the fruits of her successful career she also gave back and endowed her local community with a swimming pool to keep local children off the streets. 

Upon her death, Lillie left her Los Angeles house to her nephew, Meghan’s grandfather Alvin Ragland, who in turn left it to his daughter Doria (pictured) 

Upon her death, Lillie left her Los Angeles house to her nephew, Meghan’s grandfather Alvin Ragland, who in turn left it to his daughter Doria.

Bill also revealed Meghan and Lillie had similarities, explaining: ‘Lillie and Meghan, wow, two pioneers that tore down walls, that are for the people, that just want to give – loving spirits. I see that same type of personality of my grandmother in Meghan and God Bless her, I’m really proud of her.’ 

The name Lili also holds special meaning for Meghan and Doria because the duchess was given the childhood nickname ‘Flower’ by her adoring mother.

In a blog post on her now-defunct lifestyle site, The Tig, Meghan shared her nicknames, writing: ‘Meg, MM, M&M, and Flower (which my mom has called me since I was little),’ reported People.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry paid tribute to both the Queen and Princess Diana with their daughter’s name, but it seems there’s a nod to the duchess’ mother Doria Ragland (pictured together) too

Journalist Afua Adom also insisted Baby Sussex’s name was ‘not just about being named after the Queen’ when appearing on Good Morning Britain today.

Joined by royal biographer Angela Levin, who was critical of the moniker, the journalist said: ‘Lilibet is such a pretty name, it’s such a cute name. It is not just about being named after the Queen.

‘It is a bit of a nod to Meghan’s mother Doria as well, because Meghan’s mother’s nickname for her is flower, hence why we’ve got Lili in there for Lilibet.’

But host Susanna Reid wasn’t convinced, saying: ‘It is a bit of a stretch.’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are joined by her mother, Doria Ragland, in May 2019 as they show their son to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle following his birth

Sweet family nickname for Queen that inspired Harry and Meghan’s name for their baby daughter

Lilibet – the Queen’s family nickname – was first used when Princess Elizabeth was just a toddler and unable to pronounce her own name properly. 

The Duke of Edinburgh also referred to his wife as Lilibet, writing to his mother in law after their wedding: ‘Lilibet is the only “thing” in the world which is absolutely real to me.’

Harry and Meghan’s new baby daughter will be known as Lili. 

 

Since Meghan and Harry moved to California last year, the Duchess of Sussex has spent more time with her mother, who lives nearby in Los Angeles. 

It’s thought the grandmother frequently visits her grandson Archie and his parents in Montecito.

On Sunday, the delighted Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced: ‘On June 4, we were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, Lili.

‘She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe. 

‘Thank you for your continued kindness and support during this very special time for our family.’

Lili – who is eighth in line to the throne – was born in Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California, a private facility where births cost up to £20,000.

Omid Scobie, a journalist favoured by Harry and Meghan, tweeted that the couple would ‘not be sharing a photograph at this time’ of Lili and that they were now on ‘parental leave’. 

He said the couple’s office was encouraging anyone who wanted to send gifts to support organisations working for women and girls. 

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