Meghan Markle's estranged sister has hit back at Prince Harry's claim that the royals are the family the actress 'never had'.
Harry told Radio 4 listeners his fiancee had a 'fantastic' Christmas at Sandringham in Norfolk, and that his family 'loved having' the 36-year-old Suits star.
However, Miss Markle's half-sister Samantha has lashed out at the 33-year-old royal's comments and said loved ones 'always' supported her growing up but she was 'too busy' for them.
Meghan Markle's estranged sister Samantha (right) has hit back at Prince Harry's claim that the royals are the family the actress 'never had'. Left, the prince of Radio 4's Today show
Samantha, who is related to the actress through their father Thomas, fumed on Twitter: 'Actually she [Meghan] has a large family who were always there with her and for her.
'Our household was very normal and when dad and Doria divorced, we all made it so it was like she had two houses.
'No one was estranged, she was just too busy.
'Meg's family (our family) is complete with sister, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the glue of our family, our amazing completely self-sacrificing father. She always had this family... Marrying merely extends it.
'She has a large family. She always did. Our dad is amazing and completely self sacrificing. We made it so that she had two houses. How fun it was!'
Prince Harry (pictured with Miss Markle in Sandringham on Christmas Day) said they had a 'fantastic' Christmas together
Samantha's comments came after Prince Harry revealed how he and his fiancee enjoyed festive period, as he guest-edited the Today programme.
He explained how the couple stayed with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who live in Anmer Hall in Norfolk, while visiting the Queen at nearby Sandringham.
Harry said: 'The family loved having her there.
'There's always that family part of Christmas (where) there's always that work element there as well, and I think together we had an amazing time.
'We had great fun staying with my brother and sister-in-law and running round with the kids. Christmas was fantastic.'
Presenter Sarah Montague asked the prince if there were any family traditions that had to be explained to Miss Markle and he replied: 'Oh plenty, I think we've got one of the biggest families that I know of, and every family is complex as well.
'No look, she's done an absolutely amazing job. She's getting in there and it's the family I suppose that she's never had.'
Miss Markle's mother Doria Ragland, 61, and father Thomas Markle Sr, 73, divorced in 1987 and Mr Markle Sr has still not met his daughter's fiance.
But her half-sister has revealed her elusive father will want to walk her down the aisle next year and her nephew will reportedly 'gatecrash' the ceremony if he isn't invited.
Samantha - who describes herself as a writer, a mental health counsellor and a 'blabbermouth' - has a murky relationship with her half sister.
Based in Florida, she is 17 years older than Miss Markle and has been an outspoken critic of her since news of her relationship with Harry broke.
In interviews she has described Miss Markle as a 'shallow social climber' and claimed she shunned her family since making it in Hollywood.
The 33-year-old was guest editing the Radio 4 Today programme and was asked about how he celebrated Christmas with his family
'The royal family would be appalled by what she's done to her own family,' Samantha said.
She also claimed Miss Markle had barely spoken to her since she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis nearly a decade ago.
Samantha is also rumoured to be writing a 'slamming tell-all' book, called The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister, leading to accusations that she is cashing in on her sister.
However, she has defended the title and claimed she has always looked out for her younger sister.
‘The title is a mockery of the media,’ Samantha told the Daily Mail in November.
‘It wasn’t me who called Meg “pushy”, it was the tabloid newspapers. She is not pushy. The book isn’t going to be negative — it’s a warm, witty, honouring book — unfortunately, the negative sing-song has gone round the world.'
Samantha Markle during an interview with Good Morning Britain earlier this year
Despite her recent tweets, Samantha has previously alleged Miss Markle suffered racism from her brothers and sisters.
Older members of the Markle family, she claimed, were opposed to the relationship between her father Thomas, who is white, and Miss Markle's mother, Doria, who is black.
And when baby Meghan was born, they were distinctly unimpressed.
‘There were a couple of family members from older generations who were not evolved and made pretty horrible comments when my sister was born,’ Samantha said.
‘There was certainly the use of the “N word”, which I hate.
‘You are talking about people who were raised in an environment where this kind of bigotry was the norm. But the rest of our house was colour-blind — her childhood was magical. We made it fun for her.’
Samantha, who was told the news of her sister's engagement by a friend who had read about in a magazine, has claimed there was no falling out with Miss Markle.
However, her words have been less than kind about the actress or her expected future brother-in-law.
She once pointed out that Meghan, whose first husband had reddish hair, ‘had a soft spot for gingers’.
Samantha has since disputed this.
She told the Mail: ‘I may have said that our father has auburn hair, so perhaps that is her type, but I was not disrespectful.’
She added: ‘I feel awful,’ she says. ‘I’m sure I made some comments that could have been put in a different way.’
Unable to work due to her MS, Samantha has suffered financially, as did her father after his career as an award-winning TV lighting director ended.
Both were declared bankrupt and Samantha challenged her sister on her lack of financial support.
‘We did have a conversation once. I felt she should help my dad when he was having a hard time. But maybe he wouldn’t have wanted her help.
‘People have said: “You are being stupid. She could call you and be more supportive”, but I can’t demand or presume to know what she could squeeze in.
‘But I was honest about my feelings. I felt that we had drifted apart. In retrospect, when I search my heart, maybe she just got very busy.
‘These things happen in families. And when you are in a high-profile family, these situations are brought into big, dramatic focus.’
Meet Harry's future in-laws... and the rest of Meghan's family
Meghan Markle is close to her 'free-spirited' mother and her 'thoughtful, inspiring' father. The actress has written lovingly of her relationship with both.
But it is the star's extended family which has hit the headlines, with one newspaper describing it as a 'motley collection of individuals who, between them, have a long record of boozing, bust-ups and bankruptcies'.
From a gun crime arrest to a Twitter rant accusing the Suits actress of hypocrisy, Markle's step-relations have already proved controversial so far.
Here's a look at Prince Harry's future in-laws:
MOTHER: Doria Ragland
Miss Markle has described her mother as a 'free-spirited clinical therapist'.
Writing on her lifestyle blog, she told how her mother took her to visit the slums of Jamaica and to see poverty in Mexico when she was just 10.
'My mother raised me to be a global citizen, with eyes open to sometimes harsh realities,' Miss Markle revealed.
Ms Ragland, who is African-American, met Miss Markle's father, Thomas Markle, on the set of the US soap General Hospital, where he worked as a lighting director when she was a temp in the studio.
Miss Markle wrote: 'I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques.'
They divorced when Miss Markle was six. Although she lived with her mother in Los Angeles, Miss Markle also spent a great deal of time with her father.
Ms Ragland has worked at a day centre for adults with memory loss and as a yoga therapist.
Ms Ragland, who filed for bankruptcy in 2002, has kept her daughter's counsel despite the press interest.
She was mentioned in the Kensington Palace statement which attacked the media over its treatment of Markle, saying that her mother was 'having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door'.
Ms Ragland also joined her daughter and Harry to watch the Invictus Games closing ceremony in Toronto in September.
FATHER: Thomas Wayne Markle
Thomas Markle is a former TV lighting director who worked on shows such as hit sitcom Married... with Children and popular US drama General Hospital.
He won two Emmys for his team's work on General Hospital and was nominated for countless others.
Miss Markle is his only child from his second marriage to Doria Ragland. He has two older children from his first marriage to Roslyn Markle.
He lives a quiet life in Mexico and filed for bankruptcy in 2016 after reports he failed to pay his debts.
Miss Markle is close to her father, who is of English and German descent, and has described him as hardworking and caring and believing in her 'grand dream' of becoming an actress.
She has paid tribute to 'the blood, sweat and tears this man (who came from so little in a small town of Pennsylvania, where Christmas stockings were filled with oranges, and dinners were potatoes and spam) invested in my future so that I could grow up to have so much'.
She added: 'It's safe to say I have always been a daddy's girl - he taught me how to fish, to appreciate Busby Berkeley films, write thank you notes, and spend my weekends in Little Tokyo eating chicken teriyaki with vegetable tempura.'
She recalled how one Christmas he created a Barbie family for her when they were only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls
Her new collection of dolls had 'a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each color. My dad had taken the sets apart and customized my family'.
When Markle was confronted with a tick box form to fill in at school about her ethnicity and found she did not fit in to just one category, she revealed: 'My dad said words that will stay with me forever: 'Draw your own box'.'
HALF SISTER: Samantha Grant
Samantha Grant - also known as Samantha Markle - describes herself as a writer, a mental health counsellor and a 'blabbermouth'.
She is Miss Markle's half sister from her father's first marriage. A one-time actress and model, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and uses a wheelchair.
Based in Florida, she is 17 years older than Markle and sells jewellery to raise money to fund the feature films she writes.
Twice-divorced, she has three children - Ashleigh, Christopher and Noelle.
Like her father, she filed for bankruptcy and is estranged from her mother Roslyn - Thomas Markle's first wife - and brother Thomas Jr.
Ms Grant has been an outspoken critic of Miss Markle since news of her relationship with Harry broke, describing her in interviews as a 'shallow social climber' and claiming she shunned her since making it in Hollywood.
'The royal family would be appalled by what she's done to her own family,' she said.
She said Markle had barely spoken to her she was diagnosed with MS nearly a decade ago. She later maintained she never made the critical comments of her half sibling.
Ms Grant claimed she raised Miss Markle for 12 years while she was growing up in California but her ex-husband, Scott Rasmussen, disputed this.
While she has described Markle as 'very beautiful and conservative, very real, very giving', she has also attacked her on Twitter for her lifestyle website The Tig, which Markle has since ended.
'There is so much more to focus on in the world than shoes and handbags,' she said, accusing Miss Markle of 'hypocrisy' for presenting herself as a humanitarian activist.
When Markle wrote an article for Time magazine about period poverty across the world for International Women's Day, Ms Grant retorted: 'But what did she donate to them to make real change come about? Money for toilets, maxi pads, or just a photo op?'
As rumours Harry was engaged to Markle mounted, Ms Grant, in a television interview with Good Morning Britain, denied there was a rift between her and the actress, describing her as 'absolutely lovely', 'very strong', very graceful' - and also 'very lively'.
She insisted she was not writing a 'slamming tell-all' book, but confirmed the work was called The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister.
HALF BROTHER: Thomas Markle Junior
Thomas Markle Junior, 50, has been bankrupt once, divorced twice and faced trial on gun charges before the case was dropped.
He was arrested in January 2017 for allegedly holding a gun to his girlfriend Darlene Blount's head during a drunken argument.
Charged with unlawful use of a dangerous weapon and menacing domestic violence, he faced jailed for up to five years if convicted. The charges were later dismissed. He apologised for his actions and said he was seeking help for his drinking problems.
Mr Markle Jr is not thought to be in contact with his famous half-sister but has given interviews about her and shared family photos with the media.
He claimed Harry had met his girlfriend's father Thomas, but older sister Samantha denied this, tweeting: 'My father hates Tom Jr. And will not talk with him. The articles are B.S. My dad has NOT met Harry.'
Thomas has two sons, Tyler and Thomas Markle III, with his ex-wife, florist Tracy Dooley, whom he divorced in 2001. His second marriage, to Iohannes Rawha, ended in 2009.
FATHER'S FIRST WIFE - Roslyn Markle
Rosyln Markle is Thomas Markle's first wife and mother to Samantha Grant and Thomas Jr
Roslyn has said of her estranged daughter: 'Everything she has said about Meghan is a lie.'
The 71-year-old lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has been complimentary about Miss Markle.
'Meghan is very pretty, very nice, very polished and very classy. I never hear anything but good about her from my son Thomas (Jr),' she said.
She also has a younger son, Bobby Lucero.
That's quite urban for Radio 4! Prince Harry gets his edition of the Today programme off to a surprising start with a GRIME song at 6.10am
Prince Harry started his Radio 4 Today guest editing session by playing a Grime song.
The 33-year-old has taken the helm of the popular BBC radio show and will be the guest editor from 6am to 9am this morning.
And he began the show by playing a track produced by Nottingham-based charity Community Recording Studios, which he has 'close ties' to.
The charity works with young people on preventing violence and a song called Step Out of Bed by the Ivy Crew was played live on air.
The station's flagship news show also includes an interview by the prince of former US President Barack Obama, who shares his memories of the day he left office and his hopes for his post-presidential life.
The engagement comes after Harry stepped out with new fiancee Meghan Markle as the royals gathered in Sandringham for Christmas.
The conversation with Obama features the former president talking about his plans to focus on cultivating the next generation of leadership through the Obama Foundation.
Prince Harry started his guest editing session on Radio 4 Today programme by playing a Grime song by a charity
Harry, who was recently at the inaugural summit of the Obama Foundation in Chicago, has forged a strong bond with the Obamas, through his work with servicemen and his trips to America.
At this year's Invictus Games, Mr Obama reportedly quizzed Harry on his romance with Meghan Markle as they watched the wheelchair basketball.
The palace said the full interview will be made available as a podcast. Today finished at 9am this morning.
'My darling boy, it makes me very proud to think that you understand': Prince Charles's touching tribute to Harry as his son tells him he 'picks his brains more now than ever' in Today programme interview
Prince Charles today called Prince Harry his 'darling boy' after his son told him he 'picks his brains more now than ever' during a radio interview.
The 33-year-old was guest editing Radio 4's Today programme and affectionately called his father 'pa' and thanked him for 'allowing' him to interview him for the show.
And during the four-minute chat, the Prince of Wales said it was 'amazing' that he had been listening to him regarding climate change.
The pair started talking about the planet and the 69-year-old joked that people are finally waking up to his 'dotty' opinions about the environment.
Prince Harry (right) interviewed his father Prince Charles (left) today and told him that he 'picks his brain more than ever'
When asked by his son to pick one issue to focus on, Charles said over the years there have been a 'whole lot' of things he has tried to focus on that he thought needed attention.
He said: 'Not everyone else did, but maybe now some years later they are beginning to realise that what I was trying to say may not have been as dotty as they thought.
'The issue really which has to go on being focused on, big time I think, is this one around the whole issue of climate change.
'Which is now, whether we like it or not, is the biggest threat multiplier we face because what is happening now is what I was dreading.
'Which is we are having to deal all the time with the symptoms that are springing up all round the world, and they are diverting us off down all these different channels to try and deal with ghastly conflicts and humanitarian and natural disasters, and goodness knows what else.
'But at the root of it all, much of it, is climate change which is causing untold horrors in different parts of the world.'
When he started the interview, Prince Harry referred to his father as 'pa' and said it was 'very nice' to see him.
He later asked him: 'Moving on, I know the two of us could end up talking about this for hours and hours and hours of which we always do but not with a microphone in front of us.
'But do you feel optimistic about the future, for the world that William, myself, your grandchildren and everyone else out there is going to inherit.'
Presenter Sarah Montague (right) later asked the prince (centre) how Christmas Day with his fiancee was and he said it was 'fantastic'
His father replied: 'Well my dear boy if I must say so, the fact you're saying this, gives me enormous optimism. I haven't obviously put you off when banging on all these years.
'Because if you think that, that is really encouraging. What I've tried to do all these years is to make sure that I can ensure that you and that your children, my grandchildren, also everyone else's grandchildren, have a world fit to live in.'
Harry later told him: 'I totally see it and I totally understand it because of all these years of conversations that we've been having and I do end up picking your brains more now than I ever have done.'
His father added: 'Well darling boy it makes me very proud to think that you understand.'
Harry then joked: 'And that I'm listening?'
'Well that's even more amazing', his father said.
When Barack met Harry: Obama warns world leaders against using social media to sow division (but DOESN'T name Trump) and reveals his favourite Royal is William
Former US president Barack Obama warned against using social media in a divisive way during an interview with Prince Harry.
Mr Obama, 56, did not mention his successor in the White House by name, but many will see the comments as a thinly veiled rebuke aimed at Donald Trump.
He was being questioned by Prince Harry, 33, as part of the royal's guest editorship of BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme.
During the interview, Mr Obama said there was a danger of people becoming stuck in their biases due to social media use.
Prince Harry interviewed Barack Obama (pictured) and the clip was played on Radio 4's Today programme this morning
The ex-president said: 'The question, I think, really has to do with, how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn't lead to a Balkanisation of our society, but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground?
'And, I'm not sure government can legislate that, but what I do believe is that all of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet.
'One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be just cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.'
President Trump has drawn widespread criticism for the way he uses Twitter to attack opponents, and condemn what he brands 'fake news'.
During the same interview, Obama said he prefers Prince William over his brother while he was getting grilled by the prince.
Prince Harry's interview with Obama was played just after 8.30am.
At the end of the 40-minute chat, the fifth in line to the throne fired questions at the 56-year-old and asked him who he preferred, 'William or Harry'.
He joked: 'William, right now.'
Harry also asked him which popular US television show he preferred out of legal drama Suits - the programme which his fiancee Meghan Markle made her name - or the Good Wife.
And to his delight he answered: 'Suits, obviously' with Harry replying: 'Great, great, great answer.'
In his guest editing slot, Harry also focused on climate change, the military and mental health.
During the 'lightning round' of questions, The former president declined to say whether he wears boxers or briefs.
But he was willing to say he prefers Aretha Franklin to Tina Turner - 'Aretha is the best,' he said of the Queen of Soul - and favors retired basketball star Michael Jordan over current star LeBron James.
He also said he prefers 'The Queen' to the band Queen to which Harry said: 'Another great answer.'
President Donald Trump (pictured) has drawn widespread criticism for the way he uses Twitter to attack opponents
Boxing champion Anthony Joshua (pictured with Prince Harry) was also interviewed this morning
Obama also told the prince he felt serene on the day he left the White House despite feeling important work remained unfinished.
He said it was 'hugely liberating' to be able to set his own agenda in the morning and to have the time to talk with his wife, Michelle, now that he is no longer president.
Both men said the interview, recorded in Canada in September, was Obama's first since leaving the presidency in January.
Obama, speaking about his eight years in the Oval Office, said: 'I miss the work itself because it was fascinating.'
He did not mention his successor, President Donald Trump, but did say people in government should be careful in their use of social media.
Obama also revealed he is 'obsessed' with helping to train the next generation of leaders and said the world is in many ways healthier and wealthier than it has ever been.
At the end of the show, Harry would not say whether Obama will be invited to his May wedding to American actress Meghan Markle, saying the guest list hadn't been drawn up yet.
Boxing champion Anthony Joshua makes a cheeky offer to be Harry's best man
World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has offered to be Prince Harry's best man, after appearing on radio at the royal's request.
Joshua was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme when Harry took over the current affairs show on Wednesday as guest editor.
He appeared at the request of the prince, who boxed during his time in the Army, and was interviewed in the sports round-up segment about his career.
The champion boxer later tweeted a picture of himself and the prince with the caption: 'Back to work this morning! Congrats on everything this year & no pressure on the R4 guest edit! P.s. Need a best man?'
Harry will marry fiancee Meghan Markle on May 19 but it is widely believed he will choose his older brother the Duke of Cambridge to be his best man.
William showed his affection for Harry by picking him as his best man when he married in 2011, dispensing with the tradition that male members of the royal family have one or more 'supporters'.
Harry has previously confessed he used boxing to get out his frustrations when he was coming to terms with the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and still uses the sport to de-stress.