With everything going on regarding the royal family, there have been quite a few comparisons between Meghan Markle and the late Princess Diana. And for good reason. The two, while very different, are also so similar. They experienced things similarly and even dealt with those things in ways reminiscent of each other. Let’s take a look at some things Meghan and Diana have in common.
The Same Bracelet
The tennis bracelet Meghan wore to the tell-all interview with Oprah once belonged to Princess Diana. In fact, the Cartier bracelet was worn for a sentimental reason and carried a special symbolism since it belonged to the late princess. This bracelet was the one Meghan and Harry selected to use stones from for Meghan’s engagement ring. Meghan added that wearing the bracelet helped her keep Princess Diana’s memory alive when all eyes were fixed on her in the interview.
The Feeling of Isolation
Entering the royal family seems to be something no one can truly prepare for unless they grew up as a part of the monarchy. Both Meghan and Diana entered the family naively, believing their lives to be something out of a fairytale. Meghan said, “I didn’t fully understand what the job was, what does it mean to be a working royal, what do you do?”. She continued, “when the perception and reality are different things and you’re being judged on the perception but you are living the reality of it, there’s a complete misalignment and there’s no way to explain that to people.” In her 1995 interview, Diana was asked if she was left alone. She answered: “…it was isolating, but it was also a situation where you couldn’t indulge in feeling sorry for yourself: you had to either sink or swim. And you had to learn that very fast.”
It’s a known fact that both Princess Diana and Meghan have gotten the shorter end of the stick when it came to British media, to say the least. In Meghan’s case, it steered into racist territory and took a dark turn quickly. As for Princess Diana, the paparazzi was known to invade her privacy time and time again. The media’s treatment of Meghan is one of the main reasons she and Harry left their royal roles. According to Harry, there was a “lack of support and lack of understanding” from the media and the royal family. Princess Diana spoke of the same thing, saying, “The most daunting aspect was the media attention…we were told when we got engaged that the media would go quietly, and it didn’t”. She said, “Then it started to focus very much on me, and I seemed to be on the front of a newspaper every single day, which is an isolating experience”. Eventually, this led to Princess Diana’s death as her car crashed when the paparazzi chased her.
Meghan and Diana have both been silenced by the monarchy. Coincidentally, these two women have strong voices, too. Once they’ve distanced themselves from the royal family, they took to television to have revealing tell-all interviews. Diana spoke about how she hoped she’d lead by example and speak up about her own experiences. She said, “Maybe there’s a lot of women…who suffer on the same level but in a different environment, who are unable to stand up for themselves because their self-esteem is cut into two”. As for Meghan, she spoke about the relief of telling her own truth: “As an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people expect it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say, ‘Yes, I’m ready to talk”.
Another piece of jewelry Harry gave Meghan from his mother’s collection is the famed emerald-cut aquamarine ring his mother commissioned from the British jeweler Asprey, using a stone her friend Lucia Flecha de Lima gave her following her separation from Prince Charles. Meghan wore the ring to her wedding reception. It’s almost as if she had sealed her own fate as the princess who’d ultimately break with the royal family. It was almost like this ring was the ring of freedom. Harry and Meghan have aligned themselves to Diana’s legacy. As the one who almost got out, it looks like they’re carrying on her story – the part about freedom and escape. Only this time, they’re getting a happy ending.
Before these women joined the royal family, they each led their own independent lives. Despite her aristocratic heritage, Princess Diana was working low-paying jobs and living in an apartment with three other women before marrying Prince Charles. She worked as an assistant kindergarten teacher in London. Meghan, on the other hand, had established her acting career before marrying Prince Harry. She was most famous for playing in the legal drama, Suits, while also maintaining her lifestyle blog, The Tig.
While Princess Diana grew up in an aristocratic family, she had said she had no idea what joining the royal family would entail. This was even with her knowledge of the royal family and after Prince Charles dated her older sister. Meghan, on the other hand, grew up knowing next to nothing about the royal family. She too spoke about how she didn’t know what such a job would entail and how it would be. These two went in blind.
Making a Difference
Both Diana and Meghan have shown their passion for helping others in any way they could. When asked about her future after her split from Charles, Diana said, “I’d like to be an ambassador for this country”. She continued, “I’ve been in a privileged position for 15 years. I’ve got tremendous knowledge about people and how to communicate. I’ve learned that I’ve got it, and I want to use it.” Meghan, on the other hand, has said she hopes she and Harry could continue using their platform for positive change, even after their departure from the royal family.
Behind-The-Scenes Wedding Drama
In the weeks before Meghan and Harry’s wedding, the couple was drowning in press coverage about Meghan’s father not attending the wedding. Additionally, Meghan recently opened up about an incident in which Kate made her cry. “A few days before the wedding, she was upset about … flower girl dresses, and it made me cry, and it really hurt my feelings,” she said. Princess Diana also spoke about the time before her and Prince Charles’s wedding. She said, “This ridiculous [reporter] said, ‘Are you in love?’ I thought, ‘What a thick question.’ So I said, ‘Yes, of course, we are,’ and Charles turned around and said, ‘Whatever love means.’ And that threw me completely. I thought, ‘What a strange answer.’ It traumatized me”.
Metal Health Struggles
Both Meghan and Diana suffered from depression while in the public eye. “I was unwell with post-natal depression, which no one ever discusses,” Princess Diana said. “I never had depression in my life. But then when I analyzed it I could see that the changes I’d made in the last year had all caught up with me, and my body had said: ‘We want a rest.’ I received a great deal of treatment, but I knew in myself that actually what I needed was space and time to adapt to all the different roles that had come my way.” Additionally, Princess Diana struggled with “bulimia for a number of years”. In her interview with Oprah, Meghan opened up about her mental health struggles while pregnant with Archie: “I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it. And I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. … I went to the institution, and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. I said, ‘I’ve never felt this way before.'”