Princess Diana tragically passed away 22 years ago but her indelible legacy lives on — and a large part of that legacy is obviously her now-grown sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. So, it’s only natural that people look to the men’s brides and draw comparisons to the women who hold their hearts. What would Diana have loved about these women her sons chose? What common ground would they have connected over?
Much has been made over the years about similarities between Diana and William’s wife Kate Middleton. But how about Harry’s bride Meghan Markle? She might not seem to share as much in common with Lady Di but, in actuality, the two are more alike than you may think. Harry even suggested as much when, in 2017, he told the BBC that his mother and Meghan would have been “thick as thieves” and that Diana would have been “over the moon” that her son decided to marry the American star.
So, in that vein, we decided to do a little digging into the myriad things Diana and Meghan have in common. And, to be honest, we were surprised by just how many reasons the women are alike. Here are some of the highlights.
While William and Harry have always been famous in their own right, their mom commanded a sort of celebrity that was unheard of in the royal family. Her wedding to Prince Charles was viewed by 750 million people. She danced in the White House with John Travolta. In short, Hollywood loved her. And the public really loved her.
It’s certainly not difficult to connect the dots to Meghan here. The Duchess of Sussex made her living as an actress prior to marrying Harry, most recently starring in the show Suits. And her fame from that time followed her into the royal family — she is often celebrated as the American actress or the “American princess.”
Alas, with that level of celebrity comes a dark underside: relentless attention. Sadly, that attention often looked like unfair scrutiny for Diana (especially via British media0, as well as being hounded by the paparazzi. Meghan seems to be falling victim to the same pattern, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by Harry.
“I think being part of this family, in this role, in this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” Harry said in the ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, alluding to the paparazzi who hounded first his mother and now his wife. “So, in that respect, it’s the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best.”
Quote-unquote broken homes
Diana and Meghan are both children of divorce. Diana’s parents John and Frances Spencer went through a high-profile, acrimonious split when she was six years old (the divorce wasn’t finalized until she was eight). Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, and father, Thomas Markle, divorced when their daughter was two.
There’s absolutely no denying that Princess Diana was one of the most influential figures in fashion during the 20th century. If she wore a designer, everyone scrambled to buy a piece by the same one. Countless women copied her hairstyle. She has shaped a ton of fashion trends. The same can essentially be said for Meghan now. Need we remind you that, within hours of it appearing in photos, the burgundy dress she wore to her first Invictus Games with Harry sold out? The media has dubbed this “The Meghan Effect” — the star’s tendency to influence sartorial trends and buying spikes.
Passion for philanthropy
She wasn’t called the “Princess of the People” for nothing! Princess Di made it her life’s mission to help those less fortunate than herself, and she’s got the extensive charity work to prove it. Similarly, Meghan has already established that she, too, is a true humanitarian. Whether she’s greeting underprivileged children, serving as a global ambassador for World Vision or some other form of charity, Meghan’s heart for service is possibly the one thing that does seem to always remind fans of her late mother-in-law.
A willingness to engage (& embrace!)
It’s hard not to love this about Meghan: She’s a hugger. And a hand-shaker. Simply put, she believes in a warm embrace to help bridge the gap between people. Not deterred by any possible royal etiquette breaches, the Duchess of Sussex is often photographed literally reaching out to someone. According to former royal butler Grant Harrold, Diana was the same way — and was really the first of the royal family to act in that manner. “You look at the energy of Princess Diana and she was very much somebody that would hug people. She was famous for it, wasn’t she?” Harrold told E! News in 2018. “None of the rest of the royal family hugged. It just wasn’t the done thing.”
An all-girls school education
Make no mistake: Diana and Meghan did not grow up similarly. Diana’s world was very royals-adjacent, whereas Meghan had a relatively humble upbringing. However, both women enjoyed educations at private girls-only schools. When Diana was nine, she began attending the boarding school Riddlesworth Hall. As for Meghan, she attended a Catholic girls’ school in California by the name of Immaculate Heart High School.
Their “beauty mark”
Unless you’ve paid close attention to close-ups before, you may not have realized this similarity. But the mole above Meghan’s lip on her left side is practically in the exact same spot as one Diana had. Is it a small and superficial similarity? Sure. But it’s pretty cool, too.
Click here to see more photos of the late Princess Di with young sons Prince Harry and Prince William.