Is Meghan Markle Fulfilling Princess Diana’s Vision?

Does the world have a new people’s princess? While no one could replace Princess Diana, some royal watchers wonder if her daughter in law is following in her footsteps.

Princess Diana was crowned ‘The People’s Princess’ thanks to her incredible popularity with the public. She constantly encouraged social progress and equality. Many think that Meghan Markle, the wife of Prince Harry, is the next royal to take up that charge.  

Both Princess Diana and Meghan Markle are rule-breakers

Princess Diana at a dinner at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Princess Diana | Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Both Duchess Meghan and Princess Diana pick and choose the royal rules they follow. The Duchess of Sussex isn’t royal by birth, or even British by birth. She doesn’t subscribe to all the rules and protocols of the royal family. The duchess takes what works for her, and does her own thing when it doesn’t. 

Former Royal Protection Officer, Ken Wharf, thinks that’s exactly what Princess Diana would want. 

“Diana would have liked that her son had married an American divorcee, a woman of mixed heritage. I can see Diana putting two fingers up to the monarchy on the strength of that one saying, ‘This is fantastic, this is the future of this family, this is the way it has to be.”

Princess Diana and Meghan Markle share similar views on social issues

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While in Johannesburg today, The Duchess of Sussex visited Victoria Yards, which celebrates the power of community, bringing local artisans and “makers” together to rebuild, support and learn from each other on a holistic level. It was an exceptional afternoon where The Duchess had the chance to connect with the children and founders of the phenomenal programme for kids’ development Timbuktu in The Valley. She was also struck by the local denim designer who founded eponymous brand Tshepo who shared this info about the logo for his line: “The crown on my jeans represents the three ladies who raised me. Enjoy wearing this crown.” Such a beautiful and touching sentiment! Artists, artisans, sculptors, metal workers and carpenters are all part of the fabric of Victoria Yards, but it also utilizes the power of The DICE programme which supports several other local organisations in their work with marginalised youth and women. These include: 94 Colours (run by The Duchess’ guides for the day, Hector and Sibusiso), CDP (a development programme for young unemployed and marginalised women that provides training to start creative enterprises), Enke (rebuilds the confidence and self-belief of unemployed youth through training and practical experience), 26’10 South (an architecture firm designing a local youth centre) and ReimagiNation (works with local secondary school students to create a social and creative enterprising mindset). Stay tuned for more updates from this special afternoon… #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica

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History will never forget the image of Princess Diana holding hands with a man infected with HIV. At the time, little was known about the disease, and the common perception was that even touching someone infected could transmit it. Princess Diana didn’t believe the fear-mongering. Instead, she focused on science and humanity. 

Princess Diana was purposefully photographed holding hands with someone infected with HIV to change public perception. It worked. Her actions brought attention to an epidemic that was misunderstood, and under-addressed. She undoubtedly changed the course of history with one picture. 

In just a few short years as a member of the royal family, Duchess Meghan has started down the same path. She uses her influence to lift up the voices of others. Her Vogue cover is a great example of how she’s using her voice. In featuring them, she made the voices of her contributors louder and brought attention to their issues. It’s definitely something Diana would approve of. 

Princess Diana and Meghan Markle seem to be similar mothers

Princess Diana put a lot of effort into making sure her sons grew up as ‘normal’ as possible. Prince William did not grow up knowing he would be heir to the throne. Yes, both boys lived privileged lives, but Princess Diana did her best to keep them grounded.

It probably worked. Both Prince William and Prince Harry are incredibly popular with the general public. They’re relatable, and people like that. That wouldn’t have happened without Princess Diana’s efforts.

Baby Archie is still very young, but Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry seem committed to giving him a normal life, just like Princess Diana gave her sons. The British tabloids have thrown a few tantrums due to the fact that they can never get a glimpse of Archie — even his christening was private.

Baby Archie’s parents are working extra hard to keep him out of the public eye, so he can grow up like a normal little boy. They’ve been criticized for it, but that doesn’t seem to bother them. To them, Archie’s well being is more important than public approval. It’s definitely something they learned from his grandmother, Princess Diana. 

Princess Diana was taken too soon. Her death was a senseless tragedy, and the world is clearly not over it even more than 20 years later. While Markle can’t replace Diana — not that she’s trying to — we hope she’ll use her public influence for good, just as Princess Diana did. Duchess Meghan is still a new royal, but if she continues down this path, there’s a good chance she’ll change history herself.