What Could Meghan Markle’s Life Look Like Had She Not Left the Royal Family? This Swedish Princess Offers a Clue

In early 2020, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry shocked the world when they announced they had decided to step down as senior royals. According many sources, a large part of why the Sussexes chose to distance themselves from the royal family is because of the incessant criticism Meghan was receiving. In order to get more peace from the press, the couple decided to live life as more private citizens.

However, was stepping down as royals really the best option for Meghan and Harry? How could Meghan’s royal life turn out had ‘Sussexit’ not happened? In fact, there is a Swedish royal—Princess Sofia—who went through a similar predicament as Meghan. Instead of distancing herself from royal life, though, Sofia took a different approach.

Princess Sofia of Sweden received a lot of criticism for her past before becoming a royal

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Sofia and Meghan have quite a bit in common. They grew up in middle class families in their respective countries—Sofia is from Sweden and Meghan is from the United States. Then, both of them decided to pursue careers in the entertainment industry.

For example, they both became TV stars. While Meghan was an actress on the series Suits, Sofia was a reality show contestant. In 2005, Sofia appeared on the Swedish version of the program Paradise Hotel. Sofia ended up making it to the finals of the show.

Additionally, both Sofia and Meghan took on modeling jobs as well. Sofia, especially, was a glamour model whose photos appeared in a men’s magazine.

In 2010, it was announced Sofia was dating Prince Carl Philip, the only son of Sweden’s reigning king. Like many women in relationships with princes, Sofia’s life suddenly got dissected by the press, and she was criticized by a number of people in her country for not fitting into the traditional image of a prince’s girlfriend.

Princess Sofia did not think about leaving the royal family

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Sofia and Carl Philip got married in 2015, and the couple has two children together: Prince Alexander (born 2016) and Prince Gabriel (born 2017).

In 2018, Sofia acknowledged in an interview that things were “tough” for her when her relationship with Carl Philip became public.

“People had opinions about me and my relationship, and more,” she said, according to the Daily Mail. “It was very tough. People had comments on everything possible, on what I do and how I look.”

However, looking back, Sofia shared she did not think about leaving the royal family to pursue a more private life. As reported by Royal Central, Sofia was recently asked about whether she would “do a Megxit,” and the princess responded, “No. Not really. I think I have found such a fantastic balance, and I really see it as positive that I have made it through these stormy years. It is such a huge advantage, in that we have the opportunity to stand a little in both worlds.”

Although Sofia was not widely received when the public first learned about her, over the years she has won people over with her dedication to charity work in Sweden and around the world.

For example, before becoming a royal, Sofia co-founded the organization Project Playground, which helps underprivileged kids in several African countries. In the past few months, Sofia has also been volunteering at a hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, to help medical workers battle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Critics believe Meghan Markle’s life could have become like Princess Sofia’s

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Critics who have looked at Sofia’s life believe Meghan could have forged herself a similar path had she not given up on royal life too soon.

“Princess Sofia of Sweden had every intention of making her royal commitment work,” wrote Aubrey Hansen on CCN.com. “Meghan Markle could have accomplished the same had she possessed a similar level of staying power.”

Meanwhile, Daniela Elser wrote on News.com.au, “Look at the early royal years of not only Sofia but Kate Duchess of Cambridge, Sophie Countess of Wessex and even Princess Mary [of Denmark] and they are united in that they all faced rocky, arduous ‘apprenticeships.’” … [Meghan] could have seen that suffering the slings and arrows of a judgmental press and public was sadly part and parcel of being a new palace recruit. That and that in each of these women’s cases, this period of adversity was very much finite. In short, this too shall pass.”