As a week has passed since Meaghan Markle’s groundbreaking interview with Oprah aired on CBS, it has left both myself and much of the world with some thoughts. Aside from the more pressing points revealed in her interview, such as the rampant racism in the royal family and the disregard of mental health by the Firm, what else stuck with me was the way in which Prince Harry is aiming to be everything that his mother, the late Princess Diana needed, and was not given.
After watching the full almost two hour long interview Monday afternoon, I switched to Twitter to read people’s takes on it, which is how I learned that the tennis bracelet Markle was wearing had belonged to Diana originally. That is when I began to make the connections between the two.
Princess Diana was known as the People’s Princess. Not born into royalty, Diana knew the needs of the people and made strides to meet those over the needs of the Palace, and this cemented her place within the hearts of the British people, but also cemented her place as an outsider in the eyes of the royal family. From her famous Australian tour that put her into good graces with the Commonwealth, to her unabashed support of those suffering with AIDS, to her countless charity events and donations, to her desire to be a good mother above all else, Diana earned her spot in history and culture as an incredible public servant. However, in the end, this was not enough—her husband and his family massively failed her.
In a similar vein, Meghan Markle exhibits these same traits. Before leaving her formal role within the royal family, Markle never shied away from personal meetings with the general public and constantly engaged in charity work. Much like her late mother-in-law, Markle knew the needs of the people and worked hard to have these needs met and much like Diana, the family did not work to meet her needs back. In the interview, Markle’s discussion of isolation and loneliness as a member of the royal family was reminiscent of Diana’s public struggles with bulimia during her marriage and both women were ignored by those meant to offer them aid. The Firm never once worked to help stop the tabloids painting these women to be horrible and attention-seeking. Both women were constantly let down by the family meant to protect them. But for Meaghan, she had one thing Diana tragically did not:a supportive husband.
Using connections left from Diana, such as support from one of her close friends to an inheritance she left behind, Prince Harry was able to get his wife the help and support she needed in order to get her away from the people that were disregarding her feelings and well-being. Even within the interview, Harry acknowledged his mother’s importance of getting his family away safely, stating that he, “felt her presence through this whole process.” In doing so, Harry was able to change the course of what seemed like a path similar to his mother’s fate and keep his wife safe, something Diana deserved but would be so proud of Harry for.
While both women faced extreme ostracization from the press and from the family that was meant to protect them, Harry stepped up to be the type of husband to Meaghan Markle that his mother deserved. Diana may not be here today but as made clear with the Oprah interview, her spirit and legacy are being channeled through Markle in her devotion to the people, to charity, and to being a mother.