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History Repeating Itself: Comparing Princess Diana and Meghan Markle

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

On March 7, Oprah aired an interview that rippled across the world on CBS Primetime.

The special, which was over an hour-long, was full of new revelations relevant to not only the royal family but also to the UK press.

But one of the largest headlines the day of the special’s airing was on Prince Harry’s comment: “My biggest fear was history repeating itself.” He was, of course, talking about his own mother’s experience as a member of the British Monarchy.

Now, just how many similarities are there between the stories of Princess Diana and Meghan Markle? Let’s find out.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Photo by Mark Jones distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license

Markle’s tell-all interview was starkly different from Diana’s in many surface-level ways, but too many parallels can be drawn between the content of each. Both interviews were all-in, authentic interviews, with no topic off-limits. Somehow, even 26 years later, each interview showed the same trends.

1. Mental Health: Depression and Asking for Help

Both women were very truthful about their struggle with mental health and depression. The Princess mentioned self-harming tendencies and postpartum depression, while the Duchess opened up about her depression and suicidal tendencies during her pregnancy with Archie.

The most striking and heart-breaking part of this is the parallel in their experience with the Royal Institution after seeking help with these traumatic feelings. Both times, the women were told that help was not an option.

2. Press Attention & Australia

Meghan and Diana were both subjects of jealousy within the monarchy after their respective tours in Australia. Both women were great at the job and quick to charm the public. The effortlessness for both did not sit well with other members of the royal family, and this led to cold shoulders within the Institution.

3. Where’s the Protection?

Meghan and Diana were both victims of the terrible press in the UK, something that the Monarchy had previously promised to protect them from. Instead, in both cases, the Monarchy made their loyalty abundantly clear — but not to the Princess and Duchess. Tabloids with terrible articles about the two women were not rebuked or argued in the way that other members of the royal family were defended. This lack of protection was one of the first red flags for Meghan.

4. Happily Ever After?

While neither woman expected a Disney Prince experience while entering their marriages, they were not prepared for the icy politics behind the scenes of the institution. Neither woman was offered training in their new roles in the royal family, and Meghan even said she came into the situation “naively.”

In conclusion, Princess Diana and Duchess Meghan found themselves in similarly bleak places when they joined the ranks of the British royal family. It was fair for Prince Harry to be worried about history repeating itself, but the small differences in the stories are hopeful. For example, Meghan had Harry by her side through her depression and her tell-all interview. This bit of hope differentiates her story, and will hopefully differentiate her future.

Mackenzi Abbott is a writer for Her Campus TCU and loves to exercise her storytelling skills through writing. She is also a public relations director for Roxo Agency and for the Be Fearless You Foundation. She is a senior at Texas Christian University studying Strategic Communication and Fashion Merchandising, with an emphasis in Public Relations.