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Prince Harry Compares Meghan Markle To Princess Diana — 6 Ways They Are Alike

Photo: mark reinstein / FiledIMAGE / Shutterstock
Princess Diana, Meghan Markle

In the first three installments of the six-part, multimillion-dollar Netflix docuseries "Harry & Meghan" the couple shed light on their love story and the difficulties they faced in their roles as royal family members.

Because of their position as part of the royal family, "we’ve never been allowed to tell our story," said Prince Harry.

In addition to letting viewers in on the intimate details of how their relationship started, Harry and Meghan discussed the ways in which their romance echoed Princess Diana’s experience in the royal family.

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In the documentary, Harry likened Meghan to his late mother.

"So much of what Meghan is, and how she is, is so similar to my mum," he said.

"She has the same compassion, she has the same empathy, she has the same confidence, she has this warmth about her."

Here are 6 ways that Meghan Markle and Princess Diana are alike.

1. Both used their royal role for philanthropy.

During her life, Princess Diana was famous for her philanthropic efforts.

Seen as "the people’s princess," Diana was both a humanitarian and an environmentalist.

Diana’s philanthropic work focused on a wide range of issues, including homelessness, poverty, and anti-landmine activism.

She was also an AIDS activist at a time when HIV and AIDS were highly stigmatized in the media.

She opened the Landmark Aids Centre in 1989, a London clinic offering treatment and support to those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.

A 1991 photo of Princess Diana shaking hands with HIV-positive patients without wearing gloves made front-page news around the world.

The image not only showed Diana’s compassion for those living with the disease, but it also challenged the incorrect idea that HIV/AIDS was passed via touch.

Meghan followed in Princess Diana’s footsteps, using her role as part of the royal family to bring attention to worldwide issues like gender equality and education.

In 2016, she was named a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, a relief and development NGO that helps families and communities fight poverty and injustice.

After she and Harry stepped back from the royal family in 2020, they started their NGO, The Archewell Foundation, which offers charitable support for issues like gender equity, refugee resettlement, and global vaccine availability.

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2. Both carry a global vision for a better world.

In the "Harry & Meghan" docuseries, the couple revealed that one of their first dates was in Botswana.

The Prince invited the "Suits" star to stay with him in a tent for five days — with no cushy amenities involved.

While Meghan agreed, she was also worried at the time.

"What if we don’t like each other? And then we’re stuck in the middle of a bush in a tent?" She remembered thinking, but the two hit it off, even in a faraway country.

Princess Diana also had an international worldview.

She used her position in the royal family to visit countries in Africa and bring publicity to the social, medical, and environmental issues that affected the continent.

She famously visited Angola in 1997 as part of her anti-landmine humanitarian work.

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3. Meghan Markle and Princess Diana were more modern than the royal family may have liked.

The Royal Family has a reputation for being behind the times, and both Meghan and Diana pulled the monarchy into the modern-day world.

"The actress thing was the biggest problem, funny enough," Meghan said, about her role on the show "Suits."

Harry echoed that statement. "The fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgment more than anything else in the beginning." 

Meghan had established her own life and career before meeting Prince Harry in 2016, making her the definition of a modern woman.

Princess Diana was seen as a modern figure, as well — she was a style and beauty icon, famous for her fashion.

She took the stuffy image of the royal family into the next century with her bob haircut and modern clothing choices. 

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4. Princess Diana and Meghan Markle suffered at the hands of the media.

Meghan experienced racist attacks at the hands of the media, while Princess Diana was notoriously hounded by paparazzi in the moments leading up to her death in 1997.

To Netflix viewers, Prince Harry reported that "my mum was harassed throughout her life with dad. After they separated, the harassment went to new levels. The moment she divorced, the moment she left the Institution, she was by herself."

He went on to say that it’s his "duty to uncover this exploitation and bribery that happens within our media."

He said that the negative media attention was seen as a royal family "rite of passage," only the difference for Meghan, he said, was "the race element."

As for Meghan, she noted that "no matter how hard I tried, no matter how good I was, no matter what I did, [the media] were still going to find a way to destroy me."

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5. Princess Diana and Meghan Markle disrupted the royal family.

When Diana and Meghan married into the royal family, their presence created a disruption in the traditional arc of the royal family narrative.

As a mixed-race American actress, Meghan was not the traditional partner for a prince to choose.

Meghan noted the many formal aspects of the royal family, including having to curtsy when meeting Queen Elizabeth.

She said that she wore ripped jeans and no shoes when meeting Prince William and Princess Kate for dinner at Harry’s Kensington home, not realizing that her casual attire was out of the ordinary.

Of the royal family, Meghan said that "the formality on the outside carried through on the inside."

Harry said that there is a "huge level of unconscious bias" in his family.

"It is actually no one's fault. But once it has been pointed out, or identified within yourself, you then need to make it right."

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6. Meghan Markle and Princess Diana changed their lives to join the royal family.

Meghan gave up her lucrative career in Hollywood to join the royal family.

She folded herself into the monarchy’s lifestyle to be with the person she loved.

Harry said that Meghan "sacrificed everything she ever knew, the freedom that she had, to join me in my world."

He continued, saying "pretty soon after that I ended up sacrificing everything that I know to join her in her world."

As for Diana, she famously lost her life as a result of being hounded by the paparazzi for her role as a former royal family member.

Harry accounted for "the pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution" as a reason he wanted to leave it. 

"I was terrified. I didn’t want history to repeat itself… I had to do everything I could to protect my family."

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.

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