When news broke that Prince Harry was in a relationship with Meghan Markle — a UN Women’s Advocate who is as passionate about humanitarian work as the royals themselves — inevitable comparisons were drawn between her and Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.
But this week, those comparisons have become even more stark with the publication of a new biography, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, by the author Andrew Morton. Charting Meghan’s journey from Pasadena, California, to St. George’s Chapel in Windsor next month, Morton claims that the young Meghan not only saw Diana as a "role model" and had her biography on her bookshelf, but that she also "wants to be Diana 2.0." At age 16, he says, she apparently sat with friends watching reruns of Charles and Diana’s wedding, trying to absorb the news that her 36-year-old idol had been killed in a car crash in Paris.
But in an exclusive interview with Grazia, Morton is clear that, despite their shared ideals, Meghan is cut from a different cloth. "She’s very smart, she knows what she’s got to do," he said. "The thing about being a member of the royal family is that it’s not a sprint, it’s a lifetime obligation. She will spend some time thinking about how she wants to portray herself."
"There is no doubt that she is going to be focusing on female issues and be a champion for young women. She wants to make a real difference." He added, "Diana was very shy and reticent when she started. The turning point was in 1987, when she went and shook hands with an AIDs patient. This was incredibly controversial at the time and frowned on by the palace and started her on a very different journey. But Meghan has been hardwired for that journey since she was a kid."
Like many royal observers, Morton, who developed an unrivaled insight into the House of Windsor after gaining Princess Diana’s trust to write the shocking "true story" of her failing marriage in 1992, is certain Meghan will present a transformation for the British monarchy. And he should know: as confidante to the Princess of Wales during the most traumatic period of her life — the collapse of her marriage to Prince Charles — he heard directly just how tough life in the royal spotlight can be, not only for Diana, but also for her sons, William and Harry. He is convinced Meghan’s brand of outspoken warmth is going to create waves. "Traditionally, royal men make the speeches, royal women have looked good in frocks. Meghan’s not going to be shy about speaking in public. She’s not going to be intimidated or cowed by the royal system. The British people aren’t used to this kind of forthright woman being a member of the royal family. It’s a different style to what’s gone before, it’s not so reticent."
"[Her style] is more modern in the sense of women showing [they] can have it all — they can look good but also talk the talk. That’s the difference. She’s already showed herself to be articulate on the podium. A friend of Meghan’s told me, 'She is going to bring a lot of diversity and new ideas, new ways of doing things. She is not just going to blend into the royals.'"
Meghan: A Hollywood Princess is out April 12.
This article was written by Amy Iggulden. For more, check out our sister site, Grazia.