In early 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, stepped down as senior royals. The couple has since relocated to California, where they are attempting to forge a new life away from the royal family.
For some, what Harry and Meghan are doing may be considered unusual. Princess Diana’s former secretary, on the other hand, is now comparing Harry and Meghan’s new life to Diana’s before she died.
How did Princess Diana spend her final years?
Diana died in a car accident in Paris in 1997.
Diana spent the years leading up to her death as a divorced woman. She and Prince Charles divorced in 1996 after separating in 1992. Diana went on to date other men, including Dodi Al-Fayed, who died in the car crash with her.
Despite breaking some ties with the royal family, Diana continued to do humanitarian work as a full-time royal. She continued to work with AIDS and leprosy patients as well as organizations dedicated to clearing landmines in developing countries, for example.
Why is Princess Diana being compared to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?
According to Diana’s former secretary, Patrick Jephson, the late princess developed closer ties with the ultra-rich and powerful, especially since she could no longer rely on the royal family as much.
“Once she was no longer a member of the royal family, Diana grew increasingly reliant on billionaires for jets and bodyguards, as well as photo opportunities and speaking platforms. In an article for the Daily Mail, Jephson said, “People whose agendas and publicity instincts began and ended with their own interests.”
Jephson drew parallels between Harry and Meghan, who are both venturing into Hollywood and making friends with the city’s rich and famous.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are advised to not ‘lose touch’ with everyday people
Royals, unlike celebrities, are expected to serve the public rather than themselves. With Harry becoming more involved in the celebrity world, Jephson stressed the importance of him and Meghan not losing touch with ordinary people.
“You can get away from the Palace, as her younger son Harry has discovered, but finding relevance and respect as just another celebrity is much, much harder,” Jephson said. “It’s so much easier to take the easy way out and hire a team of lawyers and public relations experts to preach platitudes to the uninitiated. You’ve quickly progressed from setting a good example — which is all a member of the Royal Family really needs to do — to establishing yourself as a public policy expert without having to go through the trouble of winning an election.”
“It’s certainly not what conscientious princes (and dukes and duchesses) intend,” Jephson continued, “but it’s the risk they run when they lose touch with real people’s everyday concerns; when their personal passions take precedence over the much less glamorous traditional royal work of healing and encouraging that must be done every day.”