Over the years, many have compared Meghan Markle to Princess Diana. Considering that Meghan is married to Diana’s son Harry, such comparisons were inevitable. On top of that, the women had many other similarities, including the fact that they were outsiders to the imposing Royal Family when they married into it and then soon became the targets of vicious media attacks.
If we carry the comparison further, then Fergie was to Diana what Kate Middleton is to Meghan Markle. However, those older women enjoyed a much closer, much richer relationship than their younger counterparts.
Why is that? Just why were Diana and Fergie so much closer than Meghan and Kate? Keep reading to discover the answers!
Initial similarities between the different women
One of the reasons that Diana and Fergie enjoyed such a close relationship over the years was because they shared many similarities. As we noted before, they were both outsiders to the Royal Family: while she was Lady Diana Spencer ever since her father became an Earl, and while she grew up in the orbit of certain royals, Diana was very much an outsider to the world of Buckingham Palace (one of the reasons the press played up the “girl next door” angle when she began dating Charles). Fergie, as the daughter of a polo manager before she married into the Royal Family.
Interestingly, both Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton share these similarities as well. Meghan was best known as an American actor and an aspiring influencer before she began dating Prince Harry. And Kate Middleton actually worked for a clothing chain when she was dating the future King of England.
For Diana and Fergie, the similarities grew over time and helped them maintain a close friendship. Unfortunately for Meghan and Kate, they had fewer similarities between them over time, and their relationship only grew more distant in the wake of “Megxit.”
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Diana met Fergie at a young age
Kate Middleton was already the future Queen of England when she met Meghan Markle, and this likely affected their relationship from the very beginning. Meanwhile, Diana and Fergie were friends from a young age, and this helped their relationship grow and prosper over time.
They weren’t super close as children, but Diana’s familiarity with Fergie meant that Fergie was a source of unexpected advice when it came to things like the burgeoning affections of Prince Charles. According to Newsweek, Diana previously told her biographer that, “I met Fergie when Charles was getting near me and she kept rearing her head for some reason and she seemed to know all about the royal set-up, things like that. She just sort of encouraged it.”
Being on the ground floor of the Diana/Charles romance helped Fergie suddenly became a major part of Diana’s life. As Diana put it, “she just suddenly appeared and she sat in the front pew of our wedding—and everything like that.”
Princess Diana plays matchmaker
Fergie didn’t exactly play matchmaker for Diana but instead provided advice when Charles came courting. However, Diana did ultimately end up playing matchmaker for Fergie, encouraging the other woman to take up a romance with Prince Andrew.
In retrospect, this was a very bittersweet moment in both of their lives. Diana likely thought she was just paying Fergie back for her friendship and good advice. But in helping hook Fergie up with Andrew, Diana ensured the women would have something else in common: relationships that exploded in unprecedented ways on a very public stage.
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Navigating similar imploding marriages
By now, almost everyone knows the story of how Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles broke down after he began an ongoing affair with Camilla. What most people don’t know, however, is just how much Fergie’s own relationship drama paralleled Diana’s.
For example, both women’s marriages were falling apart by the late 1980s. Both women filed for divorce from their famous husbands in 1992. And both women had to deal with unprecedented venom from the press before they both navigated the most unfamiliar waters of them all: being divorced royals who had to then create new lives for themselves.
Fortunately for Meghan and Kate, neither of them has had to deal with such relationship drama, and both of their husbands seem very devoted to them. But if they had to navigate a messy divorce at the same time, they might have eventually become as close as Diana and Fergie were.
A bittersweet ending to a long friendship
In 1996, Princess Diana died after a fatal car crash that shocked the entire world. And nobody was more shocked than Fergie, who has to live with the fact that she and Diana were effectively estranged at the time Diana died.
To hear Fergie tell the story, they had a falling out over the stupidest possible thing: Diana was offended after Fergie claimed she got plantar warts from wearing some of Diana’s old shoes. This meant they weren’t speaking when Diana died, and Fergie expressed her regret over this fact in a 2007 interview with Harper’s Bazaar.
“I tried, wrote letters, thinking whatever happened didn’t matter, let’s sort it out. And I knew she’d come back,” Fergie said. “In fact, the day before she died she rang a friend of mine and said, ‘Where’s that Red? I want to talk to her.'”
As heartbreaking as that is, it maybe offers a note of hope for Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton. While these two may have a fractured relationship now, they have an opportunity now to mend the friendship. And as Diana’s shocking death reminds us, it’s easy to take those opportunities for granted because we never know when they will be gone forever.
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