From bombshell TV interviews to rising popularity around the globe. It appears Prince Harry and Meghan are following Diana’s manual, Kerry Parnell writes.
From secret books, to bombshell TV interviews, humanitarian documentaries and eyeing up the White House, Harry and Meghan seem to be following Diana’s guide to life.
Harry even stated on archewell.com, “I am my mother’s son”.
The similarities are startling:
Tell-alls: Diana secretly colluded with author Andrew Morton for the 1992 book, Diana: Her True Story, despite publicly denying it. Next came her bombshell Panorama TV interview in 1995.
Harry and Meghan say they did not speak to Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand for last year’s Finding Freedom and subsequently chose Oprah Winfrey for their TV exclusive.
In both cases it stunned the royal rellies. Step one, check.
California dreaming: Diana longed to live overseas and even looked at California, according to her butler, Paul Burrell.
In 2007 he told ABC News the princess had talked of moving to Dodi Fayed’s Malibu villa, saying: “Just won’t it be great … nobody’s judgmental here in America, you don’t have the class system, you don’t have the establishment.”
Superstar royal: After Charles and Diana’s 1983 Australian tour, Diana became aware of her popularity and was frustrated the palace didn’t appreciate her enough. Sound familiar?
Harry and Meghan’s showbiz reception Down Under was also their ultimate undoing.
The secret to Diana’s soar-away success was sharing her mental health struggles.
“She had become the Oprah Princess, without going on the show,” wrote Tina Brown in The Diana Chronicles.
What’s the betting there’s a paperback copy in Cali with a Post-it note in it.
Eyeing the White House: While an apoplectic Donald Trump says he will run against Meghan for president, Diana also harboured aspirations to be US first lady.
According to her American billionaire boyfriend Teddy Forstmann, “Diana had the idea that we should get married, that I should run for president and she would be the first lady”. Meghan’s highlighter explodes.
Documentary-making: Just before she died in 1997, Diana was excited about a new project making documentaries about different issues she supported, starting with illiteracy. “It was Diana’s version of a Clinton global initiative,” wrote Brown, “and she had the idea first.” Two decades later, her son and daughter-in-law took that idea to Netflix.
Kindness Inc: Harry and Meghan’s foundation is also an extension of the humanitarian work his mother had begun to forge for herself, famously saying she wanted to be the “queen of people’s hearts”. When she went to New York in 1995 to receive a Humanitarian of the Year award, she declared, “today is the day of compassion”, so it follows that Archewell’s mission statement is “to build a better world, one act of compassion at a time”.
Leaking problem: Finally, I know palaces are old, but you’d think they would have fixed the leaks by now. During the last Windsor War between Charles and Diana, what started as a trickle became a torrent of bitterness on both sides. And now it’s happening again, across the Atlantic.
But this is one page of Diana’s playbook Harry and Meghan don’t want to follow; it’s time for both sides to sing another tune.
Diana’s mate, Elton John, has a good one: Sorry seems to be the hardest word.