Princess Diana and Meghan Markle Both Spent Time at Northwesten University in Chicago

Princess Diana and Meghan Markle share a sweet Chicago connection. Both women were brought to the city by Northwestern University—Meghan as a student and Diana as a guest of the president of the university.

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There are several undeniable similarities between Meghan Markle and the late Princess Diana. Both women are charitable beyond measure. Both married into the British royal family and were embraced almost instantly by the people. Both are known for their impeccable style. They even share a love for handwritten letters.


Meghan Markle's real name

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What's more, throughout their relationship, Meghan and Prince Harry have made a point to honor Diana at every milestone.

But, Meghan and Diana have another connection that far predates Meghan's induction as royalty: Northwestern University.

Put simply, the highly-ranked university is the reason both Meghan and Diana made a connection with the city of Chicago. Meghan's connection to Northwestern is obvious—she attended the school, graduating in 2003 with a double major in international studies and theater.

"I had always been the theater nerd at Northwestern University," she told Marie Claire in 2013. "I knew I wanted to do acting, but I hated the idea of being this cliché—a girl from L.A. who decides to be an actress. I wanted more than that, and I had always loved politics, so I ended up changing my major completely, and double-majoring in theater and international relations."

Princess Diana's Northwestern connection is a little less well-known, however. In 1996, she visited Chicago on the invitation of university president Henry Bienen, with whom she attended a formal fundraising gala at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. The gala was to raise money for cancer research and Diana wore a bright purple (the school's color) Versace gown for the occasion.

Diana, Princess of Wales arrives for a gala dinner at the Fi

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Diana's visit raised $1.5 million for cancer research groups—including the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern.

During her three-day stay in Chicago, Diana also took a tour of the Northwestern campus, walking the same grounds her future daughter-in-law would call home for four years.

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There are even pictures of Diana floating around the internet that show the late princess walking around in a purple Northwestern sweatshirt and white shorts, looking ready for a game day tailgate. There's no doubt she would have been very proud of her daughter-in-law's alma mater and who knows, maybe there's an alternate universe where Meghan and Diana watch NU games on TV in matching hoodies. It's nice to think about, anyway.

“I love Chicago,” Diana said as she boarded her flight home from the trip. “It’s been wonderful.”

Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.