Prince Harry Felt Meghan Markle Was Stealing the Royal "Limelight" Just Like Princess Diana Once Did

It was threatening to other royals, apparently.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex talk to members of OneWave, an awareness group for mental health and wellbeing at South Bondi Beach on October 19, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson / Getty)

Meghan Markle's arrival into the Royal Family sadly spelled trouble for her and Prince Harry in many ways, but one problem in particular—at least from the Sussexes' perspective—was her potential to overshadow other members of the family, namely the Queen, and the then-Cambridges.

In episode 4 of Harry & Meghan on Netflix, a friend of theirs comments, "I think [their tour of] Australia was a real turning point, because they were so popular. So popular with the public, the internals at the Palace were incredibly threatened by that."

This seems to be an opinion which the royal spouses themselves share.

"The issue is, when someone who's marrying in, who should be a supporting act, is then stealing the limelight, or is doing the job better than the person who was born to do this, that upsets people," Harry says, clearly not mincing his words.

He continues, "It shifts the balance, because you've been led to believe the only way that your charities can succeed, the only way that your reputation can be grown or improved is if you're in the front page of those newspapers. But the media are the ones who choose who to put on the front page."

They went on to tell an anecdote to illustrate this point.

"First time that the penny dropped for her, M and I spent the night in a room in Buckingham Palace after an event where every single member of the family—senior members of the family—had been, including the Queen," Harry says.

Meghan then recalls, "The next morning, they set up breakfast for Harry and I."

"And on the front page of the Telegraph, Meghan," says Harry.

"I went, 'Oh my God,'" says Meghan.

The Duke of Sussex explains, "She was like, 'But it's not my fault.' I was like, 'I know. And my mum felt the same way.'"

Princess Diana often overshadowed her husband Prince Charles because of her intense popularity. At this point, the docuseries cuts to a snippet from Diana's controversial Panorama interview, where she says, "We'd be going around Australia for instance, and all you could hear was, 'Oh, she's on the other side.'"

Asked to explain what she meant, she went on, "Well, they weren't on the right side to wave at me or to touch me."

This, she remembered, was difficult for Prince Charles to hear repeatedly (understandably).

The situation was similar for Harry and Meghan in that—in terms of the continuation of the monarchy—Prince William and Princess Kate needed to be more popular than them. Here, the Sussexes seem to imply that this was one of the factors that led to so much division among the royal households.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.