Meghan Markle “Hated Being a Second-Rate Princess,” New Book Claims

A Palace staffer opens up about Meghan’s time as a working royal and her endless comparisons to Kate.

Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

In his new book Gilded Youth: An Intimate History of Growing Up in the Royal Family (opens in new tab), author Tom Quinn writes that Meghan Markle was “hugely disappointed” by the royal family during her time as working royal.

Quinn spoke to a Kensington Palace staffer for the book, a staffer that apparently “remembered Meghan well.” The staffer told Quinn that Meghan was “a vey nice, smiley, super-positive person” that “always felt in control of her own destiny”—up until she married into the royal family in May 2018. After that, per OK, she knew “she couldn’t influence” the institution she was now a part of.

“She was dazzled by the worldwide fame that being a princess would bring, but she was shocked by the Palace protocol and by the fact that she was not and never could be first in the pecking order,” the source said.

In terms of the perceived rivalry between Meghan and Kate Middleton, the staffer said “She [Meghan] hated being a second-rate princess—second to Catherine Middleton, I mean. She thought she would be living in Windsor Castle, for example, and just couldn’t believe it when she and Harry were given Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace.”

The staffer also added that Meghan never wanted to obey the rules she was expected to follow, saying “She hated the fact that she had to do what she was told and go where she was told in the endless, and to a large extent pointless, royal round.”

“I don’t think in the whole of history there was ever a greater divide between what someone expected when they became a member of the royal family and what they discovered it was really like,” the source said. “She was hugely disappointed. She was a global superstar but was being told what she could and could not do, what she could and could not say. She hated it.”

Meghan “quickly realized that she was treated by the royal establishment and the aristocratic advisers in a slightly condescending way because she was not a blood royal,” the insider said.

Quinn draws a comparison in the book between Meghan and her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, writing “It’s very easy to see why Meghan would identify with Diana because, in a sense, Diana was also a rebel within the royal family. Their views of the royal family coincide. They’re very similar. Diana hated all that stuffiness.” Quinn added that the way the press attacked Meghan was “very much like Diana,” and “I think when Meghan thinks of Diana, she sees a kindred spirit.”

Gilded Youth is out this December in the U.S. 

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.