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, 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
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.