Both Prince William and Prince Harry Were “Lost Souls” Before Meeting Their Wives, Royal Author Says

“William and Harry need their partners in a very similar way.”

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty)

Before meeting the women who would ultimately become their wives, royal author Tom Quinn says both Prince William and Prince Harry were “lost souls” following the death of their mother, Princess Diana, in a Parisian car accident in 1997. At the time of her death, William was 15 and Harry 12, nearly 13.

But, after William met Kate Middleton in 2001 and after Harry met Meghan Markle in 2016, the brothers found supportive partners who provide them with the support they need, Quinn said, per The Mirror.

“I think actually, in a strange way, the two boys, William and Harry, need their partners in a very similar way,” he said. Describing Diana as “perhaps more modern and loving” than her ex-husband King Charles, Quinn said “So, when their mother died, they had that terrible thing on top of the insecurity of being brought up by paid staff. I think by the time they reached adulthood, they both needed a woman who was either, in the case of William, level-headed and strong in that quiet, solid, secure way Kate has or, in the case of Harry, someone like Meghan, who was going to grab him by the scruff of the neck and say, ‘This is the way to live.’”

Though the two men are obviously very different, “the end result was the same, because the symptoms were the same,” Quinn said. “I think by the time Harry and William reached their late teens, they were lost souls.”

William met Kate while both were first-year students at the University of St. Andrews in 2001. They were a couple by 2003, and, despite a brief breakup in 2007, stayed together for seven years until their engagement in 2010. They were married on April 29, 2011. Harry and Meghan met on a blind date in 2016, became engaged in 2017, and married on May 19, 2018, after less than two years of knowing one another—breaking Harry’s firm rule when it came to dating, The Mirror reports.

In his memoir, Spare, Harry recounted the “firm rules” when it came to royal relationships, and “the main one was that you absolutely must date a woman for three years before taking the plunge,” Harry wrote in the book. But, following a trip to Africa with Meghan just a month or two into their relationship, Harry realized “Meg seemed the shining exception to this rule,” he wrote. “All rules. I knew her straightaway, and she knew me. The true me. Might seem rash, I thought, might seem illogical, but it’s true: For the first time, in fact, I felt myself to be living in truth.” Harry and Meghan met and married inside of 22 months; William and Kate, for comparison’s sake, had known one another for nearly a decade prior to their nuptials.  

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.