‘The Little Mermaid’ Reboot Seems to Shade Catherine, Princess of Wales

Yeah, no way this is a coincidence.

The Princess of Wales at a pre-Coronation reception
(Image credit: Getty)

Is there a dig at the Princess of Wales in Disney’s The Little Mermaid remake? It seems so: Page Six reports that “the film seems to draw a number of subtle yet plausible comparisons between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on the one hand and the two lead characters, Ariel (who is Black in the new version) and Prince Eric (who is white), on the other.”

One scene in particular gets quite literal, the outlet reports—“Ariel has sacrificed her voice in order to get to the surface and [meet] Prince Eric,” an insider who has seen the movie says. “She can’t speak, so he tries to guess her name. His first guess is Diana. His second guess is Catherine, but after [Ariel gives a disgusted] reaction, he [concludes] ‘Okay, definitely not Catherine.’”


Halle Bailey at The Little Mermaid premiere

(Image credit: Getty)

No chance it’s by accident, the source says. “Disney would be disingenuous to imply those name choices were coincidental,” they added. (Diana, of course, is a nod to Princess Diana, Harry’s late mother; Catherine is the full name of the Princess of Wales, though she often goes by Kate.)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in New York City

(Image credit: Getty)

And, if you’ll remember, Meghan herself identified with the mermaid in her interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021. She recalled watching the classic 1989 animated version during her time in the U.K. after she married Harry in 2018 and said “I went, ‘Oh my God, she falls in love with the prince and because of that she loses her voice,’” Meghan said. “But in the end, she gets her voice back.”

The Little Mermaid hits theaters May 26. 

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.