Let’s talk about Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and actress Meghan Markle. Both are the same age, methodical, business-like, and engage in humanitarian work; in a certain light, they even look the same. But is that where the similarities stop?
The most obvious difference between them is their titles -- the American actress vs. the princess -- a no-brainer when it comes to popularity, you’d think. But listening to the chorus of grunts and chatters in the media, you’d be more inclined to believe that Middleton has the cool 'actressy' edge, which, perhaps, she does -- for now.
The fact is, having married into one of the most famous and influential families in the world, Middleton lives with restrictions and impositions like no other; the family observes a strict Anglican faith, has limited contact with the everyday world, and is under constant scrutiny by the press.
Markle, who is dating Prince Harry, on the other hand, remains very much her own person and, as such, gives little away. Wikipedia has her as being born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Since 2011, she's been known most commonly for her roles as FBI special agent Amy Jessup in the sci-fi thriller Fringe and for her role as Rachel Zane on the legal drama series Suits.
Let’s have a closer look at how today’s media are portraying both ladies. And before you draw your own comparison, bear in mind that if, or when, Markle marries into the Royal family, her life will no doubt follow exactly the same rigid path as that of the Duchess!
15 Sharing The Limelight
Born in 1981, Markle has already appeared in 30 TV movies, mini-series, short films, and feature-length movies, including CSI: NY and General Hospital. In 2003, she graduated from Northwestern University, Illinois, where she excelled in her theater studies before completing a double major in theater and international studies, pursuing an internship at the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires as part of her ongoing training.
Having your photograph taken comes with the territory either as an actress or as a member of the Royal family. No matter where you go, you’re bound to be recognized and papped, and there's a sense that the Duchess of Cambridge is just as comfortable with it as her brother-in-law's, Prince Harry’s, new beau -- maybe even more so. After Prince William and Kate toured Canada and the USA together as newlyweds, William’s father, Prince Charles, scowled that they’d had, “a few too many photo ops.” Regardless, the public loved what they saw.
14 Dog Lovers
Middleton and Markle do have a love of dogs in common, which proves, at the very least, that they have caring and sensitive natures, despite what people might think. “[Dog owners] are the committal type, for we all know that owning a dog is almost like having a child,” says Daily Affair founder Stacey Nelkin. “They are great companions and show [that its owner] can take care of something other than themselves.” We couldn’t agree more.
But where the Duchess has opted for a homegrown (and rather fine) pedigree cocker spaniel, Markle chose with a little more sensitivity. According to reports, the actress now has two dogs, Bogart, a German shepherd cross-breed, and Guy, the beagle. What’s more, Markle decided to visit a rescue center for her two little boys and is vociferous about the work they do. Her policy of adoption means she may frown on someone who pays money for a pedigree pooch.
13 House Design
Anmer Hall in the county of Norfolk, England is the official residence of the Duke and Duchess. It has recently been renovated by architect Charles Morris and decorator Ben Pentreath. While Kate had some say in the proceedings, her input was undoubtedly limited. According to feminist Germaine Greer, quoted in The Guardian in 2015, “She [Kate] cannot do or say anything spontaneous. She has learned what she has to do and say and how to do and say it in the approved way.”
On the other hand, The Sun reported earlier this year that Markle and Prince Harry were jointly looking for a house that fit them as a couple. How quaint. Here’s where the pre-royal differences are most noticeable. As the couple searched for properties near Anmer Hall, the paper reported that “[Harry’s] girlfriend, Meghan, is believed to prefer Georgian country house Guist Hall with lavish gardens.”
12 Shopping Habits
The UK has grown accustomed to the Duchess’s savvy ways. And while she still prefers to shop in Waitrose than Morrison’s, her shopping habits are very much akin to those of her subjects. She also visits Peter Jones, a high street (albeit upmarket) department store where she buys outfits for herself and the children. She’s not exactly drawn to the posh Sloane Square area of London, and the ordinariness of her retail therapy goes down a storm.
Markle, being a TV and movie star, retains her fondness for posh living and the high-life despite dating Harry. Perhaps, this will stop when she becomes a Royal, or maybe she’ll just drag the Prince along with her for company. After all, he’s a rather hip guy himself, so he may enjoy a little jaunt around American organic produce market Whole Foods.
11 Public Speeches
Few people can talk in public with any degree of authority; still fewer can talk confidently knowing that the eyes of the world are on them. But this is something the Duchess does on a daily basis -- and does well. Kate, as Patron of London’s Natural History Museum, recently attended the reopening of Hintze Hall, which now features a blue whale skeleton named Hope, which has replaced Dippy the Diplodocus skeleton cast after Dippy left the NHM to tour the UK.
The question is, could Miss Markle do the same? It may be part and parcel of the movie world to give interviews preceding the release of a film, but when you’re being asked to talk about matters that aren't in your natural sphere of influence, how well would you do? Who knows? She may surprise everyone with her knowledge of Sir David Attenborough, blue whales, and dinosaurs.
What’s not to love about movie stars’ makeup? The flicks have championed great makeup skills for decades. Actors and actresses alike have often taken their awesome makeup tips and skills into the public arena. That’s why they always look so healthy! Markle is a little bit different from the rest and plays to her own strengths. “I wear so much makeup for work that when I have a day off, I don’t like to wear it at all,” she told express.co.uk. “I’ll put on moisturiser, a little bit of highlighter on my cheekbones, and that’s it.”
Contrastingly, the Duchess is often seen quite heavily made-up for public functions; even on days off, she'll be seen sporting some form of paint. Then again, perhaps that’s her personal choice, but it’s tempting to think she's been ordered by unknown sources to look her best. Princess Diana certainly strained under the ever-present media scrutiny of how she looked.
Earlier this year, the Duchess glammed up for a visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London. Kate, who has been the patron of the gallery since 2012, wore a stunning full-length green lace Temperley gown with a gold clutch bag. She was viewing the newest exhibitions and then met guests at the 2017 Gala before having dinner, looking every bit a Princess, according to British newspaper The Mirror.
Perhaps unfairly, the way the Royals look can only really be trumped by another Royal. Clothing is an important accessory for the Queen and her cohorts, and the family is renowned for the dresses and suits worn at functions throughout the world. The dresses worn by Princess Diana, in particular, became a national pastime and have been on display at Kensington Palace since February of this year. Can the oft-understated Markle live up to the spectacle? Time will tell.
If a Hollywood Gossip article from 2013 is anything to go by, Markle is already being lavished with expensive and priceless gems by Harry. According to the magazine, Harry intends to pop the question later this year with a ring made of diamonds taken from a tiara belonging to his late mother, Princess Diana. Such a gesture also gives us an idea of how utterly besotted he is with the starlet.
Although Marie Claire suggested that “the Duchess of Cambridge’s jewellery box is bursting with bling,” the Princess is quite understated in what she chooses to wear. Recent pictures show her sporting, on occasion, a Cartier brooch and some Kiki McDonough earrings, but she's just as likely to buy handmade British jewellery from labels such as Serretta. The company’s coral and gold drop earrings can be picked up for around £50 ($65) a pair, according to the magazine.
Both ladies appear strong and confident, yet it's true to say that Kate Middleton, prior to her marriage, was not a particularly avid feminist. Once a Royal, the dynamics of her life didn’t really allow her much self-expression, but we suspect that suited the more homely Kate. “She had never enjoyed an independent identity or income — even her clothes were paid for by her father-in-law — and didn’t seem to aspire to either” according to feminist Joan Smith.
Markle, on the other hand, has been a staunch feminist since the age of 11, according to eonline.com. In fact, on this point, she has more in common with fellow actress Emma Watson, herself a long-time advocate of equal rights and appointed as a UN Women Goodwill ambassador. Perhaps Markle’s pre-royal life does allow a certain amount of freedom, but it has to be said that once Harry ties the knot, being a feminist may become slightly trickier.
6 Night-Time Pursuits
We know what you’re thinking, and we’re not going to take the bait! This is about what activities both get up to with their clothes on! The Cambridges apparently like nothing more than cozying up on the sofa with a box set -- another reason the British public finds them so adorable. But what with diplomatic engagements and Royal occasions, it’s hard to know when these two find the time to do much cozying.
Right now, Prince Harry and Megan Markle have the luck of the Irish, more money than they can spend, and all the time in the world to enjoy each other’s company, give-or-take the odd film role or public appearance. He recently whisked her away to Jamaica for a friend’s wedding where the pair enjoyed the romantic setting of a candlelit cave, “where for £250-a-head, the pair dined on lobster, jerk chicken, and coconut pudding” says dailymail.co.uk.
What’s not to love about having Queen Elizabeth II as your grandma? After all, grandmas are traditionally the kindest members of a family, and if you have one that’s rich, you’re sorted; think of all those birthday presents! OK, so maybe it’s not as clear cut as all that, but HRH Queen Liz certainly thinks highly of William’s union with Kate and no doubt gave them her seal of approval. During an interview with ITV (for a documentary on the Queen's Jubilee), Prince Wills divulged that when the pair were planning their wedding, the Queen said of the official invite list, "Get rid of it... Start from your friends, and then we'll add those we need to in due course. It's your day."
Markle may not have a grandma as wealthy, but she’s nevertheless proud of her roots, and rightly so. Coming from a mixed-race heritage, the Mail Online reported that Markle’s mother's family was originally from Tennessee and Georgia and included both black and white ancestors who worked hard to make a living. What’s not to love?
Kate was brought up in a decidedly working-class family. Her maternal grandmother, Dorothy Goldsmith, urged her children to be ambitious and, as a result, Kate's mother, Carole Middleton, worked as an airline hostess, which, at the time, was a glamorous job. It was while working for British Airways that she met Michael Middleton, a dispatcher, who happened to come from a wealthy family with ties to British aristocracy. The couple married soon after.
Markle has worked her way through the usual bedlam of show business, helped, of course, by a double major in theater and international studies. She's worked alongside Russell Brand in Get Him To The Greek and Jennifer Aniston in Horrible Bosses before landing the role of Rachel Zane -- a sultry paralegal -- in US TV series Suits. It was hard work and, perhaps, required more input than Kate could muster, but nevertheless, the outcome for both was a resounding success.
It’s hard to make and keep friends in the world of movies. Some come, some go, while others stick a knife in your back when you’re working through the lines of your next play. Jealousy, flirtation, bitchiness, and competitiveness are rife throughout the industry, so to come out fighting is worthy of praise. Markle appears to have done just that and retains a unique clique of friends, including singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and actress/philanthropist Priyanka Chopra.
Similar issues of isolation plague the Royals. There are a lot of 'hangers-on,' or more accurately, obsequious gold-diggers, so it’s tempting to imagine that the Duchess’s circle is also made up of only the most trusted acquaintances. Her closest friend, Emilia Jardine-Paterson, is a former school friend and godmother to Prince George.
2 Social Interaction
Becoming a Royal does somewhat curtail your freedom to write what you want on Twitter and Facebook. Although the Queen has her own accounts on the platforms, they're more often than not manned by a team of social media managers. Let’s face it: the time is still not right for the Royals to be as opinionated as Donald Trump. As you might guess, Kate has never been seen with a mobile phone, an iPod, or an iPad and is suspected of having a secret social media account (although the point of such a thing is anybody’s guess).
Markle, on the other hand, embraces online communication as most film actors do. Movies are won and lost in the public spotlight these days, and it’s natural for her to be involved in it. She has around 1.5 million fans on Instagram.
1 Negative Press
An article for the Daily Mail last year gave voice to Harry’s disapproval of the press coverage of Markle. According to dailymail.co.uk, Harry’s “extraordinary statement issued on his behalf . . . by Kensington Palace, in which he denounces the ‘wave of abuse and harassment’ directed at his new girlfriend” was proof, if proof was needed, of his adoration for the girl. It's thought some, including dailymail.co.uk, rallied against her because she's seen as “not a shy and retiring individual who hungers for privacy and anonymity.”
Kate has suffered similar unpleasantness. Whether it's due to her outfit choices, body shape, or unusual career path, everyone has something to say. Despised British socialite Jemima Khan once said, “Kate Middleton — those are not heir-bearing hips, are they? Unfeasibly narrow.” And writer Katrina Onstad was once quoted as saying, “If I lived in London, I'd ride by her [Kate’s] window on my bicycle and shout, 'Get a job!'" Oh well, haters are going to hate.
Sources: eonline.com, dailymail.co.uk, stylecaster.com, theguardian.com