Anyone who remembers the funeral of Diana, the Princess of Wales, in 1997 can’t help being haunted by the wrenching sight of her two young sons, Princes William and Harry, walking slowly behind her coffin as it made its way to Westminster Abbey. Their hands were clasped in front; their heads were bowed. Harry looked so small in his suit.
That image has reverberated down the years, a ghostly reminder of the princes’ traumatic childhood, and it hovered again in the background as Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, spoke to Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night.
While the British tabloids like to cast Meghan in the villainous role of the Duchess of Windsor — the American divorcée who lured away their king in 1936 and lived with him in bitter exile, causing an irreparable family rift — Harry and Meghan seem determined to position her instead as a latter-day Diana, a woman mistreated by her in-laws, more sinned against than sinning.
died in a car wreck in a Parisian underpass, the paparazzi in hot pursuit. He raised the subject again on Sunday, drawing parallels between the experiences of his mother and his wife and saying, of Diana, that he has “felt her presence through this whole process.”
she and Charles married; Meghan was 36 and worldly, having made her own living for years, when she married Harry. She was also divorced, with a high-profile job as an actress.
And Meghan is American, with an American sensibility.
Diana came from a culture of reticence in which tradition is venerated; Meghan comes from one where it is normal to ask for help, to discuss your feelings and to suggest that there might be better, newer ways of doing things.