MEGHAN MARKLE’s emotional words about struggling with life in the spotlight have a heartbreaking similarity with Princess Diana’s, who spoke of similar issues when she announced she wanted to step down from public life in 1993.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex opened up in an emotional interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby last month, in which she spoke about her struggles with coping with the intense media spotlight that comes with being a member of the Royal Family. In ‘Harry & Meghan: An African Journey’, the Duchess of Sussex said: “It’s not enough to just survive something. That’s not the point of life. “You’ve got to thrive. You’ve got to feel happy.”
The Duchess then went on to detail how she has been finding life in the spotlight increasingly difficult.
She said: “Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant – you’re really vulnerable.
“So that was made really challenging.
“And then when you have a newborn, you know? It’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”
When Mr Bradby asked if it would be fair to call it a struggle, she replied: “Yes.”
The Duchess’ words have a striking similarity to Princess Diana’s, when she spoke at a charity dinner in 1993 about how she was going to retire from the public gaze.
It came after the Prince and Princess of Wales had announced their separation in 1992, but before the Queen eventually ordered them to divorce in 1996.
Diana said: “When I started my public life, twelve years ago, I understood the media might be interested in what I did.
“I realised then their attention would inevitably focus on both our private and public lives.
“But I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would become – nor the extent to which it would affect both my public duties and my personal life, in a manner, that’s been hard to bear.”
The Princess of Wales then said: “I will be seeking a more suitable way of combining a meaningful public role with, hopefully, a more private life.
“At the end of this year, when I’ve completed my diary of official engagements, I will be reducing the extent of the public life I’ve lead so far.”
However, Diana then struggled with how she wanted to continue in public life, saying in 1994 that she wanted “a partial return”.
The Princess continued her tireless charity work, however the global interest in her glamorous public image also continued to grow.
In 1994, she helped her friend Julia Samuel launch the charity Child Bereavement UK, and continued to be a patron of over 100 charities unit her divorce from Prince Charles was finalised.
As Diana, Princess of Wales, she retained six charity patronages and continued her anti-landmine work until her death.
Diana’s example shows how difficult it can be for a member of the Royal Family to withdraw from public life, and Prince Harry also reflected on how his mother had struggled to cope.
He said: “Everything that she went through and what happened to her is incredibly raw every single day, and that’s not me being paranoid, that’s just me not wanting a repeat of the past.”
Many royal watchers have also expressed their heartfelt concern over Meghan’s struggles after giving birth to her first son Archie, which is also something Diana opened up about.
The Princess of Wales spoke candidly about her postpartum depression after giving birth to William in 1982, when she was interviewed by Martin Bashir for Panorama in 1995.
After initially being “well” after the birth, she said: “Then I was unwell with postnatal depression, which no one ever discusses, postnatal depression, you have to read about it afterwards, and that in itself was a bit of a difficult time.
“You’d wake up in the morning feeling you didn’t want to get out of bed, you felt misunderstood, and just very, very low in yourself.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they will take six weeks off from royal duties, during which they are expected to travel to the US.
Palace sources have indicated that Meghan and Harry will take “family time”, which is expected to start in mid-November.