With talk of a possible engagement, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s relationship seems to be sailing smoothly. The couple’s relationship reveals how far the British Monarchy has evolved and progressed since Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ time.
The outcome of Prince Charles’ relationship with Lady Di was probably an influential factor in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s romance and how it is perceived and accepted by the royal family. Avid royal fans will know that Prince Charles had to follow royal protocol when choosing his bride, which greatly influenced his decision to marry the Queen of Hearts instead of the Duchess of Cornwall or Camilla Parker Bowles as she was known at the time.
In the past, the monarchy held tight to tradition which included an outline of who would make a suitable royal bride for the heir to the throne. According to the Daily Mail, Princess Diana fit the profile of the perfect royal bride, which is speculated to be the reason Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son chose to marry her.
Before Prince Charles’ first marriage, however, there were other controversial royal relationships rejected by the British Royal Monarchy and their ideas of the perfect royal consort. Some could even argue that without these controversial royal couples, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s relationship wouldn’t even be possible.
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, was formerly the King of the United Kingdom. He ascended the throne after the death of his father, King George V, but abdicated the throne shortly after his coronation. According to Biography, the Duke of Windsor ruled for less than a year.
The former king of Britain was torn between his duty to his country and his happiness when he decided to refuse the throne. He had fallen in love with Wallis Simpson, an American socialite, and married her. Unfortunately, Ms. Simpson was a divorcee, a status looked down upon and unacceptable to the royal family. According to the Independent, Edward VIII, being the king, was head of the Church of England; as such, he was forbidden to marry Ms. Simpson for presumably moral reasons.
As a result, King Edward VIII relinquished the throne to be with his wife, Wallis. The duke’s decision ultimately led to Queen Elizabeth’s reign as her father, King George VI, ascended the throne after his brother, Edward VIII.
Prince William of Gloucester and Zsuzsi Starkloff
Prince William of Gloucester was Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin. Prince William’s relationship with model Zsuzsi Starkloff echoes the old romance stories of tragic, forbidden love.
According to a documentary about the ill-fated prince, titled The Other Prince William, Starkloff was thought to be quite similar to Wallis Simpson. She was a working, single mother when she met Prince William. Twice divorced, a single mother, and older than Prince William, the model did not fit the royal family’s idea of a perfect royal consort.
Unlike Edward VIII and his wife, however, Prince William and Zsuzsi’s romance was short-lived. The couple was eventually persuaded to live separate lives. Despite being apart, the two still talked to each other for several years before Prince William’s untimely demise in an airplane crash. Time seemed to be against Prince William of Gloucester and Zsuzsi Starkloff in the end. The royal family was simply not ready to steer away from tradition during their romance.
Luckily for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, tradition does eventually change with time. The royal family seems to have learned from the relationships described above and have grown to be more accepting of women, despite their past or upbringing. The Suits actress has a lot in common with both Wallis Simpson and Zsuzsi Starkloff, but she has not received the same unwelcoming attitude from the royal family.
[Featured Image by KGC-22/AP Images]