If the frenzy of excitement caused by the slowly-dripped details of their wedding plans is an example, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are at the top of their game, blazing a trail that seems to please almost everybody.
Fashion-savvy, informal, involved in admirable causes, approachable and obviously in love, the couple are defining their own “low-key” signature style as their popularity reaches new heights, with their seemingly genuine openness about their lives and plans, and their carefully choreographed and fashionably cool public appearances.
After the initial reaction to her American citizenship, her profession, her mixed race and divorced marital status, public opinion seems to have accepted Meghan with a kind of enthusiasm that had not been seen since Princess Diana.
Harry and Meghan visiting Titanic Belfast
She, in fact, is increasingly the subject of comparison with her future husband’s late mother, not only because she’s entering the royal family from “left field,” but because as Diana, Meghan is very aware of the impact she has on the public and seems to share the same effortless affability that made Diana “the People’s Princess.”
“Meghan has demonstrated that she is adept at portraying herself in a positive light,” The Independent wrote in an article on ‘All the ways in which Meghan Markle mirrors Princess Diana.’ “A handy quality to possess when you’ve become internationally recognized overnight.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at the 2018 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London Photo: KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx
The couple is also frequently compared with Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton. But their status is far different, with William and Kate having to adhere to stricter guidelines of conduct in public due to the fact that eventually, he will ascend to the throne. Meghan and Harry appear to have the advantage with less restrictions and more freedom to be themselves since Harry is further down the line to the crown.
Photo: KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx
“The duchess and her future sister-in-law are both 36, yet at times they seem almost a generation apart,” explains Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian. “One represents continuity – a life hard to distinguish, in some ways, from her mother’s – and the other standing for change.”
Meghan Markle receives flowers after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, the largest annual interfaith gathering in the United Kingdom Photo: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth/pool
In her column asking if ‘In Meghan Markle, will Britain get a sleeping beauty or our first woke princess,’ Hinsliff draws a parallel between Markle and Ariel, the “wannabe” princess in The Little Mermaid, who starts off as an adventurous, even rebellious character, but something changes when she falls for a human prince, and has to surrender her voice in exchange for a human body to be more desirable to the object of her love. Markle comes out looking very much above the fictional princess.
Harry and his fiance are greeted by flag-waving schoolchildren at an event for young women during International Women’s Day in Birmingham, England earlier this month Photo : AP/Matt Dunham
Photo: Hannah McKay/Pool via AP
“She even used her first joint public engagement with Princess Ariel – sorry, the Duchess of Cambridge, to praise the Time’sUp and #MeToo campaigns” quips Hinsliff. “Only 40 years or so after everyone else, it seems, the royal family has finally been alerted to the existence of feminism.”
Harry and Meghan at Millennium Point in Birmingham at an event to inspire the next generation of young women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Photo KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx
Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images
Photo: KGC-107/STAR MA X/IPx
Other columnists and royal observers generally agree that Markle has been successful in keeping true to herself, and that her fresh and open American style has a visibly positive effect on Harry and even on other young members of the royal family.
“The deliberate public engagement by Meghan and Harry is in marked contrast to William and Kate, who have a reputation for attempting to guard the most insignificant details of their private life with an enthusiasm bordering on paranoia,” writes royal correspondent Tom Sykes.
For Sykes, the decision by Harry and Meghan to share such harmless details like the flavor of their wedding cake with the public “indicates an acute understanding of how to engage fans and win support and shows them ready to use social media to make people feel included in the day’s events.”
When they issued, via the official Kensington Palace twitteraccount, the information about the elderflower-and-lemon cake decorated with fresh flowers to be served at the wedding reception, and named the bakery – a fashionable East London place Meghan had interviewed when she ran her lifestyle blog, The Tig – the news went viral.
Since then, the bakery has become the city’s trendiest place to have a cake made.
Harry and Meghan meet Major Mark Wilkinson and regimental mascot Cruachan IV during a walk on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle in February Photo: James Glossop/ WPA Pool/Getty Images
A walk through the corridors of the Palace of Holyroodhouse on their way to a reception to celebrates youth achievements, marking Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 Photo: Andrew Milligan /AFP/Getty Images
Other, more relevant information has also been shared with the public. Prior to the wedding, Meghan will be baptized and confirmed as a member of the Church of England. She’s also going through the rigorous process of becoming a British citizen at the same time she’s being prepared for the details of court ceremony, royal manners, etiquette and diplomacy.
Attending the “Endeavour Fund Awards” Ceremony at Goldsmiths’ Hall on February in London. The awards celebrate the achievements of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women who have taken part in remarkable sporting and adventure challenges throughout the year. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
Sykes gives the credit for the media savvy to Meghan. “Harry has previously spoken about how much he hates social media while Meghan was an enthusiastic digital native before she deleted her accounts after getting engaged to Harry.”
Prince Harry and his fiancée greeting well-wishers on arrival at Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales in January for a day showcasing Wales’s culture and heritage Photo: Arthur Edwards/AFP/Getty Images
According to the Daily Mail “she is bringing him up and making him look like a star,” and he, according to an image expert consulted for the article, is basking under her care and “cannot believe his luck while she looks simply besotted.”
And then there is the fashion effect – particularly Meghan’s, already known as the “Meghan effect” – as was the case with the Duchess of Cambridge and her global influence in the fashion industry, known as the Kate Effect.
-Harry and Meghan visiting Reprezent 107.3 FM, a London-based training program established in response to the rise in knife crime, to help young people develop and socialize through radio Photo: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images
Markle has made very few faux pas with her attire, shoes, hats and jewelry. Refined and elegant, with a right touch of modern “rebellion,” her fashion choices are carefully observed and followed by her millions of fans around the world.
The clothes she wears for various public events and their recent foreign trips together have been immediately snapped up online or at stores. Indeed, there are online sites dedicated precisely to informing the public of the brands and the places where those items can be bought.
Meghan, Kate, Prince Harry and Prince William at the first annual Royal Foundation Forum in London Photo: Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Undoubtedly, her “soft power” is already enormous considering the circumstances. What many experts wonder is whether, after the novelty of her arrival settles and the noise and excitement around the wedding passes, Harry and Meghan will be able to maintain their popularity and the public fervor that would help them keep their modernization agenda.
Meghan and Harry leaving a former Victorian gin palace owned by the National Trust, in Belfast Photo: Gareth Fuller/Pool/Getty Images
A tea cup bearing the initials H and M which forms part of the new o fficial range of