One’s British; one’s American. One woman’s life is consumed by duty; the other is about to shatter centuries of tradition and change the royal family forever. Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are both beautiful, stylish, and accomplished women who are living what appear to be fairy-tale lives. But one thing is clear: Meghan is no dupli-Kate.
While Prince Harry’s bride-to-be will undoubtedly be subject to a royal makeover of sorts, it’s clear they’re both very different people and both fascinating in their own right. Here are the top ten things that set them apart. And to learn more about the upcoming royal wedding, don’t miss the Real Reason Harry and Meghan Are Marrying in May.
Sense of style
Kate and Meghan are both style stars and have worn outfits that broke the Internet (Kate’s blue Issa dress worn for her engagement announcement; Meghan’s white wrap Line the Label coat for her photocall).
The Duchess of Cambridge is always polished, put-together, and color coordinated down to the last detail. Not surprisingly, she favors well-tailored, structured clothes from British designers like Alexander McQueen, Erdem and Emilia Wickstead. Kate is also known to rock a DVF wrap dress (but always adds a camisole for modesty). Her Superga sneakers are always spotless and you’ll never, ever see her in a dress without pantyhose or black tights.
Up to this point, Meghan has gravitated to body conscious, sexy silhouettes not unlike the ones worn by her character on “Suits.” She’s been covering up more in public since she began dating Harry, but still favors the bare-legged look and loves lace-up stilettos. Meghan, who famously wore ripped jeans for her first appearance with Harry at the Invictus Games, has also been spotted sporting British wardrobe staples like Barbour jackets and Hunter boots while out and about in London. On her first royal engagement in her long navy coat and black boots, she looked as if she’d taken some fashion cues from Kate. Members of the monarchy have extensive style rules, but here’s another One Thing No British Royal Will Ever Do.
British-born Kate was raised in Berkshire, England (the family briefly lived in Amman, Jordan was she was a child). She comes from a tight-knit family and is very close to both her British parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, who became millionaires when their online party supply business, Party Pieces, took off.
Meghan, whose mother is African-American and whose father is of Irish and Dutch descent, was born and raised in California. Her parents divorced when she was six years-old. Mom Doria Radlan has a master’s degree in social work and works as a psychotherapist. Her father, Thomas Markle, is an award-winning lighting director who has worked on “General Hospital” and “Married With Children.” Meghan’s mother has frequently been spotted with her daughter and accompanied her to the Invictus Games this year. Her father has been described as “reclusive” and now lives in Mexico.
Kate famously attended St. Andrews in Scotland where she met Prince William. She graduated with degrees in history and art.
Meghan attended Northwestern University where she studied theater and international relations. She was a member of the university’s chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
Kate’s sister Pippa is her best friend. When they were both single, they were dubbed by one society scribe the “Wisteria Sisters” who described them as “highly decorative, terribly fragrant, and with a ferocious ability to climb.”
Pippa memorably served as Kate’s Maid of Honor at her wedding to William. Kate, not wanting to upstage the bride, stayed on the sidelines and wrangled the page boys and flower girls (including Prince George and Princess Charlotte) at Pippa’s nuptials to hedge fund manager James Matthews earlier this year.
Meghan’s half-sister, Samantha Grant, is writing a book entitled Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister and has been all too willing to offer details to the media on growing up from her estranged sister (but they never lived in the same house). If we had to guess, we’d say she shouldn’t expect and invitation to Meghan and Harry’s wedding next May.
Since joining the royal family, Kate has been active in supporting many charities and organizations including The Art Room, London’s National Portrait Gallery, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice, and Action on Addiction. Last year, she started Heads Together with William and Harry, a country-wide initiative to destigmatize mental illness.
Meghan is an outspoken feminist who has served as a global ambassador for World Vision and has been an advocate for women with the United Nations. It was recently announced she would be giving up these affiliations and will work with Prince Harry on his personal foundation after their wedding.
Meghan joins the royal family with plenty of experience in front of the camera. She’s been a working actress for years and gained fame from her role on the popular drama “Suits.” Meghan recently left the series days before announcing her engagement to Harry.
Don’t kid yourself, Kate’s an accomplished actress, too. She’s spent the last five years shaking hands, smiling for the camera and making small talk with dowdy diplomats. Although she rarely makes any remarks that aren’t scripted, Kate’s confidence has grown by leaps and bounds from that first skittish interview she gave with William when they announced their engagement.
Kate has been spotted at various events with the family dog, Lupo, a cocker spaniel she and William received as a wedding present from her brother James.
Meghan had two rescue dogs she adopted from a Los Angeles animals shelter, Guy, a beagle and Bogart, a shepherd-lab mix. She made headlines last month when it was revealed she left Bogart behind when she moved to the UK.
Kate didn’t have any long-term relationships before she began dating William. She was cruelly dubbed “Waity Kaity” by the British press for enduring seven years of dating the prince before he popped the question.
Meghan was married to television producer Trevor Engelson. They separated after two years and divorced in 2013.
Circle of friends
When she’s not with William or her children, Kate spends most of her time with her mother and sister. She’s reportedly still friends with people she met while at university, but you never see her with them.
Meghan has a slew of celebrity pals from her television days, including Serena Williams and Priyanka Chopra, who should make her wedding a star-studded affair.
The only presence Kate has on social media comes from official tweets issued by Kensington Palace.
Meghan had a popular lifestyle blog, The Tig, which she shuttered in April. She’s posted plenty of personal photos on Instagram in the past and hasn’t tweeted since March. Here’s hoping she’ll share some photos of her first Christmas with the Queen. And for more on Britain’s First Family, here are 30 Fascinating Facts about British Royal Weddings.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and the author of Imagining Diana A Novel.
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