KEY POINTS

  • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, like Princess Diana, upstaged other members of the royal family, a report says
  • The couple made Prince William and Kate "seem dowdy, suburban and rather dull," royal author Anna Pasternak says
  • She suggested that this was a problem for the royal family

The royal family may have had a problem with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's influence and glamour overshadowing those of the future king and queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton, a report says.

Prince Harry and Markle's strained relationship with the royal family has drawn attention once more following their bombshell tell-all with Oprah Winfrey. In Vanity Fair's May 2021 Issue, Michelle Ruiz delved into the royal family's "continental rift," and royal experts drew parallels between the Sussexes and Princess Diana in the way they upstaged the royals who were supposed to be the center of attention.

"The princess had everything going for her except the ability to not upstage the prince," Prince Charles' valet Stephen Barry once said of the late Princess of Wales.

Royal author Anna Pasternak told Vanity Fair that "Harry and Meghan were suddenly too electric."

"They made the Cambridges seem dowdy, suburban and rather dull. That does not go down well in the palace," said the author of "The Real Wallis Simpson: A New History of the American Divorcee Who Became the Duchess of Windsor."

When Markle joined the royal family, the duchess hit the ground running, Ruiz noted. She was praised for being able to adjust to the royal life immediately while also earning a number of critics, but there was no denying that she and Prince Harry attracted huge attention.

However, their ability to take focus away from Prince William may have led the monarchy to believe they were a threat, Ruiz noted.

"If they’re too sparkly, the palace, like a sullen teen, gets jealous and resentful. It’s a no-win predicament familiar to women, and women of color in particular: You’re either too much or never enough," Ruiz wrote.

The Firm's alleged lack of support for Markle only pushed the monarchy into an "existential crisis."

"The queen is a figurehead for an empire that refuses to understand that its days are gone," said Kelechi Okafor, London-based host of the "Say Your Mind" pop culture podcast. "Diana came along…and then Meghan Markle came along, and everything started to fall to pieces."

Last week, Prince Harry reunited with the royal family for the first time since he and Markle moved to California following their decision to step back as working royals. He joined his family for the procession into St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, where Prince Philip's funeral was held.

Royal expert Katie Nicholl earlier told Entertainment Tonight that the royal family and their associates hoped that his return would be "the beginning of the thawing of the rift between William and Harry."

"We all know that it has not been an easy year, we know about the royal rift at the heart of the monarchy," she said. "We know that William and Harry have had a lot of problems over the past year and not least in the last month in the fallout of Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview. But I think the feeling certainly amongst senior royals and those who know the royals well, is that this will be an opportunity for the brothers to be together, to spend some much-needed time together."

Prince William, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Pictured [L-R]: The Duke of Cambridge, Duke of Sussex, Duchess of Sussex and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Westminster Abbey to attend a service to mark the centenary of the Armistice on Nov. 11, 2018 in central London. Photo: Paul Grover/AFP/Getty Images