KEY POINTS

  • Princess Diana "broke the mold" and "set the stage" in terms of excitement around royal women, a royal expert says
  • Author Elizabeth Holmes sees Princess Diana in her daughters-in-law, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle
  • Royal expert Stewart Pearce believes the late princess would have supported Harry and Meghan's decision to quit royal duties

Princess Diana tragically died more than 20 years ago, but her influence has been evident in her daughters-in-law, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, a royal expert has said.

While Middleton, 39, and Markle, 40, are royals for the modern era, Elizabeth Holmes, author of "HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style," sees plenty of Princess Diana in the wives of her sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

"She sort of broke the mold and she sort of set the stage for everything that we see, in terms of excitement around royal women today," the royal expert told Us Weekly of the late Princess of Wales. "She was young, she was gorgeous. She was standing tall and blonde, and she knew how to play to the cameras."

Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997 after paparazzi chased her car. Before her death, she was a fashion icon and drew attention for her unique approach to royal life.

"She was everywhere," Holmes added. "You know, she became this, like, global media superstar."

Royal expert Stewart Pearce previously told Us Weekly that Princess Diana would have supported her youngest son and Markle's decision to leave royal life.

"They’re really taking on so much of what her legacy is, to bring liberation to the disenfranchised, the disassociated, the LGBTQ+ community, [the] Black Lives Matter [and] Me Too [movements]," Princess Diana's former voice coach said in June. "All of this is within the understanding of what liberation she wanted to bring about in the sense of using her position as an egalitarian or humanitarian role, because people looked on her as being of iconic status the most."

Almost 25 years after her untimely death, Princess Diana's legacy continues to live on in movies, TV shows and fashion. She was most recently portrayed by Emma Corrin and Elizabeth Debicki in Netflix's "The Crown" and Kristen Stewart in the upcoming film "Spencer."

The "Twilight" alum recently admitted that she was so anxious about playing Princess Diana in Pablo Larrain's movie that she couldn't open up her mouth for two weeks before they started shooting.

"I had TMJ [temporomandibular joint disorder, meaning that her jaw stayed shut] to the point where I was like, completely locked up," Stewart told BBC News. "I was like, 'Huh, I guess I'm really nervous - I was really tripping out until we started."

Stewart added that while she didn't grow up following the royal family, she was aware of the late Princess of Wales' influence despite being only 7 years old when Princess Diana died.

"Spencer" hits theaters on Nov. 5. Meanwhile, "Diana," a new six-part series, premieres on CNN Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT.

Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle attend day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2018, in London. Photo: Getty Images/Clive Mason