Comparison: Edward And Wallis & Harry And Meghan


When Prince Harry announced his engagement to American actress, Meghan Markle, the world was happy for him. However, we also couldn’t help drawing a comparison between him and his great-great-uncle, Edward VIII.

It’s hard not to make a comparison between Edward, The Duke of Windsor and his great-great-nephew, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. Many have compared their wives, Wallis and Meghan. However, we’re going to approach this a little differently.

In order to make a comparison, we need to look at both couples and examine their backgrounds and how we came to our conclusion. While there are some who think it is unfair to compare the two, we think it’s justified given how certain events have played out in recent years.

We’re just here to do a deep dive and draw a comparison. Our goal is not to bash the couples in any way, shape, or form. as we’ve said, there are so many parallels that it’s hard to ignore.

Edward, The Duke Of Windsor

[Credit: Britannica]

Prince Harry’s great-great uncle, Prince Edward, The Duke of Windsor sets our comparison in motion.

As the oldest son of the Duke and Duchess of York and born June 23 1894, Edward, known to his family as ‘David’, was always destined to be king. On November 1 1901, he became the Prince of Wales, the same title in which his great- nephew, Charles – the son of his niece Queen Elizabeth II currently holds. He was awarded the moniker twice. The second time being on June 23 1910.

In 1931, Edward, then titled as a prince, met Wallis Simpson, an American who had been divorced and had then married a man named Ernest Simpson, according to Bustle.

Wallis caused quite the stir when her relationship with Edward, who had become king but had not been coronated became public knowledge. She fled to France in order to avoid the media. Eventually, the monarch was forced to make a choice; his country or the woman he loved.

Edward ended up choosing Wallis and he abdicated on December 10 1936. His younger brother, Albert, known affectionately as Bertie, was then named as King of England on December 11 1936 before he was coronated on May 12 1937 as per Britannica.

Edward’s mother, Queen Mary never got over her son’s abdication. His sister-in-law, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon blamed him for the early death of her husband as he was never meant to be king.

Wallis Simpson

[Credit: History Extra]

Wallis Simpson was born as Bessie Wallis Warfield on June 19 1896 in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania in the United States of America. She was married three times, Her first spouse was Earl Winfield Spencer Jr. They later divorced and she married Ernest Simpson. She then met her future third husband, Prince Edward in 1931 after being introduced by her friend, Lady Thelma Furness.

Edward was head over heels for Wallis, but her status as a divorcee did not sit well with his family. She was the reason why the king was forced to abdicate the throne which prompted his younger brother Albert (later King George VI) to become monarch.

The royal family did not like her and saw her as social climber. Upon Edward stepping down as king and the couple marrying, Wallis became known as The Duchess of Windsor. She was not given the Her Royal Highness style but she was given ‘Her Grace’ instead. Within the Windsor household, she was unofficially known as ‘HRH’ by the staff.

Prince Harry

[Credit: Entertainment Tonight]

Moving over to the modern half of the story, Prince Harry was born as Prince Henry Charles Albert David to Prince Charles and Princess Diana on September 15 1984 as their second child and the younger brother of Prince William.

On August 31 1997, the lives of the Wales brothers changed forever when Diana – who had been divorced from Charles for about a year – was killed in a car accident in Paris. On the day of her funeral, September 6 1997, a 12-year-old Harry walked behind her mother’s coffin alongside William, their father Charles, grandfather Philip, and their maternal uncle, Charles Spencer.

For years afterward, Harry struggled with his mental health and it is often lead to him getting into trouble. In 2016, he met American actress Meghan Markle and as they say, the rest is history.

In January 2020, Harry and Meghan announced they were leaving the royal family to be financially independent. Since then, they have moved to Santa Barbara in the Duchess of Sussex’s home country of the United States with their infant son, Archie.

Meghan Markle

set up' famous words
[Credit: CBS News]

Born as Rachel Meghan Markle to Thomas Markle Snr as his youngest daughter and Doria Ragland as her only child on August 4 1981 in California in the United States of America, the Duchess of Sussex was once an actress on the legal drama Suits as Rachel Zane.

As a biracial woman, she has said that she often struggled to get roles because of her ethnicity. Prior to marrying Harry and becoming the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan was a successful blogger as she ran The Tig for three years alongside acting in Suits.

Like Wallis Simpson, Markle has been married before. Meghan’s first husband was Trevor Engelson, a Hollywood producer whom she dated for a number of years before they wed in 2011. The marriage ended in 2013 with the actress allegedly mailing her engagement and wedding rings back via FedEx.

In 2016, Markle and Prince Harry were reportedly set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. In November 2017, they announced their engagement before they married in May 2018. Meghan’s pregnancy with Archie was announced in October 2018.

Wallis and Meghan: American Divorcees

[Credit: People]

To begin our comparison, we need to jump into the obvious. Wallis Simpson and Meghan Markle are so similar that it’s scary. Let’s look at some of the similarities:

Both are American

Both Meghan and Wallis share a birth country. They are both Americans.

Both women have been married before

Wallis was married twice before she wed Edward. Meghan was only married once before Harry though a rumour has been floating around that she was actually married before Trevor Engelson.

Both were not liked by staff or the royal family

Meghan is believed to have been demanding when it came to palace staff. She is alleged to have fired off texts and emails in the early hours of the morning. She also reportedly screamed at sister-in-law Catherine’s staff.

Also, it’s been widely reported that Prince William wanted his brother to go slow with his relationship with Meghan. However, Harry thought he was being a snob. Even Prince Philip apparently had a say.

Jumping back to Wallis, it’s unclear what her relationship with the royal staff was. However, Edward’s family was less than welcoming.

Their husbands left their families and their home countries for them

The biggest comparison between Wallis and Meghan is that their husbands left their families and homes for them.

Edward gave up the throne for Wallis which did not go down well with his mother, Queen Mary. She blamed his abdication for sending Bertie to an early grave. The prince was basically sent into exile for what he did. He and his wife lived in France until their deaths.

Harry left his family in the lurch when he and Megan announced they were stepping down as senior royals. He has all but become a totally different person in his quest for a ‘better’ life. Basically, he has listened to his wife’s views on his family.

They both use their middle names

One comparison we only just realised is that both Wallis and Meghan use their middle names. Wallis’ first name is actually, Bessie while Meghan’s first name is Rachel, just like her Suits character.

Both women were introduced to their husbands via a friend

The age old story is that Harry and Meghan were introduced by a mutual friend. It appears that Edward and Wallis met the same way. It was Lady Thelma Furness that got them together.

Edward And Harry: Princes

[Credit: Head Topics]

Prince Harry and his great-great uncle Edward VIII may come from different eras, but they have a load of things in common. Now, bear in mind that one was always born to be king. The other was not. We won’t include them leaving their families for their wives because we covered it earlier.

Both are born into the British royal family

The most obvious thing is that Edward and Harry were born into the British Royal family.

Edward was born the first son of King George V and Queen Mary of Teck.

Harry was born as the second son of Prince Charles, the heir to the throne and his first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales. Unlike Edward, Harry was never going to be king unless something happened to his older brother, their father, and his nephews and niece.

Both Wanted To Escape The Royal Bubble

Edward had no desire to become king but it was his birthright given he was the firstborn son of the King and Queen of England. When he fell in love with Wallis, he realised she was his ticket out of the Firm. What his reaction was to his mother blaming him for placing his brother in an early grave is unclear.

Harry, however, was a little different. Being the second-born son of the heir to the throne, he would always remain in the shadow of his brother, also a future king. While he was treated with love by his family, the loss of his mother made him rebel. He enlisted in the military and for 10 years, he was just Harry Wales and not Prince Harry of Wales, grandson of Her Majesty The Queen.

When both Edward and Harry married and later left the royal family, they lost titles and military honours.

Edward was returned to the status of Prince when he abdicated the throne to his brother, Albert (later George VI). On March 8, 1937, when documents were signed, he was given the title of HRH The Duke of Windsor.

Harry only lost his military honours when he and Meghan opted out of the family. This was a massive loss for him given how ‘normal’ he felt as a serviceman.

They’ve both tried to trump the royal family

One comparison that needs to be made between Edward and Harry is now they’ve both tried to trump the royal family when they decisions they’ve made are their own.

Harry is believed to have thrown a hissy fit when Meghan didn’t get the tiara she wanted for their wedding. They both believed they were more popular than William and Catherine and demanded they themselves get the good jobs. In the time since their departure, the Sussexes have taken the limelight away from the Cambridges and the other royals.

One example of this is when Meghan published an op-ed about a miscarriage she had in July on the same day Catherine delivered a speech.

Wallis and Edward had their wedding date placed on the day that would have been King George V’s birthday.

They’ve both had incidents involving Nazis

It is no secret that Edward supported Adolf Hitler. He even introduced Wallis to him. There is even a theory that they plotted with the Nazis to bring down the British monarchy.

Prince Harry, however, got into trouble as a teenager for wearing a Nazi swastika armband at a fantasy dress party. This was never meant to be offensive but the Nazi regime was somewhat troublesome so he should’ve thought twice.

Final Thoughts

High and mighty as these two couples may seem, trying to bring down the monarchy is not right. Whether Edward and Wallis’s attempts were accidental or not, it is unclear. However, Harry and Meghan’s were deliberate. They say they want privacy when they are actively seeking out the media.

If the Sussexes wanted to remain royals, they shouldn’t have quit in the dramatic fashion they did. They could continue to fund their lavish lifestyle without having to be ‘financially independent’.

The drama of Edward and Wallis makes history because it was not considered acceptable for a king to step down for a woman, let alone a twice divorced American. What makes their story the basis of Harry and Meghan’s tale is the comparison between them.

Did Harry and Meghan plan their romance to be the same as Edward and Wallis’? Probably not, but surely they can see the parallels and make the comparison themselves, right?

About Author

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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