Prince Philip told queen to be wary of Meghan Markle because she reminded him of the Duchess of Windsor, new book says

After Prince Philip died in 2021, Prince Harry said that he, his wife, Meghan Markle and their children would “always hold a special place” for his grandfather “in their hearts.”

But unbeknownst to Harry — or unacknowledged by him — Philip didn’t reciprocate those feelings for Meghan, once saying that the former Hollywood actor reminded him unfavorably of the Duchess of Windsor, according to a new book by Ingrid Seward, the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine and one of the prominent chroniclers of the British royal family.

“One of the few wary of succumbing to (Meghan’s) charm offensive … was Prince Philip,” Sigrid said in an excerpt of her forthcoming book, “My Mother and I,” which examines Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship with her son, King Charles III. “From the moment he detected her apparent similarity to Wallis, he referred to her as DoW (short for Duchess of Windsor).”

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Duke of Edinburgh meet Wallis Simpson (C), Duchess of Windsor, during their state visit in Paris, May 1972. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images) 

In the excerpt, published in the Daily Mail, Seward wrote how the queen, on the other hand, took a liking to Meghan after meeting her over tea at Buckingham Palace in 2017.  “Not only did she like her, she had high hopes for what the American actress might be able to achieve with Harry for the youth of the Commonwealth,” Seward wrote.

But while the queen championed Harry’s American girlfriend, her husband warned her to be cautious, Sigrid said.

“It was uncanny, he told her, how much Meghan reminded him of the Duchess of Windsor,” Sigrid wrote. The Duke of Edinburgh wasn’t just referring to the fact that Meghan and Wallis Simpson were glamorous, American divorcees with long, dark hair. His “barbed” remark suggested that Meghan, like Simpson, could be a disruptive force in the royal family.

Duke of Windsor (1894 – 1972) and Mrs Wallis Simpson (1896 – 1986) on their wedding day at Chateau de Conde, Monts, near Tours, France. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images) 

Elizabeth’s uncle King Edward VIII — later the Duke of Windsor — abdicated the throne in 1936 because he fell madly in love with the twice-divorced socialite and wanted to marry her but couldn’t because he was head of the Church of England, which forbade people from remarrying in the church if their ex-spouses were still alive.

Edward’s younger brother, Elizabeth’s father, felt duty-bound to ascend to the throne, a job that he didn’t think he was suited for. The queen’s mother always regarded Simpson as the “wicked enchantress” who forced her husband into a high-stress position that led to his early death, Seward said.

The queen, who was 10 when her father became king and 25 when he died, “was perfectly aware what Philip meant when he drew parallels between Meghan and Wallis,” Sigrid wrote. “Indeed, much later, she would remark in her clipped way that perhaps Harry had been ‘too in love’ with the American actress.”

Queen Elizabeth never voiced her true opinion about Harry’s wife except to her closest confidantes, Seward wrote. Among other things, she told her friend and cousin, Lady Elizabeth Anson, that didn’t  approve of a divorcee like Meghan wearing such a white, “flamboyantly virginal” gown for her May 2018 wedding to Harry.

The queen also became dismayed by Harry’s “high-handed” attitude before and after his wedding, which left her relationship with her grandson “badly damaged,” Seward said. While Elizabeth continued to love Harry, she never understood why he and Meghan decided to give up being senior working members of the royal family and leave the country. She was left even more upset by the couple’s infamous 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, during which Harry said his father was “trapped” into becoming king and he and Meghan heavily that the royal family was racist.

“She couldn’t condone the way he was speaking about the institution of the monarchy she’d spent 70 years preserving,” Seward wrote.

Prince Harry’s bride, Meghan Markle, in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle for her wedding to Harry, Duke of Sussex, watched by Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Edward, as well as Prince William, King  Charles, Queen Camilla, and Catherine, Princess of Wales. ,(Photo by Jonathan Brady / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN BRADY-/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) 

Harry and Meghan faced criticism for the timing of their Oprah Winfrey. It took place during the weeks when Philip was in and out of the hospital before he died on April 9, 2021. Harry flew to the U.K. from California to attend the funeral at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Meghan, pregnant at the time with their daughter Lilibet, stayed behind in Montecito but ruffled some royal feathers when she issued a press release just before the start of Philip’s funeral to let people know she would be watching from home, The Sun reported at the time. Her press release was seen an attention-seeking move, including in the way it offered detailed information about the floral wreathe she had sent, as if to give a commercial endorsement to the florist who had made the arrangement.

If Harry didn’t know that his grandfather had the “DoW” nickname for Meghan, he can’t be entirely surprised that someone in his family would seek comparisons between his wife and Wallis Simpson. Indeed, Harry revealed in his memoir “Spare” that Simpson’s name came up when he talked to his royal aides about proposing to Meghan in 2017.

Lane Fox, his private secretary at the time, initially warned Harry that he, as sixth in line to the throne, was probably required by British law to get his grandmother’s permission to marry. Fox, referred to as “Elf” in Harry’s memoir, also said that “love often took a backseat to the law” in royal marriages. That’s when Fox reminded Harry of “the furor over a certain king who wanted to marry an American divorcée.”

“Duke of Windsor? Ever heard of him?” Harry said that Fox told him. With that, Harry — “heart full of fear, mouth full of dust” — made plans to go see his grandmother to ask permission to marry Meghan.

When he caught the queen in a private moment during a family shooting weekend, he said he told her he loved Meghan, wanted to marry her and needed her permission. He admitted he was a bit perplexed by his grandmother’s response, not knowing whether she was being sarcastic or was genuinely pleased by his news.

“Well, then, I suppose I have to say yes,” the queen said.

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