Comparing Meghan Markle to Grace Kelly: Exploring the Key Similarities and Differences

Meghan Markle’s journey often feels like a modern fairytale—an acclaimed actress crosses paths with a prince, leading to marriage and the start of a family. Renowned for her portrayal of Rachel Zane in “Suits,” a role she held for seven of the show’s nine seasons, Markle’s career spanned beyond acting, encompassing endeavors in fashion, calligraphy, and lifestyle influencing. Upon her engagement to Prince Harry, Markle announced her retirement from acting to fully commit to her role as a member of the royal family.

Yet, while Markle’s narrative embodies a contemporary fairytale romance, she is not the first woman to tread such a path. In the 1950s, American actress Grace Kelly embarked on a strikingly similar journey. Revered as one of Hollywood’s luminaries, Kelly enjoyed a brief but prolific career in film, spanning just six years. Despite its brevity, she left an indelible mark, starring in over a dozen movies and earning prestigious accolades such as an Academy Award and Golden Globe.

After establishing herself as a prominent figure in Hollywood during her brief acting career, Grace Kelly crossed paths with Prince Rainier III of Monaco at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955. Captivated by the charming prince, Kelly made the heartfelt decision to prioritize love over her career, bidding farewell to Hollywood and assuming the role of Princess of Monaco. Together, she and Rainier welcomed three children: Caroline, Princess of Hanover; Albert II, Prince of Monaco; and Princess Stéphanie.

While Meghan Markle has been a member of the royal family for only a few years, the parallels between her and Kelly are striking. Let’s delve into their similarities and differences.

Capturing the Hearts of Real-Life Princes

Apart from both being renowned American actresses who met real-life princes, Meghan Markle and Grace Kelly shared whirlwind romances that swiftly blossomed.

Grace Kelly, hailed as one of Hollywood’s luminaries, enjoyed a remarkably brief stint as a film star, spanning just six years. Notable highlights from her acting career include “Mogambo,” which earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, and “The Country Girl,” for which she received an Oscar in the same category. Additionally, Kelly graced the screen in three Alfred Hitchcock classics— “Dial M For Murder,” “Rear Window,” and “To Catch a Thief,” alongside Cary Grant. Her portrayal of Princess Alexandra in “The Swan” further solidified her cinematic legacy.

During the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, Kelly was approached by fellow actress Olivia de Havilland, who suggested she meet Prince Rainier III, a friend of de Havilland’s husband. Kelly agreed, contingent upon approval from her film studio, MGM, during her professional trip. Following a series of fortuitous events, Kelly encountered the prince at his Monaco palace, leading to the start of their iconic romance. Reflecting on Kelly’s demeanor upon her return from meeting Rainier, de Havilland later remarked to People magazine, “I guessed things had gone wonderfully well by Grace’s manner upon returning from her presentation to Rainier. … She was in a state of enchantment.”

Similarly, Meghan Markle found herself set up on a blind date with her prince. Introduced by a mutual acquaintance, the couple candidly discussed their initial encounter during their engagement interview. When asked when he knew Markle was the one, Prince Harry promptly replied, “The very first time we met.”

Both Left Behind Hollywood In Pursuit Of Love

Grace Kelly, Prince Rainier (1949), (SSPL/Getty Images)

Grace Kelly’s acting career was indeed remarkably short, yet highly impactful, culminating in an Oscar win for her performance in “The Country Girl.” Some argue that she had already reached the pinnacle of her career in that brief span, making it perhaps easier for her to bid farewell to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood upon marrying Rainier in April 1956.

Moreover, Kelly didn’t just depart from the film industry; she also left her homeland, relocating to Monaco, nestled on the French Riviera along the Mediterranean Sea, where she and Rainier raised their three children.

In contrast, Meghan Markle, though not an Oscar nominee, had established a solid career in Hollywood, particularly with her role on “Suits” and various Hallmark movies. Following her engagement to Harry, Markle chose to transition from her acting career to a full-time role as a working royal. However, she emphasizes that she didn’t view it as giving anything up but rather as making a transformative change.

Similar to Kelly, Markle embraced motherhood soon after marrying her prince, welcoming Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in May 2019 and Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor in June 2021.

One notable difference between Kelly and Markle is that the latter’s tenure as a working royal was relatively short-lived, with her and Harry announcing their intention to step back from their roles in early 2020. However, their circumstances differed, as Rainier ascended the throne, while Harry was positioned in the line of succession but not expected to become king.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle (2017), (Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Humanitarian, Charitable And Fashion Icons

Princess Grace, Princess Stéphanie, Prince Rainier, Princess Caroline, Prince Albert (1966), (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)

Indeed, Grace Kelly and Meghan Markle share a deep commitment to humanitarian causes, with Kelly advocating for children’s rights and serving as the president of the Red Cross in Monaco.

Beyond their philanthropic endeavors, both Kelly and Markle are celebrated for their impeccable sense of style. Kelly’s fashion legacy began during her acting days, where she consistently dazzled in elegant gowns. As a princess, she continued to showcase her love for fashion by embracing local Monaco designers.

Similarly, Markle’s dedication to charitable work is evident through her establishment of the Archewell Foundation with Harry, as well as her ongoing involvement in humanitarian efforts even before her royal status. Her fashion influence is undeniable, with her outfits setting trends and her former blog, The Tig, serving as a platform to showcase her impeccable taste. Since becoming a royal, Markle’s stylish ensembles have consistently garnered attention and admiration.

Both Kelly and Markle are revered as fashion icons, renowned for their timeless elegance and influential sense of style. Despite their differences in residence, with Markle now residing in Montecito, California, the parallels between the two actresses far outweigh any distinctions.


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