The young ex-royals just might be, the BBC’s Jude Sheerin muses in a deep dive into the two love stories.
The tales started out the same — a “popular, playful prince falls in love with a strong-willed US divorcee, who ends up vilified by a hostile British press,” Sheerin writes.
“The narrative endures that Edward – as has been said of Harry – was a wimp manipulated by an ambitious and demanding lover.”
And the press pilloried both couples, especially the women.
Front page story from The Daily Express of December 8th, 1936Universal Images Group via Getty
Wallis was “condemned as a social climber from a Baltimore, Maryland, row-house, (and) reviled as a cheap adventuress, a lesbian, a nymphomaniac, a Nazi spy and a hermaphrodite.”
Meghan has been slammed as a cold social climber and manipulator who has steered Harry away from his friends, family and royal life.
Both couples looked to Canada as an escape – but only Megan and Harry moved there. Edward and Wallis ultimately ended up in Paris after a brief stint in the Bahamas during World War II.
Another similarity is the duos’ delight with A-listers.
“Like Harry and Meghan,” the journalist writes. “Edward and Wallis hobnobbed with Hollywood royalty, hosting movie stars such as Richard Burton and Marlene Dietrich at their French country retreat.”
Sheerin warns the new ex-royals that they will miss the press and fawning crowds, even though they profess to hate them — and that boredom will set in once they’re no longer part of “The Firm.”
After abdicating, Sheerin writes, “Edward had little to do other than play golf” and later in life “his stories too often began with the words: ‘When I was King…’.”
Eventually, the Windsors “had nothing to say to each other so the contents of the (whisky) decanter just went slowly down, down, down.”
And once they were just regular folks, their love story started fading from the headlines — irking them.
When Simpson first met publisher Charles Pick to discuss her book, “she rose from a chaise lounge to complain about being pushed off the newspaper front pages by Marilyn Monroe…
“In 1966 the duke and duchess took a train to Vienna, Austria, and grumbled about the paparazzi they expected to find lurking at their destination. But an aide noticed they could not hide their disappointment when no photographers materialized.”
Harry and Megan, however, have made it clear they plan to work – either shilling stuff off their “Sussex Royal” brand, although the brand is now in question; giving speeches for well-paying banks like J.P. Morgan; or charity work.
And Meghan has actually made a living — as an actress, blogger and social activist — as opposed to Wallis, who never worked a day in her life.
Edward and Wallis SimpsonUniversal Images Group via Getty
“One was a socialite,” Olivette Otele, Britain’s first female black history professor at the University of Bristol, told Sheerin, “and the other is an independent, successful woman who has relied on her own income to make a living… Wallis Simpson, of course she was mistreated by the British press, but it was never to the same extent [as Meghan].”
Sheerin closes the piece by noting life in self-induced exile could be lonely and hard – especially for Harry, a stranger in a strange land whose popularity is set to fade.
He quotes Shakespeare’s Henry IV, who tells off his son, Prince Harry, for casting off his royal duties.
Henry tells Harry that he has “mingled his royalty with cap’ring fools… For thou has lost thy princely privilege…Not an eye / But is aweary of thy common sight.”