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How Princess Diana ‘Set the Stage’ for Duchess Kate and Meghan Markle: She Was a ‘Superstar’ (Exclusive)

Setting an example. Duchess Kate and Meghan Markle have each recognized the impact of their late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, throughout their tenures in the British royal family.

Related: Princes William, Harry’s Heart-Wrenching Quotes About Princess Diana

Kate, 39, and the former Suits star, 40, are duchesses for the modern era, but royal expert Elizabeth Holmes sees plenty of Diana in them both.

How Princess Diana Set Stage Duchess KateMeghan Markle
Princess Diana, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. Shutterstock (3)

“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 HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style author told Us Weekly exclusively on Tuesday, October 5, 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.”

In August 1997, Prince Harry and Prince William‘s mother died in a car crash in Paris. Before her death, Diana was a fashion icon and drew attention for her unique approach to royal life. Her divorce from Prince Charles — who went on to remarry Duchess Camilla in 2005 — was also highly publicized.

“She was everywhere,” Holmes noted. “You know, she became this, like, global media superstar.”

Related: How the Younger Royals Have Honored Princess Diana Through the Years

The Duchess of Cambridge married William, 39, in April 2011. The pair share children Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3, and make sure that the little ones have a positive image of their late grandmother in their minds.

“We’ve got more photos up around the house of her, and we talk about her a bit and stuff,” the Duke of Cambridge noted during the 2017 HBO documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. “And it’s hard because obviously Catherine didn’t know her, so she cannot really provide that level of detail. I do regularly, putting George and Charlotte to bed, talk about her, and just try to remind them that there are two grandmothers — there were two grandmothers in their lives. And it’s important they know who she was and that she existed.”

Meghan, for her part, exchanged vows with Harry, 37, in May 2018 and proceeded to have a rocky transition into royal life. The couple announced their plans to step down from their senior duties within the palace in January 2020, two months before relocating to North America with their son, Archie, now 2. After making their royal exit permanent earlier this year, the Sussexes welcomed daughter Lilibet in June.

“Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet,” a statement on the duo’s Archewell website announced at the time. “Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales.”

Related: Everything We Know About Kate and Meghan's Complex Relationship

While the pair’s departure from the palace caused plenty of debate, royal expert Stewart Pearce previously told Us that Diana would have had her youngest son’s back about the decision.

“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],” Pearce said in June of Harry and the California native, who have used their platforms to promote a variety of worthy causes. “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.”

Diana, a new six-part series, premieres on CNN Sunday, October 10, at 9 p.m. ET.

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