New book on Meghan Markle says she wants to be like Princess Diana

PHOTO: Reuters

LONDON - Meghan Markle has her heart set on becoming "Diana 2.0", according to a new biography of Prince Harry's fiancee that details her lifelong embrace of good causes but also points to a calculating streak.

The US actress, who is set to marry on May 19, is fiercely protective of "Brand Meghan" and sidelines people as she moves ahead in life, according to people cited in the book.

Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, which is due out in Britain on Thursday, details how the 36-year-old Suits star ditched her first husband.

The biography is authored by Andrew Morton, the British royal writer who penned the blockbuster Diana: Her True Story.

Photo: AFP

He also details Markle's fascination with Prince Harry's mother Diana around the time of her death in 1997, watching her funeral in tears.

Family friends said she was intrigued by Diana "not just for her style but for her independent humanitarian mission, seeing her as a role model".

Her childhood friend Ninaki Priddy is cited as saying: "She was always fascinated by the royal family. She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0."

Morton says comparisons with Diana are inevitable, given her humanitarian work and glamorous appeal.

However, he notes the crucial distinction between the timid Diana, who married Prince Charles at 20, and the 36-year-old Hollywood professional.

"In some ways, the groomed and camera-ready Ms Markle was the woman Diana always strove to become," he wrote.

The book also claims that as she finally found success as an actress, Markle shed her old acquaintances - including her film producer husband Trevor Engelson.

Britain's Prince Harry to marry Meghan Markle

  • Britain's Prince Harry is to marry his US actress girlfriend Meghan Markle early next year it was announced Monday, with the Queen leading a chorus of approval and best wishes for the couple who got engaged in secret earlier this month.
  • "His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle. The wedding will take place in Spring 2018," Clarence House, Prince Charles's office, said a statement.
  • The couple's engagement was sealed in London and the prince then informed his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, close members of the royal family and had also sought the blessing of Markle's parents.
  • "The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness," said a message on the monarch's official Twitter page.
  • The couple will live at Nottingham Cottage in London's Kensington Palace, where his brother William and his pregnant wife Kate live with their two children.
  • Harry's 36-year-old bride-to-be is best known for her role as a lawyer in the hit television show "Suits".
  • Reports that Markle, who is expected to become a duchess, was moving her two dogs -- Guy and Bogart -- to London further fuelled rumours of the first royal wedding since William and Kate in 2011.
  • The actress's parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland said in a statement they were "incredibly happy" and wished the couple "a lifetime of happiness."
  • "Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person," they said. "To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents."
  • Prince Harry revealed Monday that he proposed to US actress Meghan Markle over roast chicken, and said she would be "unbelievably good" at her new royal role despite its pressures.
  • The couple said they were enjoying "a cosy night" at home in his cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace earlier this month - "trying to roast a chicken" - when he got down on one knee.
  • "She didn't even let me finish, she said, 'can I say yes? can I say yes?' and then there were hugs," Harry said in the couple's first interview since the announcement of their engagement earlier Monday.
  • They revealed they knew little about each other when they were set up on a "blind date" by a mutual friend.
  • Harry said he had never heard of Markle, while the actress added she was largely ignorant about the British royal family and just asked of their friend, "is he nice?" The date went so well they immediately met up again before going camping together for five days in Botswana just a few weeks later.
  • "Then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure we had a chance to get to know each other," Prince Harry said.
  • They spent the first few months after that staying in, cooking dinner and watching television to avoid any public attention.
  • Bookmakers have already started taking wedding related bets, with Westminster Abbey a firm favourite to host the event and fashion label Alexander McQueen favourite to design the dress.

"Her friends in Los Angeles noticed the change in her now that she was on the way up," Morton wrote. "She no longer had the time for friends she had known for years.

"A networker to her fingertips, she seemed to be carefully recalibrating her life, forging new friendships with those who could burnish and develop her career."

Markle had been with Engelson since 2004 and they married in Jamaica in 2011.

Shortly after their engagement, she landed her signature role as Rachel Zane in the US legal drama television series Suits.

Filmed in Toronto, their relationship became long-distance as she became a star.

The marriage collapsed in 2013.

Another friend said the decision to end the marriage was made by Markle.