The Royal Wedding was a celebration that caught the entire world's attention. Millions of people were glued to their TVs, computers, and phones as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said "I do." The day was full of symbolic meaning and every detail seemed to have been chosen for a reason, which is why the Rolls-Royce that was used to bring the bride-to-be to the church on time quickly fell under the spotlight, too. Some commentators are now suggesting Meghan Markle's wedding car has a secret past and once you find out what it is, I'm sure you'll agree that pretty much any other vehicle would have been more suited to the new Duchess.
The luxurious Rolls-Royce Phantom IV that ferried the bride and her mother from the Cliveden House Hotel to St. George's Chapel has such a rich history behind it and was the ultimate easter egg for royal watchers obsessed with the big day. According to reports by the Daily Mail, the maroon-coloured vintage car is in fact the very same car that in 1972 was used to bring American socialite Wallis Simpson to the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Windsor and former King Edward VIII. While it's likely this is just an unfortunate coincidence, it's perhaps a little strange that a car that was used previously to bring a wife to her husband's funeral was the one chosen for this particular task.
To add further fuel to the fire, this isn't the first time Markle and Simpson's names have been mentioned in the same sentence. Despite never having met and having absolutely noting to do with each other, comparisons between the pair have been circulating for some time as both women were American born, and both come from outside the traditional aristocratic circles of their husbands.
Then there's the other matter of each woman being a divorcée. Although divorce is much more common now, back in Wallis' time, her relationship history caused uproar and resulted in many claiming that she was not the right fit for the new king.
Markle divorced her first husband, American film producer Trevor Engelson, after two years of marriage in 2013. Simpson, on the other hand, who went on to marry the Duke of Windsor in 1937, was not only divorced but still married to her second husband when she met the Duke. This became a bone of contention between the couple and the Royal Family at the time.
But despite what his relatives and advisors had to say, the Duke ignored everyone around him and went ahead with the relationship, eventually abdicating the throne in 1936 so he could marry Simpson. The couple stayed married for 35 years until his death in 1972. She did not remarry afterwards.
The bizarre comparisons between Markle and Simpson have tended to focus on the American divorcée detail, but equating the Duchess to Simpson at all seems totally unfair, as the latter was broadly disliked, partly because she was perceived as precipitating a constitutional crisis. Though the two women are undeniably groundbreaking, they share little other in common than the fact they were both divorced, American, and didn't come from a royal background.
Princess Diana's biographer Andrew Morton, who recently published a new biography titled Wallis in Love, believes that both women have changed the monarchy. However, he told Fox News that he thinks it's important that Markle learns from Wallis' mistakes. "Don’t spend hundreds of thousands on your clothes or jewellery and then do nothing other than sit around because people don’t appreciate that," he said. "People like to feel that the Royal Family live well, but at the same time give back." Given Markle's independent background working for humanitarian and feminist causes, it seems highly unlikely that would ever happen.
Morton added: "[Markle and Harry were married] at St. George’s Chapel, the same place the body of Wallis was carried out [of] in 1986 when she died. It’s a very, very significant moment. And it shows how divorce has changed over the last 80 years or so. [But] the huge difference is that Meghan Markle seems to have a sense of wanting to give back, whereas Wallis only ever wanted to take."
Markle is a self-made woman, who before marrying into the Windsor family, led an incredibly successful life dependent on nobody but herself and her talents as an actor. If the Duchess has proved anything so far, it's that she is ready to blaze her own trail and more than capable of overcoming anything that comes her way.