LONDON—In a stunning historical parallel—or brazen PR stunt—the British media has discovered that Meghan Markle is emulating the secret charity work of her fiancé’s beloved late mother, Princess Diana.
Ever since romance blossomed between the Suits star and royal bad boy Prince Harry, media handlers have sought to position the American actress as a latter-day Diana: the beautiful outsider with a heart of gold thrust into the confines of the stuffy royal household.
The Daily Mirror newspaper reported overnight that Markle has been making private visits to comfort the victims of last year’s horrific Grenfell Tower block fire, which killed 71 people. The blaze was all the more shocking as the public-housing block that was incinerated stood in the same royal borough as Kensington Palace, where Prince William, Kate, Harry and now Ms. Markle reside.
Princess Diana’s hours of secretive charity work always seemed to make their way into the newspapers eventually, and in keeping with that noble tradition news leaked to the papers late on Monday night.
Markle reportedly visited the Al Manaar community mosque in North Kensington, which has sheltered many of those who escaped the fire—and comforted family members of those who did not.
She was accompanied by a member of Prince Harry’s team of aides and a royal protection officer, but no cameramen or members of the media had been tipped off. “Meghan’s visits mean so much to us. She has a special place in our hearts,” one community member later told The Mirror.
Abdulrahman Sayed, chief executive of Al Manaar mosque, told The Telegraph that they had received at least three visits from members of the royal family since the high-profile visit by William and Harry last year.
Kensington Palace confirmed the U.S. actress’s extracurricular activities. “Ms. Markle has regularly been making private visits to organizations as she gets to know the charity sector,” a spokesman said.
Harry’s mother was one of the most successful campaigners in royal history, helping to make it unacceptable for governments to use landmines and working to erode the 1980s’ stigma of HIV. She was also known to sneak out of Kensington Palace—unseen by the media—to talk to homeless people or visit hospital wards in secret.
Markle had a proud track record of charitable work long before she was ever linked to the royals.
Harry will marry Markle at Windsor Castle on Saturday, May, 19.