Ahead of the former Suits star's upcoming royal wedding to Prince Harry, ET spoke with Andrew Morton, author of Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, out now, who opened up about all the ways Meghan and Princess Diana are similar and different.
"I think what Diana and Meghan have most in common is that they're both glamorous," he shares. "Feminine, but also feminists. They're independent...certainly for Diana, but also, humanitarian. Two women who want to give back."
In his unauthorized biography of Meghan, Morton claims the 36-year-old actress had an obsession with Princess Di, and saw her as a role model. He writes that at age 16, Meghan watched the 1997 funeral of Princess Diana with her friends, and it quickly became a topic of discussion at her high school, Immaculate Heart, in Los Angeles.
"Some people have said that she's got an obsession with Diana. She's got an interest in Diana," Morton, who also penned the 1992 biography Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, tells ET. "When she was a teenager, like everybody else, she watched the funeral. She'd watched videos of Diana and Charles married in 1981. She was affected by the funeral, as many people were, and she and her friends together gathered toys and games and gave them to children who were less fortunate, kind of as a way signaling or recognizing Diana's passing."
Morton continues on, telling ET that he finds it interesting that Diana died at the age of 36, the same age Meghan is now and will be as she officially becomes a member of the royal family on May 19.
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Prince Harry Says Princess Diana and Meghan Markle Would Have Been 'Best Friends'
"In a curious, psychic kind of way, [Meghan] picks up the royal, or the Diana, mantle. She's got a lot to live up to though," he says. "Diana, in her later years, was both a feminist and feminine. I think that's what Meghan's always wanted to be. She wants to be feminine, but also a feminist, and in a way, Diana is a role model. Not just for [Meghan], but for millions of women around the world."
At the same time, Morton believes that if Diana were alive today, she would have taken a few cues from Meghan.
"One of the things Diana always wanted was to be good at making speeches," he explains. "She wanted to be known as a workhorse, not as a clotheshorse. I would occasionally help her write her speeches, [but] the delivery she always struggled with. [I think today] she'd watch Meghan, who's eloquent, relaxed and she's spoken at the United Nations. She doesn't seem to have a nerve in her body, and I'm sure she'd be quite interested in following in her footsteps."
"When Diana was a youngster, she hated to go onstage," Morton adds. "She was very shy and she said she'd only go onstage if she was standing at the back and didn't have any lines. Of course, Meghan loved to be center stage. She loved the spotlight to be on her. And she was an accomplished actress by the time she left school."
While Morton did not interview Meghan herself for his book, he did speak with the bride-to-be's former childhood friends, old co-workers and estranged family members to offer insight into her California upbringing, as well as her struggle to make it in Hollywood. Although some people are now referring to Meghan as "Diana 2.0," Morton believes that despite their similarities, the Los Angeles native will be a royal standout on her own.
"Meghan's been called 'Diana 2.0.' I don't go with that for a minute," he says. "I think Meghan is 1.0. She's her own person. Diana was unique. Obviously, there are similarities, but there are also significant differences."
"I think her motto is going to be, 'Make the Change,' and she will be very positive about moving the royal family forward, getting involved in issues, like she's done throughout her life," he continues. "She'll do it carefully, she'll do it in a considerate way. She'll do it in a thoughtful way. But nonetheless, the royal family in 20 years time will be a very different beast than it is today."
For more on Meghan, watch the video below, and keep up with all of ET's coverage of the royal wedding right here as we count down to May 19.