Once upon a time — in 1936, to be exact — a king who had once been a popular prince gave up the British throne to marry an American divorcée he had fallen madly in love with.
Fast-forward 84 years and a similar story played out in the British tabloids, albeit with a few different key details. Prince Harry is not a king, he was allowed to marry the American divorcée he loved, and his initial decision to take a “step back” from the royal family likely won’t change the succession to the throne.
And yet, there are still many similarities in the stories of King Edward VIII and Prince Harry, both of whom watched as their popularity in the press turned to intense scrutiny as they fell in love with American women.
“Charming and informal, he was a popular prince touring Britain and the empire, fond of golf, tennis, parties, and dancing,” according to The History Press.
When Edward died in 1972, The New York Times remembered him as a “romantic and carefree Prince Charming blessed with the common touch” during his youth.
“Edward VIII had been a king of great popularity. The abdication that caused a worldwide sensation visibly distressed his subjects,” the Times’ Robert Alden added.
Fresh off his fairytale wedding to Meghan Markle, Prince Harry actually topped a royal poll in 2018. He was deemed likable by 77% of respondents in the YouGov poll, followed by the Queen (74%), and Prince William (73%).
Survey respondents described him as “admirable, likable, humorous, fun-loving, and genuine.”
Prince Harry fell to the second spot in the same survey in 2019, but was still deemed likeable by 71% of the respondents. Prince William came in third with 69%.