Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s New York takeover continued yesterday at the World Health Organization’s New York office, where the Sussexes met with global leaders and health experts about vaccine equity, and on Saturday, they’ll be at Central Park for Global Citizen Live, continuing to raise awareness for the cause. They’re co-chairs for the VAX Live concert event, about as high-profile as it gets during this global weekend in New York, with the UN general assembly in session.


Harry and Meghan in New York is bringing up a lot of feelings and memories of Princess Diana, who was always so popular there, and so beloved on this side of the pond, in general. Like his mother before him, Harry is finding his feet as a technical non-royal, figuring out how to put his status and celebrity to good use outside of royal life. Unlike Diana, though, Harry can never really be separate from the royal family, as he was born into it, and Prince Charles and Prince William, both future kings, will always be his family. Also unlike Diana, Harry has a prominent partner in his endeavors, so he does not have to shape his post-royal life alone in the spotlight. (Not that Diana was alone, but she didn’t have a partner beside her in her causes the way Meghan is inseparable from Harry at events like this.)


It’s the same but different, a replay of Diana breaking out of the stiff, unbending world of the royal family only to find that she was every bit as effective—maybe even MORE effective—on her own than she was with the titles and tiaras. But it’s being done this time around by a charismatic couple who are now finding that same power outside the structure of royalty. I have long argued that Harry and Meghan will be much more effective for their causes as simply famous people and not royals, because of the reduction of protocol and no need to remain (visibly) apolitical. This is next-level influence, cultivated by a man who grew up in a global spotlight and a woman who navigated Hollywood and celebrity for years. They know this game, they know their optics and angles, and they are learning what they can do without the shackles of protocol hemming them in. They’re going to be so interesting watch on the world stage as they attend more of these in-person events and summits. It will be impossible not to compare their effectiveness with the royal family. Diana barely scratched the surface of what she could do on her own. Harry and Meghan have a chance to fulfill that powerhouse potential.


Here are Harry and Meghan with the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, because you’re not a real power couple unless ambassadors know you by name.