Royal fan or not, you have to feel for Meghan Markle today.

News that her father can no longer face walking her down the aisle (after setting up paparazzi shots for payment) have capped off her horror fortnight with the tabloids.

Heartbreak over her Dad, the poison pen of a bitter sibling and the musings of a porn star aside though, Britain's newest Princess in waiting can take heart that a mere generation ago, Royal brides baked under a far harsher glare.

Markle has had a tough time dealing with family drama in the lead up to the wedding. Photo / Getty Images
Markle has had a tough time dealing with family drama in the lead up to the wedding. Photo / Getty Images

When Lady Diana Spencer became engaged and then married to Prince Charles in a so-called fairytale wedding in 1981, she was only 19 years old. The early eighties were different times though, with different expectations (and clearly, more flexible advertising standards).

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A Royal Wedding was everybody's business, and the bride-to-be belonged to all. Diana and her life were considered open fodder, and judgmental commentary on everything from Diana's childhood and schooling, to dress choices and even her sexual (non-sexual at that) history filled pages of nearly every newspaper across the globe.

When Diana was eight years old, her parents divorced acrimoniously. When the Royal Engagement was announced, there was an antiquated and cruel uproar from conservative quarters who considered that the offspring of a family tainted by the D-word was totally unsuitable to marry the heir to the British throne.

It seems amazing now that these people weren't merely satisfied that Diana was a virgin. We only even know this most personal detail because the hymen-status of the Princess-to-be was discussed shamelessly everywhere from Parliament, to the local pub; it sure makes for creepy reading now.

Both her fashion choices and her sexuality was questioned. Photo / News.com.au
Both her fashion choices and her sexuality was questioned. Photo / News.com.au

Alongside her aristocratic family's divorce scandal, and a perfect lack of 'history' in her own love life, Diana's natural beauty (much like Meghan Markle's) amplified the public and press fascination with her. She was a teenager in a liberty shirt and a V-neck, who in a matter of weeks became the most photographed woman in the world.

With Buckingham Palace's 'ladies in waiting' as her immediate fashion advisers, commentators of the time had a field-day with their condescension.

Diana, as we all know though, had the last laugh here!

Compared to the late, lovely Lady Di, tripping down the aisle in that glorious meringue to her nervous, stuttering beau, the tale of Meghan Markle and Harry looks already to be off to a sounder start.

They're older and wiser to the world than Charles and Diana ever had a chance to be and the true fairytale will be the new Royal couple (and their families) being allowed by the press and public to be a little more human than their parents.