The Surprising College Connection Between Princess Diana and Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle has a surprisingly sweet connection to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana.

Though Meghan grew up an ocean away from her future royal family, the bride-to-be almost crossed paths with Prince Harry‘s mom two decades before the couple first met. Almost 22 years ago, Diana visited Northwestern University — the very school Meghan attended from 1999 to 2003.

Though Meghan missed Diana by just three years, the royal made a huge impact on the school during her visit in early June of 1996. Diana spent five days visiting the university and the Chicago area where she met with students and stopped by a local hospital. The official reason for her visit was to raise money for the University’s Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center, according to North by Northwestern, since Diana was President of London’s Royal Marsden Hospital and its Cancer Fund at the time.

Diana stunned students and faculty when she stepped out at a fundraising gala wearing a gorgeous purple gown in the exact same shade as the university’s official color.

 

“I asked if she knew that purple was the color of Northwestern, because it could just simply be the royal color, and she just laughed,” former Northwestern president Henry Bienen told North by Northwestern in 2016. “I think she did it on purpose.”’

Diana helped raise almost a $1 million during her trip and seemed to enjoy her time spent there as she was spotted wearing a sweatshirt with the university’s logo a few months later.

  • It’s the event of the year! Be sure to keep up with all of PEOPLE’s royal wedding coverage and don’t forget to check out everything you need to know about Meghan Markle’s perfect style.

It’s a sweet connection between the late princess and Meghan, who was been vocal about making sure Diana’s presence is felt during their royal wedding last year. Harry made sure his mom was part of his special moment by using two diamonds from her collection for Meghan’s engagement ring.

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