Times Harry And Meghan Tried To Be Exactly Like Barack And Michelle Obama

Before he married Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, became friends with Barack and Michelle Obama. Harry first met Barack in 2015, when the duke was visiting the U.S. as part of his involvement with the Invictus Games. Harry then reconnected with the then-president and first lady when they visited the U.K. a year later. The prince and Barack had a mutual enthusiasm for promoting young leaders. As a result, Harry lent his support to an Obama Foundation summit, and he interviewed Barack for the BBC. 

In 2018, Meghan's relationship with Michelle began when she met up with the former first lady in London during her "Becoming" book tour. After the event, the two women had an intimate chat. They bonded as mothers and as women passionate about supporting girls' education. A year later, Michelle gladly participated in a British Vogue interview conducted by the Duchess of Sussex.

Even before Meghan and Michelle were friends, the former first lady was generous about sharing strategies for public life. Through a 2019 Good Housekeeping article, Michelle provided advice to help Meghan adjust to her royal responsibilities. After Harry and Meghan stepped back from their royal roles, Michelle and Barack were ready and willing to counsel them on how to move forward, based on their own post-White House experiences. Harry and Meghan revere the Obamas and their success, and sometimes their efforts go beyond inspiration to emulation, even to the point of matching them in the most minute details. 

The Sussexes matched the Obamas in media deals

Post-Buckingham Palace life, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, followed in Barack and Michelle Obama's footsteps and pursued multiple media outlets. In 2020, the Sussexes signed a five-year, $100 million contract with Netflix. Two years earlier, the Obamas had committed to a $50 million agreement with the streamer. Over five years, Barack and Michelle's company, Higher Ground Productions, produced 17 different selections, including a children's series called "Waffles + Mochi." In contrast, the Sussexes have had three offerings in three years: "Live to Lead," "Harry & Meghan," and "Heart of Invictus." In a massive setback for Meghan, her proposed Netflix children's series, "Pearl," was canceled in May 2022.

Like the Obamas, Meghan and Harry also signed agreements with Spotify. After their 2019 deal with the company, Michelle and Barack each launched their own podcasts. However, by May 2022, the Obamas announced they were parting ways with Spotify after their contract ended in October. Two months later, the couple had already signed a different deal with Audible.

Harry and Meghan signed with Spotify in 2020, contributing a holiday program as well as the duchess' "Archetypes" podcast. By June 2023, they too, ended their ties with the audio-streamer, without Harry having an opportunity to develop a podcast of his own. In addition, the company's breakup with the Sussexes was far more acrimonious, with one Spotify exec using brutal words when he felt the couple didn't deliver on programming.

Meghan has mimicked Michelle's outfits

Both Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and former first lady Michelle Obama are paragons of style. Sometimes, both women have been drawn to similar brands, like J. Crew, Jason Wu, and Givenchy. In other instances, Meghan's look is nearly identical to Michelle's. Both women have been spotted wearing a sleeveless bright yellow dress, although Meghan's had a longer hemline.  This twinning might also be due to their choice of stylists. Brandon Maxwell, the designer of Meghan's yellow dress, has also worked with Michelle. In addition, Maxwell later divulged that the dress's color was not quite what he originally envisioned, even though it isn't clear if he meant the brightness of the yellow or if he was intending a completely different color. 

In another example, when she visited a school in September 2021, Meghan's burgundy suit looked comparable to the outfit Michelle wore to President Joe Biden's inauguration in January that year. With its similar hue and flowing pants, some users of X, formerly known as Twitter, claimed Meghan was copying Michelle.

Meghan closely followed one of Barack's birthday ideas

Meghan Markle and Barack Obama happen to have the same birthday: August 4. However, in 2021, the Duchess of Sussex extended the similarities with a charitable giving idea comparable to Barack's birthday plans. For her 40th birthday, Meghan helped women in need with "40 x40." "I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 MINUTES OF MENTORSHIP to support women re-entering the workforce," Meghan wrote on her Archewell foundation website.

For his milestone 60th birthday in 2021, Barack had a "60 for 60" fundraiser. In his case, he requested individuals donate $6, $60, or $600 to his Obama Foundation to support the Obama Presidential Center. Besides money, Barack also encouraged people to give their time in increments of 60 seconds or 60 minutes. 

In addition, both Meghan and Barack also had much smaller scale celebrations that year, although in this case, it was Barack who ultimately had to follow in Meghan's footsteps. In the years' prior, the Duchess of Sussex had favored intimate birthday celebrations, and she continued this practice in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast, the Obamas planned a sumptuous celebration on Martha's Vineyard. However, they cancelled it at the last minute due to concerns about the virus. While Barack was eager to proceed and take precautions like holding the party outdoors, he was eventually persuaded to limit the celebration to only family and a few friends.