In one scene of the film, which hits theaters on May 26, Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) tries to guess Ariel’s (Halle Bailey) name after she sacrifices her voice in exchange for legs, Us Weekly can confirm. Eric’s first guess is Diana, seemingly a nod to Prince Harry‘s late mother, Princess Diana.
Eric guesses Catherine next, prompting a dismissive reaction from Ariel. He then concludes that her name is absolutely not Catherine. The line appears to be a dig at Kate, 41, who has had her differences with Harry, 38, and wife Meghan Markle over the years.
The movie’s protagonists have several subtle similarities to real-life royal pair Meghan and Harry as a biracial couple from two different worlds. The Suits alum even previously compared herself to the mermaid princess.
“I was sitting in Nottingham cottage and The Little Mermaid came on,” the California native recalled during her and Harry’s March 2021 CBS tell-all interview. “It came on and I was like, ‘Well, I’m here all the time I might as well watch this,’ and I went, ‘Oh, my God, she falls in love with the prince and because of that she loses her voice.’ … But in the end, she gets her voice back.’”
Meghan’s comments came after she and the Duke of Sussex — who tied the knot in 2018 — stepped back from their roles as senior royals in 2020. The duo have since spoken out about their negative experiences with The Firm and the U.K. media on numerous occasions.
In their December 2022 Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, the Archewell cofounders claimed that the palace planted false stories about Meghan in the press to bury negative narratives about other royals.
“You would just see it play out, like a story about someone in the family would pop up for a minute, and they’d go, ‘We’ve got to make that go away,’ but there’s real estate on a website homepage,” the “Archetypes” podcaster alleged. “There’s real estate there on a newspaper front cover and something has to be filled in there about someone royal.”
As for The Little Mermaid’s apparent nod to acrimony between Meghan and the Duchess of Cambridge, the sisters-in-law have had their ups and downs throughout their relationship. Following the Bench author’s 2018 wedding, reports emerged that Meghan left Kate in tears after a conversation about Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress. Nearly three years later, the TIG founder addressed the alleged incident.
“The reverse of that happened,” she claimed in her March 2021 CBS interview. “A few days before the wedding, she was upset about flower girl dresses and it made me cry. It really hurt my feelings.”
Meghan added that Prince William’s wife “brought me flowers and a note, apologizing” after the tense moment.
Harry, for his part, alleged in his January memoir, Spare, that he once witnessed Kate acting irritated when Meghan asked her to borrow some lip gloss.
“Kate, taken aback, went into her handbag and reluctantly pulled out a small tube,” he wrote. “Meg squeezed some onto her finger and applied it to her lips. Kate grimaced.”
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Despite his estrangement from the royal family, the BetterUp CIO attended his father King Charles III’s coronation earlier this month. Meghan, meanwhile, remained in California with their children: son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 23 months.