Great Britain

Helen Mirren praises Meghan Markle for quitting royal family and says she 'didn't seem to be neurotic'

Dame Helen Mirren has praised the Duchess of Sussex as a “fantastic addition to the royal family”.

Speaking to Variety, the actor also explained that she “applauds” Meghan Markle’s decision to withdraw from royal life, even if it is a “loss”.

“Meghan Markle was a fantastic addition to the royal family – charming, did everything right, was gracious, was sweet-natured, and seemed to be... Wow! What a lovely addition,” the 74-year-old said, adding that Meghan “didn’t seem to be neurotic”.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

The actor, who won an Oscar for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 film The Queen, continued to say that she supports Meghan and the Duke of Sussex’s choice to move abroad.

“I think it is a loss in a way, but at the same time I think their instincts are absolutely correct,” she said.

“And I think it will all, hopefully, sort itself out, and the tabloid pearl-clutchers will get over their trauma at not having someone to attack all the time. They’ll find another victim ... probably me!”

The announcement marked a U-turn in the couple’s plans for their new charitable foundation, as it also comes just two months after they tried to register “Sussex Royal” as a trademark for the organisation when it is launched.

A spokeswoman for the couple said: “While the duke and duchess are focused on plans to establish a new non-profit organisation, given the specific UK government rules surrounding use of the word ‘royal’, it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organisation, when it is announced this spring, will not be named Sussex Royal Foundation.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use ‘SussexRoyal’ in any territory post-spring 2020.”

The couple will officially stand down from the royal family on 31 March and their Buckingham Palace office will close on 1 April.