PEOPLE Looks at the Real Lives of the Royal Women in a New Special Edition

The Queen, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more: The truth about the women of Windsor today

The Royal Family Attend Church On Christmas Day
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images

What’s it like to be a new member of the British royal family? Not what you might expect, friends of Meghan Markle recently told PEOPLE. “There’s a false assumption that she lives in some gilded palace with staff and ladies-in-waiting and all these royal perks,” says a close confidant of the actress-turned-duchess. “It’s simply not true.”

Now, in a new special edition, Royal Women: The Windsors’ Lives Today, PEOPLE delves into what it’s really like to be part of the family, for those women who married in, and those who were born to their titles.

The 96-page, photo-filled issue looks at how Meghan Markle and Princess Kate are making the monarchy modern: from the new Duchess of Sussex writing her own speeches and pushing traditional style boundaries, to Kate’s refreshing candor about the challenges of being a mother of three, as she furthers the public conversation about mental health.


Need proof things are different at the palace? Even Queen Elizabeth is Skyping with her grandkids now and, at 92, has no plans to step down from the throne. “The fact that she maintains a sense of duty at an age when most people are retiring, or at least slowing down, is quite remarkable,” noted senior royal aide. “She’s incredibly disciplined.”

Queen Elizabeth Attends Sunday Service At St Peter & St Paul Church In West Newton
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

This special edition of PEOPLE revisits the celebrated friendship of Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York. More than a generation ago, these two young royal brides captivated the public with their passion for fun and rule-breaking. “Nobody made me laugh like her,” says Sarah Ferguson of Diana, whose memory is frequently honored by the daughters-in-law she never had the chance to meet.

Diana And Sarah Watching Polo
Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson. Tim Graham/Getty Images

And while fans of the Netflix hit The Crown know about Princess Margaret’s doomed affair with Peter Townsend, here People looks at her life on the Caribbean island of Mustique—where she found joy during her troubled marriage to Lord Snowdon, and partied with celebs like Mick Jagger.

Plus: The low-key lives of Princess Anne and daughter Zara Tindall (no titles for her, thank you); the busy lives of Fergie’s daughters Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, and the former Camilla Parker-Bowles’ road from Prince Charles’ mistress to future Queen Consort—how she won over Queen Elizabeth, William and Harry, and a once-skeptical public with her positive attitude: “People are either glass half-empty or half-full,” the Duchess of Cornwall has said. “You just have to get on with it.”

Finally: Jewels! A magnificent gallery of the gems the women of Windsor loan, borrow, swap, and rock.

Royal Women: Inside the Windsors’ Lives Today is available now on Amazon and wherever magazines are sold

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