Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, here seen at the 2022 One Young World summit in Manchester, left their royal duties and moved to California in 2020. Photo: Reuters / MOLLY DARLINGTON Reuters / MOLLY DARLINGTON

Opinions about Meghan Markle have drastically changed since she and Prince Harry left their royal duties in the U.K. in 2020. There were those who claimed she was only after the fame when she married into the royal family, and among them is a childhood friend of Queen Elizabeth II.

Lady Anne Glenconner, who was one of the late monarch's maids of honour at her 1953 coronation, claims that the former "Suits" star did not know what was expected of her when she joined the royal fold. She said the Duchess of Sussex thought she would be living the life of a movie star and that she would be "riding around in a golden coach".

"I think the thing about Meghan was, she had no idea what was expected of her really. I think she just thought it was sort of like being another actress, you know," the 91-year-old said during an interview on the "Rosebud with Gyles Brandreth" podcast.

Lady Glenconner, who was also Princess Margaret's best friend, added that being a member of the royal family can be "extremely boring". She explained that most of their days are spent on "meeting hundreds of thousands of people that you're never going to meet again" and be nice and pleasant to them.

"I think it was very sad and I feel very sad for Harry," she said of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's exit from royal life.

Lady Glenconner then recalled a conversation she had with American politician John Kerry when they sat together at King Charles III's May 6 coronation. She had asked him: "What do you think in America about Harry and Meghan?" to which she said he replied, "We all feel very, very sorry for Harry".

She added: "I think I can just leave it at that."

The socialite echoed the same comments she made about Meghan Markle in an interview with The Guardian in 2020. She said the duchess' mistake was not understanding that all members of the royal family work hard.

She said: "I think she thought she could drive around in a golden coach. But it's actually quite boring. Princess Margaret did so much charity work, and without any photographers, unlike the Princess of Wales." Lady Glenconner admitted that she also finds it "a bit much" for Prince Harry and Prince William to "go on about their mother the whole time".

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left their royal duties and moved to California in 2020 after Queen Elizabeth II denied their request to be part-time working royals and serve in another commonwealth country. In the "Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries, the duke revealed that they suggested a move to South Africa or New Zealand. This way, they would also avoid the British tabloids which can then dedicate its attention to Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Despite stepping down from their royal duties, the couple still continues to do public service because they believe it to be universal. They have since launched their non-profit organisation Archewell Foundation and its subcompanies Archewell Audio and Archewell Productions following their exit. In order to be financially independent from the royals, they signed multi-million dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify to produce original content in 2020.

Aside from "Harry & Meghan," they have released the "Live to Lead" and "Heart of Invictus" docuseries. Their partnership with Spotify ended in June this year after just one podcast which the duchess hosted called "Archetypes". On January 10, the duke also released his memoir aptly called "Spare".

Stepping down from their royal duties meant losing their royal privileges including their security in the U.K. As such, the couple rarely visits the country unless it is for important engagements. Meghan Markle last stepped foot on British soil last year for the funeral events of Queen Elizabeth II. Meanwhile, Prince Harry was recently in London to attend the WellChild Awards on September 7, and then the next day he visited his grandmother's resting place.