Once upon a time, princesses in common folklore and Disney films were rather passive, always needing to be rescued from some predicament by a handsome, brave, pro-active prince: Aurora, Snow White and Ariel all spring to mind, as do Cinderella and Rapunzel, who married into royalty.

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle

However, towards the end of the last century (the 1960s, to be precise), things began changing for women: the birth control pill, the feminist movement, the equal pay act, and the fact that more women than ever before were obtaining university degrees and taking on jobs once considered male-only, forced Society/the Western world to recognise the inherent strength, capabilities and growing financial independence of the female sex.

Disney films in particular began to reflect this change: Pocahontas, Mulan, Jasmine and Merida were a new breed of princess, feisty, clever, talented and quite capable of rescuing themselves. Tiana and Belle were the non-royal equivalents.

In today’s world, a real-life Princess needs the following six traits, and to mark the premiere of Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance leading psychologist Donna Dawson has unveiled exactly why these characteristics are so important to the role:

Self-Confidence: also known as ‘grit’, inner strength, and a ‘can do’ attitude. Today, a prince is more of a PR man for the “Firm” (royal family), spending his days visiting the people and supporting their causes, both physically and emotionally. He needs a partner who can share this work with him, who isn’t afraid to be constantly on public display – especially with social media. However, ‘self-confidence’ for today’s princess is also about knowing who she is and what she has to offer, and never losing sight of that.

Diplomacy: A princess who can handle people tactfully, appear interested when she isn’t, laugh at jokes that aren’t funny, and never show irritation is a ‘must’ in today’s world. This also means never losing her temper in public.

A Down-to-Earth Attitude: A princess should never act like the ‘spoiled princess’ prototype, but have an understanding and an empathy for how ordinary people live, share their interests, and show a willingness to ‘rough it’, if necessary.

Sense of Humour: This trait, appreciated in itself, is even more important when things go wrong, as it defuses stress for everyone involved. The ability to laugh at one’s self is even more endearing when that person is a ‘Royal’.

Adaptability: Being able to go with the flow is very important. This means not being thrown when things change; and being as comfortable on her own as she is in a room full of strangers.

A Balanced Outlook: this means sharing the interests of her prince (if she has one), but also having her own interests and passions; being able to give and to receive emotional warmth, but without being emotionally needy and demanding; and being able to lend a hand, cooperate and compromise when needed, but also remaining her own person.

These six traits may appear to be a tall order, but in order to be left to enjoy the privileges and perks that come with a royal life, we expect today’s modern princess to first earn our love and respect.

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance is executive produced by Merideth Finn and Michele Weiss. Menhaj Huda directs from a script by Scarlett Lacey and Terrence Coli. Harry and Meghan are played by Parisa Fitz-Henley and Murray Fraser who are best known for their roles in Jessica Jones (Fitz-Henley) and The Loch (Fraser).

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance premieres on 14th May 2018 at 9pm, on Lifetime, available on Sky 156, Virgin 208, TalkTalk 329 and BT 329