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Disney’s Live-Action ‘Little Mermaid’ Appears To Insult Kate, Princess of Wales

Ryan McLachlan
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures / reesdcyar / MovieStillsDB, Chris Jackson / Getty Images, Charles McQuillan / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures / reesdcyar / MovieStillsDB, Chris Jackson / Getty Images, Charles McQuillan / Getty Images

Disney’s new live-action remake of The Little Mermaid has already stirred up controversy regarding casting. Now, a critic who watched an early screening of the film has noticed an apparent dig at Catherine, Princess of Wales. This subtle dig has added to the controversy and brings Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, into the mix.

‘Ok, definitely not Catherine.’

Kate and Meghan are joined by their husbands, Prince William and Prince Harry, for the Royal family's Christmas day church service at the Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate, December 25, 2018.
Kate and Meghan attending the Christmas day church service in 2018. (Photo Credit: Stephen Pond / Getty Images)

In The Little Mermaid, Prince Eric meets Ariel after she’s given up her voice in order to get to the ocean surface, and he has to try and guess her name. A critic who saw the new film told Page Six, “His first guess is Diana. His second guess is Catherine, but after [Ariel gives a disgusted] reaction, he [concludes] ‘Ok, definitely not Catherine.'”

The critic said, “Disney would be disingenuous to imply those name choices were coincidental.” Diana, of course, is the name of Prince William and Prince Harry’s mother, and Catherine (Kate) is the current Princess of Wales. Kate has been made out by some sources as Meghan’s nemesis in the ongoing drama of the Sussexes‘ exit from the Royal family.

The original 1989 film has always played a role in the controversy surrounding the remake. In the now-notorious 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview, Meghan compared herself to Ariel. She said, “I was sitting in Nottingham cottage and The Little Mermaid came on. And who as an adult really watches The Little Mermaid, but it came on and I was like, ‘Well, I’m here all the time, I might as well watch this.'”

Meghan continued, “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.'” Oprah then asked, referring to Meghan’s situation, “And this is what happened here. You feel like you got your voice back.” Meghan replied, “Yeah.”

Meghan’s previous connection to the film and her narration of the Disneynature documentary, Elephant, have made it clear to some that the name choice in the film is a dig at the Princess of Wales.

The Little Mermaid (2023)

Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid (2023)
The Little Mermaid (2023). (Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures / reesdcyar / MovieStillsDB)

The latest reincarnation of The Little Mermaid is a live-action adaption of the beloved fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Directed by Rob Marshall, the film is a modern adaption of the original, although it retains some core elements of the classic fairy tale.

Halle Bailey portrays the lead role of Ariel. She is joined by Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as the devious sea witch Ursula, Javier Bardem as Airiel’s father, King Triton, and Awkwafina as Ariel’s loyal and hilarious companion Scuttle.

The new film showcases visual effects with a combination of practical sets and cutting-edge CGI. The Little Mermaid will also feature iconic songs from the original film, including “Under the Sea,” “Part of Your World,” and “Kiss the Girl,” which will be accompanied by new songs composed by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

More from us: All Our Favorite Disney Castles Were Based on Real-Life Palaces

The Little Mermaid is set to be released at the end of May. Once general audiences get to see it, we’ll see whether people agree with the critic about Disney’s supposed dig at Kate.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Ryan McLachlan

Ryan McLachlan is a historian and content writer for Hive Media. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Classical Studies and his Master of Arts in History from the University of Western Ontario. Ryan’s research focused on military history, and he is particularly interested in the conflicts fought by the United Kingdom from the Napoleonic Wars to the Falklands War.

Ryan’s other historical interests include naval and maritime history, the history of aviation, the British Empire, and the British Monarchy. He is also interested in the lives of Sir Winston Churchill and Admiral Lord Nelson. Ryan enjoys teaching, reading, writing, and sharing history with anyone who will listen.

In his spare time, he enjoys watching period dramas such as Murdoch Mysteries and Ripper Street and also enjoys reading classical literature and Shakespeare. He also plays football and is an afternoon tea connoisseur.