A new book by the royal reporters Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie chronicles what the authors claim has been a deepening rift between Prince Harry, his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Buckingham Palace which ultimately led to the couples decision to take a step back from public life. The biography has been providing headlines in UK newspapers in recent days after being serialised in the Times and the Sunday Times. So, what have we learned from Finding Freedom?
According to the book, one of the main drivers behind the couples decision was the way they felt Meghan was treated by members of the royal family. One of the authors has said the fact Meghan is a mixed-race American was going to ruffle some feathers within Buckingham Palace.
One senior royal is said to have referred to Meghan as Harrys showgirl, while another allegedly said: She comes with a lot of baggage.
The couple were also reportedly unhappy with the way Meghan was treated by Buckingham Palace staff. Theres just something about her I dont trust, a senior courtier is reported to have said, while an unnamed staffer is quoted as having referred to her as the palaces squeaky third wheel. The authors say the couple grew to trust only a handful of people.
The two couples, William and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Harry and Meghan, were barely even on speaking terms by this March, according to the authors. They hardly spoke to each other during an engagement at the Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey that month, despite not having seen each other since January.
The authors claim that Harry was upset by his brothers advice to take as much time as you need to get to know this girl early in their relationship, which he took to be snobbish and condescending.
The authors add: [William] just wanted to make sure that Harry wasnt blindsided by lust in his haste to get married.
The authors suggest reports of a feud between the two women were always wide off the mark. Rather, they say, the pair simply had little in common. The book claims Meghan perceived a lack of support from Kate, who, in turn, would try to make contact while not worrying too much if there was no response.
Perhaps an unsurprising revelation on its own terms the couple had their own website and sought to register Sussex Royal as a global trademark but the book describes the pairs surprise at courtiers treatment of them as they sought greater autonomy than Buckingham Palace was willing to grant.
As their popularity had grown, so did Harry and Meghans difficulty in understanding why so few inside the palace were looking out for their interests. They were a major draw for the royal family, the book reveals.
Prior to Megxit, the couple were on such bad terms with other members of the royal family that the couple believed them to be leaking stories about them to the press, the authors claim.
According to the book, the monarch was devastated by the announcement on the couples private website of their plans to take a step back. It claims she was put in an awkward position by the plan for a half-in, half-out royal status, which it was felt had been presented as a fait accompli, although it was nothing of the sort.
According to the book, it was known within the palace walls that Harry and Meghan wanted changes to their royal status and had sought discussions with the Queen prior to a six-week trip to Canada at the end of last year.
It says they made the final decision while in Canada and again sought a meeting with Harrys grandmother, but were told she would not be available until the end of January 2020. The announcement, the authors claim, came on 8 January because the couple got wind that a story was due to break in the UK press.
The courtiers blame Meghan, and some family do, the authors wrote. She, on the other hand, felt she had sacrificed a lot for the royals. As Meghan tearfully told a friend in March: I gave up my entire life for this family. I was willing to do whatever it takes. But here we are. Its very sad.
The Sussexes have distanced themselves from the book, with a spokesman saying they were not interviewed and did not contribute to it. The book was described as being based on the authors own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.
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