Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan
Royal enthusiasts may finally be getting answers to the questions surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s strained relationship with the British royal family in the new book. Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family.
While the book penned by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand doesn’t hit stands until August 11. Excerpts from the highly anticipated title were released to The Times in July. As a result, a spokesperson for Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, released a statement denying any involvement.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom,” the statement to Us Weekly read. “This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.”
Scobie and Durand have also cleared up speculation that the couple was interviewed for the book. Noting they have spoken to more than 100 sources. Including the couple’s inner circle, past and present palace staff and more.
“The book doesn’t claim to have any interviews with Harry and Meghan. And nor do we,” Scobie told The Times. “I think that you can tell from the reporting, my time around the couple is enough for me to know my subjects.”
The authors have spent time with Harry and Meghan, however. Scobie was one of the three journalists at the Suits alum’s penultimate engagement in March before the twosome officially left their position as senior royals working for Queen Elizabeth II.
“Back at Buckingham Palace, the ACU students now en-route to Westminster Abbey and Harry quietly slipping through the door to say hello. The reality – and the emotions – finally set in as I give Meghan a goodbye hug,” Scobie recalled. “She’s flying back to Canada on the last commercial flight of the day. Eager to be back in Vancouver Island by the morning before Archie wakes up.”
Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step back from their senior royal duties in January. Less than two years after they wed in May 2018. That March, they attended their last royal engagements before moving to Los Angeles with son Archie.
While Prince William has yet to publicly comment on Finding Freedom. A source told Us that he isn’t happy about the book.
“William thinks the book is their calculated way of controlling the narrative and that they took advantage of their entertainment contacts. So they’d be painted in a favorable light,” the source said.
Another insider noted, “Even before the book came out, the bad blood between William and Harry was apparent. But it’s taken a whole new turn.”
Harry and Meghan’s Exes
According to Finding Freedom, Meghan told friends she wasn’t confident that her first husband, Trevor Engelson, fully supported her acting dreams. Noting he liked having Meghan be “dependent” on him. The twosome split in 2013 after two years of marriage.
“’He was used to being the breadwinner, the one Meghan needed for introductions in the industry’. Said a friend of their early courtship,” the book claims.
Meghan dated subsequently Cory Vitiello for two years. While she fell hard fast, per the book, they called it quits shortly before she met Harry.
The prince’s most notable relationships pre-Meghan, meanwhile, were with Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas. “Part of the reason he fell hard for his first serious girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, was that she loved adventure as much as he did, and she was not overly impressed with his royal pedigree … For seven years she and Harry shared a complicated but undoubtedly passionate history,” the book states.
After his split from Davy, Harry dated Bonas from 2012 to 2014. His cousin Princess Eugenie introduced them.
The First Date
Finding Freedom confirms the speculation that Harry and Meghan were set up by Misha Nonoo and Markus Anderson. Their first date lasted nearly three hours and Harry told friends Meghan was “the most beautiful woman in the world” after he saw her in person for the first time.
The Trip to Africa
Harry and Meghan’s romance heated up when he took her to Africa after only a few weeks of dating: “‘I’ve never felt that safe,’” Meghan told her friend, “’that close to someone in such a short amount of time.’”
Harry’s Secret World
According to the authors, Harry had a secret Instagram account, @SpikeyMau5, inspired by one of his favorite DJs Deadmau5 while he was dating Meghan. He reportedly used a mouse-shaped helmet as his profile picture.
It turns out the prince is also a fan of emojis.
“His messages were often short and full of emojis, in particular the ghost emoji, which he often used instead of a smiley face,” the book reads. “For what reason? Nobody knows. But Meghan found his texting etiquette funny and adorable, just like the prince.”
Who Said ‘I Love You’ First
According to the book, Harry dropped the L-Word first within three months of their relationship, “but Meghan immediately replied, ‘I love you, too.’”
The palace wasn’t happy when Meghan was spotted wearing an “H” initial necklace in December 2016. “She was advised that wearing such a necklace only served to encourage the photographers to keep pursuing such images — and new headlines,” the book states, claiming that “the surreal experience of having someone from her boyfriend’s office tell her what kind of jewelry to wear or not to smile at a photographer was too much.”
Meghan reportedly told friends that she felt like she couldn’t win after the disheartening conversation.
Meeting William and Kate
While the book claims Meghan told a friend she “prepared herself for a grilling” when she was set to meet Harry’s brother for the first time, he reportedly told her, “I was looking forward to meeting the girl who has put that silly grin on my brother’s face.”
Kate, meanwhile, didn’t show much interest in meeting Meghan, the book claims, noting that the duchess is a very “guarded” person. “Meghan bought a present for the duchess, who had celebrated her birthday just a day earlier. The soft leather Smythson notebook helped to break the ice, as did Meghan’s cooing over then twenty-month old Charlotte,” the book states. “The meeting ended with Kate letting Meghan know that she was always welcome to contact her if she needed anything.”
William and Harry’s Chat About Meghan
Per Finding Freedom, Harry was “pissed off” when William reached out to make sure that his brother “wasn’t blindsided by lust” when he first started seeing Meghan. William reportedly told Harry to “take as much time as you need to get to know this girl,” which didn’t sit well with the younger prince.
“Some felt it was an overreaction,” the book states. “But then, this sums them up as people — William, the calm and rational one, and Harry, who can’t help but take things far too personally.”
After their heated confrontation, the brothers spent less and less time together, per the book. By the summer of 2017, Harry’s visits with William, Kate and their kids “had come to a virtual halt.” The tension and desire to get space from his brother was also supposedly why Harry and Meghan moved to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
Meeting the Queen
“The inner sanctum of the Queen’s private apartment was not at all what Meghan expected. Not that she really knew what to expect … Meghan knew she needed to curtsy and had practiced a dozen times before that day,” the book reads, noting Meghan met the queen over a 5 p.m. tea.
According to the authors, the monarch liked Meghan: ”The Queen had a level of confidence in Meghan, because as a Palace source shared, she handles these situations flawlessly because she’s always well prepared and respectful.’”
According to the authors, Meghan was given tips from Harry’s team regarding her social media accounts from the early days of their relationship. As their relationship got more serious, the former actress underwent serious security training.
“She underwent an intense two-day security course with the SAS, the British Army’s most elite regiment … Meghan took part in a staged kidnapping, where she was bundled into the back of a car by a ‘terrorist,’ taken to a different location, and then ‘saved’ by officers firing fake guns (the kind used in Hollywood filming) for realism,” the book explains.
Harry and Meghan were reportedly engaged for three months before their November 2017 announcement.
There have been several conflicting reports about the queen’s approval of the tiara Meghan wore at her wedding to Harry. Scobie and Durand alleged that the Queen Elizabeth’s official dressmaker, Angela Kelly, was the one who had issues with Meghan’s selection of the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara while the queen reportedly didn’t hesitate.
Thomas Markle’s Photo Scandal
Meghan’s father opted not to attend her May 2018 nuptials to Harry after he was caught staging photos with the paparazzi.
“He’s vulnerable,” Meghan reportedly told a friend about the situation. “He’s been baited. A lot of the tabloid journalists have been coaxing him and paying him. I don’t know if he really even had a chance.”
Meghan and mother Doria Ragland stayed at the five-star Cliveden House in a $1,900 a night suite on the even before her May 2018 nuptials. According to the book, Meghan was still hoping her father would come after the photo scandal: “’As much as she was hurt and humiliated, she wanted him to be there and was willing to move on,’ a close friend said. ‘Plus, she was worried about him; she honestly wasn’t sure if he was actually OK. His behavior was bizarre.’”
She was happy, however, that Prince Charles stepped in as she felt he was a “second father” to her, per Finding Freedom. Harry’s dad “had taken a real shine to Meghan.”
The Pregnancy Announcement
Meghan and Harry announced she was pregnant on October 15, three days after she sparked bump speculation at Princess Eugenie’s wedding. According to the book, the timing of the announcement ”didn’t go down particularly well with Eugenie” as she told friends the couple should have held off a little longer to share the news.
Meghan’s Assistant Drama
How the Palace Felt About Meghan
Scobie and Durand alleged that a senior royal once referred to Meghan as “Harry’s showgirl.” One adviser was reportedly overheard telling another colleague that “there’s just something about [Meghan] I don’t trust.” The book alleged a third staffer said the former actress “comes with a lot of baggage.”
Why Meghan and Kate Didn’t See Eye to Eye
Meghan’s relationship with Kate got off to a rocky start as they “struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met,” the book claims. While the sisters-in-law were “not at war with each other,” per Finding Freedom, there was awkwardness between the women.
“The truth was Meghan and Kate just didn’t know each other that well … Though it was not necessarily her responsibility, Kate did little to bridge the divide,” the book reads, noting the duchess had little in common “other than the fact that they lived at Kensington Palace.” The book also claims Kate once left Meghan to shop alone during an outing to the same street in London.
The Move Heard Around the World
Harry and Meghan’s decision to leave Kensington Palace in November 2018 made waves — and with good reason. The book confirms reports that the younger prince wanted space from brother William.
The Great Divide
Harry and William’s rift prompted concern for the future of the monarch, according to Finding Freedom. While the palace worried about the popularity with the public, which was at risk if the brothers were at odds, Harry didn’t feel like he was being treated the same as William.
“There had been moments where he felt people working with his brother had put things out there to make William look good, even if it meant throwing Harry under the bus,” the authors claim. “It was a confusing time, and his head was all over the place — he didn’t know who or what to believe, and he and William weren’t talking enough either, which made everything a lot worse.”
The brothers officially split their offices in March 2019. Per Finding Freedom, there was debate over how Prince Charles would split money for their respective projects.
Meghan’s Baby Shower
“It’s fair to say that the optics of the somewhat flashy shower did not go well with certain individuals at the palace,” the book states. “Meghan was often criticized for being too Hollywood, meaning too flashy. Especially for the reserved aesthetic of the monarchy.”
Finding Freedom confirms that Meghan gave birth to Archie naturally in May 2019 at The Portland Hospital in London. PR guru Isabel May is one of his godmothers.
Harry Wanted Out
Meghan was reportedly willing to do “whatever it takes” to make their roles within the royal family work, but Harry was done. “I don’t need to have that movie moment where we get out of a car and wave to a hundred photographers before going into a building,” Scobie and Durand claim the prince once told a friend. “It should just be about the work happening inside. Let’s focus on what really matters.”
The authors wrote that Meghan “opened the door” for Harry to leave, noting their family members didn’t take their requests seriously.
“I gave up my entire life for this family,” Meghan tearfully told a friend in March, per Finding Freedom. “I was willing to do whatever it takes. But here we are. It’s very sad.”
The Decision to Step Back
According to Finding Freedom, Harry and Meghan wanted to find a “happy place within” the monarch, but the prince felt like his family didn’t have his back. The book cites no one in the royal family publicly standing with the couple against in their lawsuit against the British media as an example. The Queen’s office wasn’t happy when Harry and Meghan announced in January 2020 that they were reworking their roles in the family.
“The website took everyone, even their communications team, by surprise. Aides and family members knew the couple wanted to step back, but the public website, which laid out the details of their new half in-half-out model as if it were a done deal, put the Queen in a difficult position,” the book explains.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were “devastated” that the drama went down so publicly.
After the now-infamous family meeting, known as the “Sandringham Summit,” the queen acknowledged that the scrutiny was too much for Harry and Meghan, which meant a lot to him.
Harry’s Current Status With His Family
Harry had lunch with his grandmother in March during his last visit to the U.K. as a working member of the royal family. ”It’s been made very clear they can come back whenever they want, when they’re ready,” Finding Freedom concludes.
The Sussexes relationship with Will and Kate, however, still needs work. “While the couples had been in a slightly better place after Archie’s birth, relations fell apart again in January as the family negotiated Meghan and Harry’s new roles,” the book reads. “William, a Kensington Palace source explained, remained upset that private family matters were made public by the couple. ‘It’s not anger, it’s hurt.’”
That Awkward Last Engagement
It was hard to ignore William and Kate’s less than warm welcome to Harry and Meghan at the Commonwealth Service in March.
“While Harry and Meghan both greeted William and Kate with smiles, the Cambridges showed little response. It was the first time the two couples had seen each other since January. ‘Harry,’ William nodded, ignoring Meghan,” the book claims. “For the minutes before the Queen’s arrival, William and Kate sat with their backs to the couple, only turning around to chat with Prince Edward and [his wife] Sophie, next to the Sussexs. Although Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate, the duchess barely acknowledged her.”
According to Scobie and Durand, the decision for the two couples not to enter with Queen Elizabeth at the event was made “without their consultation.” The Duke and Duchess of Sussex has reportedly felt it was “intentional” that their names were missing from the program.
The Sad Reality
According to Finding Freedom, Harry “had an image of getting married and spending time with William and Kate, the two couples together, their children best friends” before his falling out with William
source: Us Weekly