Here's Why the Palace Is Fuming Over Harry and Meghan's Biography
"If the book is a takedown of William and Kate, they are making a huge mistake," says an inside source.
News that an upcoming tell-all book about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's struggles with royal life has Palace insiders furious with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who reportedly gave their full cooperation in the writing of the book, titled Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family. My sources claim that Harry and Meghan's book is "nothing more than revenge against the Royal family for all their perceived slights and grievances." Palace insiders suggest that the book could have been fueled by "their anger at having to play second fiddle to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge."
In its pre-sale listing on Amazon, Finding Freedom promises "unknown details of Harry and Meghan's life together, dispelling the many rumors and misconceptions that plague the couple on both sides of the pond. As members of the select group of reporters that cover the British Royal Family and their engagements, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand have witnessed the young couple's lives as few outsiders can." According to the Daily Mail, the 320-page biography of Harry and Meghan is set to be released worldwide online on Aug. 11, with the hard copy becoming available on Aug. 20.
Harry and Meghan reportedly gave Scobie and Durand their side of the story long before leaving the U.K. They also allegedly hand-picked a number of their closest friends to cooperate with the authors. "If this book is a takedown of William and Kate, they are making a huge mistake," said one Palace insider. "During that ITV interview, Harry did not deny his relationship with his brother had changed and there seemed to be no love lost between the couples when they were together at Commonwealth Day Services for Harry and Meghan's final appearance as senior royals."
The source continued: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are hugely popular, now more so than ever before. But more than that, [the book] could further damage Harry and Meghan's relationship with the Queen and Prince Charles, who happens to still be financially supporting them. Where is the logic in that? All of this leads one to believe they no longer care about how the British public feels about them and will have left the Royal family to clean up their mess once again."
"It's Princess Diana and Andrew Morton all over again," said another source, referencing Morton's infamous book, Diana: Her True Story, which was written with Diana's full cooperation (although she denied it at the time). "It's a declaration of war on the family. The stunning thing about all this is that the princess was attempting to get the Queen and the Prince of Wales to give her what she wanted—recognition of what she'd done to reinvigorate the monarchy and acknowledge her importance within the family with the Morton book. Harry and Meghan effectively got that and their wish to live a financially independent life. It's highly unlikely anything negative would be said about Her Majesty or the Prince of Wales. What else could this be about other than a very public score settling with William and Catherine?"
Earlier this year, when the news first broke that Harry and Meghan would "step back" from their roles as senior royals, I was told by a Palace insider that the Sussexes "are clearly aware they are more popular outside the U.K. than they are in Britain and have astutely decided there's a lot more money to be made as international celebrities. They want to have their cake and eat it, too. What happened to wanting more privacy? This is all about money."
Finding Freedom won't be the only royal book out there for the public to devour this year. Kensington Palace: An Intimate Memoir From Queen Mary to Meghan Markle by Tom Quinn, is scheduled to be released in September. It includes interviews with several staffers from Kensington Palace and reportedly offers the flip side of Scobie and Durrand's "sympathetic" take on the Sussex's version of events.
An excerpt from Quinn's book published by Daily Mail reads:
When Meghan first moved into Harry's cottage in the Kensington Palace grounds, Kate had been welcoming and both couples had got on well.
"Kate is actually one of the nicest royals, and she hasn't let life in her extremely grand apartment at Kensington go to her head—or at least not too much," said a Palace insider. "She is nice to her staff, in the main, and she was very warm towards Meghan when she arrived. But tensions were bound to arise because Meghan inevitably had to accept that, although she is a duchess, she is not married to the next king. I think she has found that difficult to deal with. And although Harry loved their cottage in the grounds, Meghan was conscious that it was tiny in comparison to the vast apartment complex where Kate and William live."
Harry and Meghan's book revelation comes on the heels of their declaration in April that they will have "zero engagement" with a number of popular British outlets that have had access to the royals for decades. There was also the recent news that Meghan lost the first round of her legal battle in Britain's High Court in her fight against the publishers of The Mail on Sunday over the publication of excerpts from a letter that the duchess wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, in 2018, shortly before marrying Harry. The judge dismissed Meghan's claim that The Mail acted dishonestly by leaving out specific passages from the letter and also struck down allegations that the publisher deliberately "stirred up" issues between the duchess and her father because of an alleged "agenda" of publishing negative stories about her.
"Harry and Meghan's attempts to gain complete control over the media—especially the British press—could badly backfire," said my source. "They can handpick young and ambitious journalists eager to make their mark by writing only positive stories about them, but the Royal family has been doing this for a very long time. They will not stand by if the future of the monarchy could be damaged in any way. We saw that in the Queen's willingness to set strict terms for Harry and Meghan's exit from royal life. They may get more 'independence' than they ever wanted." And for happier moments among the royal family, here are William and Kate's Most Adorable Couples Moments Through the Years.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.