Meghan Markle's Surprise Revelation Has the Royals "Bracing for the Worst"

The fallout "could do irreparable damage" to her and Harry's relationship with the Palace, an insider says.

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This week, new court documents surfaced in Meghan Markle's lawsuit against The Mail On Sunday that reveal the Duchess of Cambridge felt "unprotected" by the royal family during her pregnancy. The revelation has stunned the Palace, and insiders say they're now "bracing for the worst" when Meghan and Prince Harry's officially sanctioned tell-all, Finding Freedom, is released next month.

The disclosure that Meghan thought "The Firm" had failed her came to light in her battle against Associated Newspapers Limited, publishers of The Mail On Sunday. (She is suing the outlet for publishing excerpts from a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.) The court filing states that Meghan "had become the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles by the U.K. tabloid media… which caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health." The Duchess' lawyers added: "As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself."

This comes just two months after news broke that Meghan and Harry cooperated with authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand on Finding Freedom, which promises to reveal "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." While insiders anticipated the book would likely address Megxit as well as contain less than flattering anecdotes about Meghan and Harry's relationship with Prince William and Kate Middleton, they were fairly certain there would not be anything remotely negative written about Queen Elizabeth.

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But sources now believe the language in the court papers has revealed Meghan's true feelings toward the royals and it's not all hearts and flowers. "This is not a good sign," one insider told me, adding that the fallout from the book "could do irreparable damage" to the couple's relationship with the Queen and Prince Charles.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, royal editor Russell Myers said the Queen, along with the rest of the royal family, will be "very distressed" by Meghan's version of events surrounding the time of her pregnancy as well.

"Her Majesty and the Prince of Wales did everything they could to keep Harry and Meghan happy despite the shock of how they announced their intention to step down," my source says. "Even when things became very difficult, every effort was made. To think that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may offer a very different version of events is quite unsettling to the Palace."

Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by Camilla and Kate Middleton at the Remembrance Sunday and the Centenary of the Armistice in 2018
Andrew Parsons / Parsons Media / Alamy Stock Photo

Last month, my sources claimed that Harry and Meghan's book was "nothing more than revenge against the royal family for all their perceived slights and grievances." Palace insiders suggested that the book could have been fueled by "their anger at having to play second fiddle to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge."

"In a way, the signs have been there since they stepped down," one source says. "The Duke was bitterly disappointed he and Meghan would not get their way to be half-in, half-out royals. They both feel they were pushed out and not appreciated. And, of course, there was their obvious anger over not being able to use Sussex Royal for branding purposes. It's quite clear they want to have their say."

A telling hint of what's to come may be found in a report in The Daily Mail published in April, claiming that Meghan told friends that the royal family would have intervened if Kate Middleton was subject to the constant criticism she endured from the press. A source told the outlet, "[Meghan said] no one would have put up with it, and the broken and outdated system would have been revised. Those outlets responsible for their vicious attacks would have been shut out."

Still, an insider says a scathing indictment of "The Firm" from Harry and Meghan would be ill-advised. "That would have catastrophic consequences for the couple's relationship with the family," the source said. "It's hard to believe Harry would go along with that, but who knows? He has already put a great deal of distance between himself and the royal family. One would hope after everything that has gone on and the public support Her Majesty showed Harry and Meghan after they made up their minds to leave, they would have the good sense to not go there. We'll know soon enough." And for more on Harry and Meghan's post-royal plans, check out How Coronavirus Changed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Royal Exit.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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