Details from an upcoming tell-all unauthorized biography about Harry and Meghan have started to circulate, and as expected, there’s even more to learn about the pair’s surprise split from the royal family earlier this year.
Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family is due for release next month.
It was initially believed that Harry and Meghan had fully authorized the book, but now the pair have stated that they were not interviewed and that the book is instead “based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.” The book is authored by royal experts Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, both tremendous journalists who each have years of experience writing about the royal family.
A few of the details fill in the gaps between what the public already knows and what Meghan and Harry have not yet revealed.
For example, the authors write that Harry and Meghan “liked being in control of their narrative” from the very start and were surprised to learn that they would be required to work under the Buckingham Palace umbrella after separating their household from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s. Harry and Meghan hoped to be allowed to create their own distinct royal brand.
The time was especially confusing for the pair as they were, and remain, a huge draw for fans of the monarchy. “As their popularity had grown, so did Harry and Meghan’s 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 authors also write that Harry and Meghan had to contend with members of the royal households and their staff leaking details about them to the press. This allegation has been raised several times over the years but has not yet been substantiated.
“There were just a handful of people working at the palace they could trust … A friend of the couple’s referred to the old guard as ‘the vipers’. Meanwhile a frustrated palace staffer described the Sussexes’ team as ‘the squeaky third wheel’ of the palace.”
Harry also reportedly felt that the royal family wasn’t protecting the couple, in part because some of the people within the palace “simply didn’t like Meghan and would stop at nothing to make her life difficult.” This prompted Harry to reach out to his grandmother, a move that generally doesn’t casually take place. He spoke to the Queen and to Prince Charles about the couple’s concern before their 6-week trip to Canada in late 2019.
The authors share that Harry felt like he was in a really tight spot: “He felt at once used for their popularity, hounded by the press because of the public’s fascination with this new breed of royal couple, and disparaged back within the institution’s walls.”
Harry and Meghan made the decision to step back from senior royal duties while in Canada.
Harry reportedly attempted to set up a second meeting with his grandmother in early January to tell her of their plan and, one can assume, to begin taking steps toward figuring it all out. However, he was told she was busy the entire month and that she wouldn’t be available to speak to him until the end of January.
When Harry and Meghan dropped their surprising statement about stepping back and revealed their new website, Sussex Royal, just about everyone in the royal family was surprised. The Queen was especially wounded. Harry and Meghan have insisted that they had to reveal their plan early because a royal insider was leaking details to the press. Others have denied that claim, with one source saying that “they were frustrated at the palace in the talks that were going on … They wanted to force the decision, to break it open.”
While aides and members of the family knew that Harry and Meghan wanted to step back, everyone believed the conversation was ongoing. The reveal of the Sussex Royal website on January 8 surprised everyone.
“Aides and family members knew the couple wanted to step back, but the website, which laid out the details of their half-in-half-out model as if it were a done deal, put the Queen in a difficult position.”
A senior member of the household told the authors, “The element of surprise, the blindsiding of the Queen, for the other principals who are all very mindful of this, rightfully, it was deeply unsettling. The family is very private and bringing it into the public domain, when they were told not to, hurt the Queen. It was laying out what the Sussexes wanted in a statement without consulting with Her Majesty first – and she’s the head of the institution.”
The Queen told Harry that the pair’s plans wouldn’t fly, and he then entered in several days of “intense” meetings to try to come up with a new plan. Another source told the authors that money was a huge part of the discussion: “The biggest row was over money, because it always is.”
The book will be released on August 11, 2020. The description promises a brand-new look at the royal pair:
“For the very first time, Finding Freedom goes beyond the headlines 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. 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.”