Harry and Meghan will never resume official roles following the bombshell biography laying bare their rift with the Royal Family and their extraordinary secret courtship where the couple became ‘obsessed’ with each other and knew they would marry after the second date.
The couple have ‘torpedoed’ any chance of creating a new position with the help of the Queen and senior royals when their ‘trial period’ in the US ends, sources believe.
The book, which reveals their soured relationship with the monarchy in excruciating detail, is likely to scupper any hopes of renegotiating their royal duties when ‘Megxit’ is reviewed.
The revelations will also harm efforts to repair their rift with Harry’s brother William and sister-in-law Kate, it is feared. A royal household source said: ‘The door will always be open to them as much-loved members of the family. But it’s hard to see how they can now salvage the new role they wanted as ‘hybrid’ royals, running commercial careers alongside royal duties from the US.’ Another source told the Mail: ‘The review period has not yet been discussed but it doesn’t seem if there is any way of going back now. Some very private family matters have now been aired in public, seemingly with their blessing. That will be hurtful.’
The bombshell biography, which Harry and Meghan insist they haven’t contributed is being serialised in the Times and Sunday Times, and today describes in detail their first date in Soho, London, where Meghan confided in a friend: ‘Do I sound crazy when I say this could have legs?’.
Before arriving in the capital she had also told a confidant that she’d be happy for ‘a nice English gentleman to flirt with’ on the trip and throughout the blind date, organised by a mutual friend, Harry was said to be ‘in a trance’ throughout and had said to himself: ‘I’ve got to up my game here’ when trying to impress the LA-born actress. The book says: ‘Meghan had enough dating experience to know a charmer when she saw one, and Harry was obviously not at all that’.
After a second date at the same venue, the exclusive Dean Street Townhouse, Meghan was then invited to meet Harry at his Kensington Palace flat. She was taken there via back streets and met by members of the prince’s royal protection squad who accompanied her to the door, where the royal was waiting but ‘never mentioned anything about being a royal or a prince’ that evening.
Within three months the couple had declared ‘I love you’ – Harry was first to say it, the biography claims. Meghan was also introduced to his brother William and his wife Kate. But the book claims that Harry accused his older sibling of being a ‘snob’ for urging him not to rush into his relationship with Meghan, worrying his brother was being ‘blindsided by lust’. The brothers are said to have barely spoken since.
The biography also claims:
- Harry was so entranced by Meghan he convinced himself she was the woman who he would marry after only their second date.
- Meghan used to tip off the paparazzi when working as an actress in Canada, despite her later going on to claim she didn’t understand the ‘tabloid culture’.
- Meghan’s friends claimed she endured prejudice from the royal household, with a senior staff member overheard telling a colleague: ‘There’s just something about her I just don’t trust.’
- Meghan was ‘disappointed’ that Kate did not welcome her into the family and found her frosty.
- One senior royal referred to the ex-actress as ‘Harry’s showgirl’.
- Harry felt ‘unprotected’ by his family and disparaged within palace walls for being ‘too sensitive and outspoken’.
- Senior courtiers in other households felt that the global popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ‘needed to be reined in’,
- A tearful Meghan told friends about their decision to quit royal duties: ‘I gave up my entire life for this family.’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have ‘torpedoed’ any chance of creating a new position with the help of the Queen and senior royals when their ‘trial period’ in the US ends
The revelations will also harm efforts to repair their rift with Harry’s brother William and sister-in-law Kate, it is feared
The one-year ‘probationary’ period was designed to give all members of the family breathing space, with the Queen and other senior royals involved in deciding the couple’s future
The one-year ‘probationary’ period was designed to give all members of the family breathing space and allow Harry and Meghan to establish their independent new lives, while offering them the chance to return to the royal fold if they changed their minds.
But multiple sources believe the way the couple have conducted themselves in Los Angeles – such as borrowing a glitzy £14.5million Beverly Hills mansion – and now the bombshell book have put an end to any hope of their returning, in a working role at least.
One senior figure added: ‘Given the state of the world this just seems so ill-timed. The Sussexes need to move on.’
Harry and Meghan have publicly denied giving an interview to the authors of Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, or of ‘contributing’ to the book. But their statement failed to address whether they had given permission for their closest friends, staff and associates from collaborating with it.
Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand say they have written the book with the ‘participation of those closest to the couple’ and boasted of having access to Harry and Meghan’s personal and professional ‘inner circle’. Insiders firmly believe that would only have happened with the couple’s permission, tacit or otherwise.
Several specific incidents, including details of the sacking of Archie’s night nurse and a private lunch Harry had with the Queen, which have featured in publicity for the book, would also have largely been known only to Harry and Meghan.
While the biography is short on new detail, it offers a fascinating take on events over the last two years that have rocked the Royal Family from Harry and Meghan’s perspective. And their resentment is all too clear for the world to see.
Royal insiders believe the ‘bitterness’ and ‘score settling’ that characterise the book make a mockery of the Queen’s warm words when she gave them her blessing to seek a new life in North America, but deliberately ‘left the door ajar’ by saying they would review arrangements in January next year. The couple have, of course, insisted on keeping on their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, as a UK base when their spend time here with their son, Archie, who hasn’t returned since last November.
Courtiers point out that other royals, including William and Kate, had refrained from making their own opinions regarding recent events public in order to ‘let the dust settle’
Two further sources said the biography – dubbed the ‘gospel according to Harry and Meghan’ – had made the couple look ‘irrelevant’, particularly coming out at the height of the global Covid crisis.
‘The world has moved on as a result of the pandemic and the Royal Family have had to as well,’ said one.
‘This book has nothing new, frankly, friends have just presented events through a certain lens. People normally realise that actually it’s a lot more nuanced and finely balanced than that.
‘There are far more important things going on in the world, is the general view at the palace.’
The other source added: ‘No one is angry. It was all to be expected. But it is hoped they have got whatever they want to get off their chests now, move on and be happy with their lives.
‘People are just all too familiar with this and nobody wins. They seem to be fighting invisible enemies here, there and everywhere.’
Courtiers point out that other royals, including William and Kate, had refrained from making their own opinions regarding recent events public in order to ‘let the dust settle’, but the new biography has just ‘blown a hole in that’.
Snubs… or just smears? After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle biography’s explosive claims, royal insiders give THEIR side of the story
The biography of Harry and Meghan contains a string of incendiary claims about how they were shunned by the Firm.
Dubbed the ‘gospel according to the Sussexes’, Finding Freedom was said to have been written with the couple’s blessing and its authors had access to their inner circle.
Spanning 24 chapters, the book contains page after page of score-settling and vicious swipes at the Royal Family, courtiers and the media. Indignation and rancour are particularly directed towards William and Kate for supposedly cold-shouldering the Sussexes from the start of their relationship.
Even the Queen, who did much behind the scenes to ease their journey away from royal life, is rebuked for apparent slights towards the couple.
The astonishing book has sparked fresh recriminations over who was to blame over the bitter fallout from Megxit.
Others in the Royal Household have hit back, attacking the biography as a partial account designed to put a gloss on Harry and Meghan’s behaviour.
Courtiers who have read extracts from the book have been quick to insist that the version of events peddled by friends of the Sussexes is false.
Here, the Mail outlines some of the most astonishing allegations – and examines whether they stand up to scrutiny.
‘Viper’ courtiers blamed for stifling their schemes
Senior courtiers who Princess Diana used to refer to as ‘men in grey suits’ are described as ‘vipers’.
The book claims the so-called ‘old guard’ tried to undermine the couple and ‘were concerned that the global interest in and popularity of the Sussexes needed to be reined in’.
Harry and Meghan believed ‘few inside the palace were looking out for their interests’ and felt that most courtiers could not be trusted with their sensitive information.
They believed that these ‘men in grey suits’ were stifling their attempts to launch their initiatives, and when they tried to air these frustrations ‘the conversations didn’t lead anywhere’.
One source said Harry felt that some of the old guard at the palace ‘simply didn’t like Meghan and would stop at nothing to make her life difficult’.
Senior courtiers who Princess Diana used to refer to as ‘men in grey suits’ are described as ‘vipers’. Pictured: Meghan’s first function with the Queen – plus the men in grey suits
The book concludes that Meghan was ‘totally foreign’ to this group of advisers, who ‘could sometimes be even more conservative than the institution they guarded’.
The description of senior palace courtiers as ‘vipers’ has sparked some amusement in royal circles, conjuring up the image of a group of bikers in leather jackets.
‘Maybe thirty years ago there would have been an issue, but that’s just laughable to suggest now,’ said one insider.
The source said it was obvious ‘why it would suit the narrative of the book’, but insisted the description is ‘just not true’.
Another insider said: ‘The fact is that Meghan was welcomed with open arms and everyone did their best to offer their help about how to navigate such a tricky public role – advice she would often choose to ignore.
‘They did the best they could in often trying circumstances.’
The ‘A-team’ of staff who dwindled away
In an interview yesterday, one of the book’s authors dismissed the notion that Meghan was pushy towards her staff – despite numerous departures.
Omid Scobie said Meghan’s high-profile career as an actress and the fact that she was a divorcee left her ‘ripe for exploitation’.
But insiders have often hinted at the couple’s high-handedness. The duchess was surrounded by an ‘A-team’ of high-achieving women all wanting to promote their boss’ world vision. But one by one, they all departed.
First, the couple’s assistant Melissa Toubati ‘quit’ in November 2018, six months into the job, after allegedly being reduced to tears by her boss.
‘That’s so not what happened,’ Mr Scobie said. He then cited legal reasons for refusing to elaborate.
A few weeks later, the couple’s private secretary, Samantha Cohen, left after 17 years with the Royal Family. Last January, Meghan’s female bodyguard departed after just six months.
Archie’s first nurse did not survive her second night before being ‘let go’ for ‘unprofessional and irresponsible’ conduct, according to Mr Scobie.
Royal biographer Robert Jobson claimed in his book, Charles At Seventy, that Meghan’s wedding preparations were so stressful that Harry became ‘petulant and short-tempered’ with members of staff.
Charlotte’s dress ‘tears’
The authors insist there were no tears from Kate over Meghan’s ‘strict demands’ surrounding her wedding (pictured)
The authors insist there were no tears from Kate over Meghan’s ‘strict demands’ surrounding her wedding.
It was claimed in November 2018 that Meghan had reduced her sister-in-law to tears over Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid’s dress. The Daily Telegraph reported that two sources said the Duchess of Cambridge was crying after a dress fitting with Charlotte, pictured below at the wedding with her mother.
The Mail has also spoken to sources who support the claim that Kate was deeply upset. Dismissing the story yesterday, the book described the claims as ‘puzzling’ and questioned whether someone from the palace could have been behind the tale.
It said aides should have ‘set the record straight’ because it was a ‘ridiculous story’ that was ‘so false’.
‘Some of the children weren’t cooperating, and there was a lot going on,’ the source said. ‘Everyone tried to help where they could, but it’s never easy with kids at fittings. There were no tears from anyone. And in the end, the fitting was fine.
‘Kate and Meghan were both a little stressed but professionals in the room, and there were other people there.’
Kicking up a stink at the chapel?
According to royal sources, Meghan disliked the musty odour of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and asked for air fresheners to be deployed before her wedding guests arrived.
This was said to have horrified Buckingham Palace officials who pointed out that the chapel was a regular place of worship for the Queen – and successive monarchs since 1475 – and if it was good enough for them, it would be good enough for her.
But a passage in Finding Freedom dismisses this notion. The truth, it says, was that discreet Baies scented air diffusers (pictured) for the chapel provided by Diptyque had been approved by all parties involved.
The fuss over the odour was first revealed by the Daily Mail several months after the wedding. Insiders at both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace confirmed that the request had been made by the duchess’s office for the scented diffusers and that it hadn’t gone down well. Those sources stood by their account last night.
According to royal sources, Meghan disliked the musty odour of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle (her wedding day, pictured) and asked for air fresheners to be deployed before her wedding guests arrived
‘Ignored’ by Wills and Kate at the Abbey
During one of their final engagements as senior royals, Meghan was ‘purposefully snubbed’ by Kate in front of a global TV audience, the authors claim.
Shortly after arriving at Westminster Abbey in March to mark the 70th anniversary of the Commonwealth, Harry and Meghan ‘both greeted William and Kate with smiles’ but got ‘little response’.
William nodded at Harry and allegedly ‘ignored’ his sister-in-law.
‘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 Sophie, next to the Sussexes,’ the authors wrote.
‘Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate – the duchess barely acknow- ledged her.’
In an interview with The Times, Mr Scobie said: ‘To purposefully snub your sister-in-law… I don’t think it left a great taste in the couple’s mouths.’
Royal watchers point out the ‘icy encounter’ was the first time they had all seen each other since the ‘Sandringham Summit’ showdown over the Sussexes’ role two months earlier, and a formal event was not the moment to rebuild bridges.
During one of their final engagements as senior royals, Meghan was ‘purposefully snubbed’ by Kate in front of a global TV audience, the authors claim. Pictured: The family leave Westminster Abbey after attending the annual Commonwealth Service in March
The book claims Meghan and Kate’s ‘cordial but distant rapport’ was apparent when the pair appeared alongside each other at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day last summer (pictured)
Staying solo at the polo
The book claims Meghan and Kate’s ‘cordial but distant rapport’ was apparent when the pair appeared alongside each other at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day last summer.
Although the duchesses were pictured with their children, the ‘two appeared to barely exchange a word’, it was claimed.
The authors wrote: ‘The state of affairs between the two women was just an offshoot of the real issue at hand: The conflict between Harry and the institution.’
The picture of disillusion
The couple were dismayed when no photograph of them and their son Archie was displayed during the Queen’s Christmas speech last year.
According to Finding Freedom, they considered it a snub that their photo was absent from the desk in the Green Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, pictured above, from where the Monarch gives her traditional annual address.
Already feeling they ‘had long been sidelined by the institution and were not a fundamental part of its future’, the couple considered the episode to be ‘yet another sign that they needed to consider their own path’.
Photographs of the duke and duchess had featured in the Queen’s address in 2018, but she opted last year to display images of her father King George VI, Prince Charles and Camilla, and a family shot of the Cambridges. The book quotes palace sources as saying they wanted to illustrate the line of succession.
Yesterday, sources scoffed at the suggestion that it was the absence of their picture from the Queen’s desk that prompted Harry and Meghan’s decision to go.
The couple were dismayed when no photograph of them and their son Archie was displayed during the Queen’s Christmas speech last year
How Prince Harry was FIRST to say ‘I love you’: Royal and Meghan Markle knew after first two dates that they ‘would be together’, bombshell biography reveals
Prince Harry was the first to say ‘I love you’ in his relationship with Meghan Markle, with friends revealing the couple were ‘immediately obsessed’ with each other, according to the latest extract of a bombshell biography.
The couple felt a ‘palpable attraction’ after their first date at Dean Street Townhouse in Soho, London, with Harry reportedly left in a ‘trance’ and Meghan telling friends ‘this could have legs’.
Harry had a beer, while Meghan drank a martini as they discussed their work, so engrossed with each other that their nibbles lay neglected.
On that first date, which lasted three hours, Harry talked about his charity work and many trips to Africa, finding a joint passion for wanting to ‘make change for good’ with Meghan, helping to form a bond between them.
They didn’t kiss on that first night, though sources said they were ‘in their own little world’ and made plans to meet again soon.
That meeting was the very next night, at the same venue, according to the biography Finding Freedom, written by authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
The writers say they have spoken to more than 100 sources including ‘close friends of Harry and Meghan’s, royal aides and palace staff (past and present)’, with all the information in the book having ‘at least two sources.’
In the latest extract, they delved deep into the story of how Harry and Meghan became a couple, their first dates, her first visit to Kensington Palace and how Harry said ‘I love you’ just three months into their relationship, to which Meghan quickly responded with ‘I love you, too’.
The couple connected almost instantly, friends said, with their second date, also at Dean Street Townhouse in Soho, taking place the day after their first.
They enjoyed a romantic dinner, with staff taking great pains to ensure their privacy, whisking them in through a staff entrance usually used to bring in fish discreetly.
They chatted throughout the night, with Harry returning to Kensington Palace alone, though he admitted to friends afterwards that Meghan was ‘ticking every box’.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are seen at the Closing Ceremony on day 8 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 at the Air Canada Centre on September 30
Dean Street Townhouse in Soho, London, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met for the first time and went on their first two dates
The interior of the Dean Street Townhouse, in Soho. The couple felt a ‘palpable attraction’ after their first date at the restaurant, with Harry reportedly left in a ‘trance’ and Meghan telling friends ‘this could have legs’
They tried to hide their romance, though Meghan took to Instagram to share a post containing a photo of a Love Hearts candy with the inscription ‘Kiss Me’ and the caption ‘Lovehearts in #London’. She also followed Prince Harry’s private account.
Just one night after date number two, Meghan was taken to Kensington Palace in a shroud of secrecy, where Harry tried to impress her with tales about his work and life, which he admitted was a ‘little mad’.
Just six weeks later, Harry told her that he wanted to take her on a trip, asking Meghan to fly to London.
She flew in from Toronto, spent a night with Harry at Kensington Palace, before the couple flew to Johannesburg the next morning.
From there, they flew on a private airplane to Maun International Airport before heading to Okavango Delta — a stunning 5,800 square mile wetland in Botswana’s safari country.
They stayed for most of the trip in one of the £1,529-a-night deluxe tents.
A friend said: ‘She came back smiling and just completely spellbound.’
They enjoyed the trip so much that they would have ‘happily spent the entire summer there together’, if not for there obligations back home.
Meghan also opened up about the closeness she felt with Harry.
‘I’ve never felt that safe,’ Meghan told her friend, ‘that close to someone in such a short amount of time.’
After that, they regularly enjoyed clandestine meet-ups, Harry taking commercial flights to Toronto to see her.
Finding Freedom: Harry, Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, has been written by royal watchers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, described as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s ‘cheerleaders’
The Botswana trip, technically only their third date, served as a ‘speed-up’ for their relationship, friends claimed.
‘By then,’ a friend said, ‘they were each already dancing around the idea that this just may be a for ever thing.’
Meghan was all in, heedless of warnings from confidants about the scrutiny that comes with being a royal spouse.
It took just three months for Harry to say ‘I love you’, though Meghan was swift to reply.
The couple kept a low profile in the early months, striving to keep their relationship out of the press.
However, Harry was soon noticed in Meghan’s neighbourhood, the biography claims, his visits becoming an open secret with royal minders sitting in black SUVs eating burritos.
In October, while enjoying a trip to Toronto, Harry was informed by one of his aides that a tabloid was set to reveal his relationship with Meghan.
The aide, and several others from the palace, urged Harry to come home, citing his minimal security and the fact that he would soon be besieged by photographers.
But Harry refused to budge.
The news came out the following day, with Meghan disappointed, according to the biography, though she was relieved not to have to keep lying to friends about her trips to London.
Harry had warned Meghan that their relationship coming out was ‘inevitable’ and said he wanted to ‘make the most of the time they had’, though Meghan still admitted to being surprised by the instant attention.
Within 24 hours, Meghan received 100 messages from people she hadn’t spoken to in months or even years, all asking about the news.
A short time later, a photographer from an LA-based photo agency waited for Meghan by her car, hoping to get a picture before she headed out to run errands.
Meghan called the police. ‘This is how it’s always going to be, isn’t it?’ she said to a friend.
Some people took to social media, some posting racist messages branding her a ‘n*****’ or a ‘mutt’. The messages were said to have angered Harry.
In fact, friends believe Meghan’s experience with race and the biases Harry realised she had to deal with, led him to fallouts with his own circle of friends.
In an extract published yesterday, Scobie and Durand described how Meghan, sitting on FaceTime to her friend in a bathtub, confessed she sent her father one last text on the night before her wedding in May 2018
When questioned his new relationship, and whether she was ‘suitable’, it left him wondering if race or class played a part.
He immediately cut ties with an old friend who disparaged Meghan and her Hollywood background.
This pushed Harry into protecting her and he decided to make an official statement.
However, the statement clashed with his father Prince Charles’ tour in the Middle East, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall having just arrived in Bahrain to meet the country’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
It was a critical moment that had been in the works for months and a statement from Kensington Palace condemning the press while confirming Harry’s new girlfriend would all but eliminate coverage of Prince Charles’s tour.
Despite this, the palace decided to go ahead with the statement, much of it drafted by Harry himself.
His father only learnt of the statement 20 minutes before it was released and, unsurprisingly, it soon dominated the news cycle.
Prince Charles and his team were left crushed and disappointed, though Charles also understood the intervention was a necessary one.
However, the episode only served to prove that Harry felt the need to prioritise the woman he loved over duty to the royal family.
Did Prince Harry propose to Meghan Markle on Botswana holiday THREE MONTHS before telling the world? New biography says they were ‘secretly engaged in August 2017’
Prince Harry may have proposed to Meghan Markle three months before their official announcement, a bombshell biography detailing the Sussexes’ dramatic departure from royal life has revealed.
According to Finding Freedom, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ‘became secretly engaged in August 2017’.
That same month, the pair took a trip to Botswana where they are said to have celebrated both Meghan’s 36th birthday and their first year as a couple.
During their engagement interview in November 2017, Prince Harry said he popped the question ‘earlier this month’ while the couple were ‘roasting chicken’ on a ‘cosy night’.
Meghan and Harry in Botswana in the summer of 2017. According to Finding Freedom, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ‘became secretly engaged in August 2017’
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in west London on November 27, 2017, after the announcement of their engagement
In the biography, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, a source says Prince William tried to ‘make sure that Harry wasn’t blindsided by lust’ in his relationship with Meghan shortly before they got engaged that August.
According to the book, which is being serialised by The Times and The Sunday Times, Harry took offence when William told him: ‘Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.’
Harry is said to have considered the choice of the words ‘this girl’ to be condescending.
In their 2018 engagement interview, Harry recalled how he ‘convinced’ Meghan to fly out to Botswana to join him on a trip and said they spent a romantic five days camping out under the stars.
‘It was I think about three, maybe four weeks [after their first date] that I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana,’ he said at the time.
‘And we, we camped out with each other under the stars, we spent, she came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.’
The country has a special significance for Prince Harry, who first visited Botswana shortly after his mother Princess Diana’s death, when he travelled there with his brother and father.
Harry fell in love with the country on that first trip and has since returned regularly, getting increasingly involved with wildlife conservation efforts in Botswana.
When it came to finding the perfect engagement ring for Meghan, Harry even chose to source a diamond from Botswana – which he has previously referred to as his ‘second home’.
The stone was paired with two diamonds from a tiara that belonged to Princess Diana.
Finding Freedom provides an intimately detailed and personalised version of the events leading up to the Sussexes’ dramatic departure from royal life, with co-authors Scobie and Durand insisting ‘all information in this book has at least two sources’.
Harry and Meghan deny giving interviews.