When Meghan Markle arrived in Prince Harry’s life, one senior royal reportedly referred to her as “Harry’s showgirl.” Another royal family member said, “She comes with a lot of baggage.”
In the second extract from the unofficial Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, the authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand reveal the alleged prejudice Meghan faced on entering the royal family, as well as her strained relationship with sister-in-law Kate Middleton.
Meghan, the book claims, “would agree with the assessment” that she and Kate Middleton are “not the best of friends.” Their relationship, by the time Meghan had married Harry, “hadn’t progressed much since she was Harry’s girlfriend.”
They were still “no closer” by the time Meghan and Harry were married. “Flowers for her birthday were nice, but Meghan would far rather have had Kate check in on her during the most difficult times with the press,” the authors write in an extract from the book, published in the U.K. Sunday Times.
Though Scobie says that neither Meghan nor Harry gave an on- or off-the-record interview for the book, it claims to give an authoritative and intimate overview of the couple’s experiences and dramatic departure from the royal family.
The sisters-in-law had spent only “a handful of occasions together” before Harry and Meghan’s wedding. The book tells of one moment in which they crossed paths in Kensington Palace in 2017, both heading out shopping to the same street—but Kate went in her own Range Rover.
Meghan “fully expected Kate to reach out and give her the lie of the land on everything an outsider to the Firm needed to know,” the book claims. Meanwhile, a source said Kate felt they didn’t have much in common “other than the fact that they lived at Kensington Palace.”
The two duchesses may not have been “the best of friends” but were “not at war with each other either,” the authors write. “Meghan was disappointed that she and Kate hadn’t bonded over the unique position they shared, but she wasn’t losing sleep over it.”
The book goes out of its way to shoot down apocryphal stories, like Meghan—before her wedding—allegedly making Kate cry at a fitting for bridesmaids’ dresses. “That story was ridiculous and so false,” one confidant states, with the authors writing: “Several aides across the royal households now confirm that there was no fitting that left the Duchess of Cambridge in tears.”
Meghan reportedly believes she has been a victim of “sexism and prejudice” within the tabloid press. The authors write: “If a man got up before dawn to work, he was applauded for his work ethic. If a woman did it, she was deemed difficult or ‘a bitch.’ The double standard was exacerbated when it came to successful women of color, often labeled demanding or aggressive.”
If the relationship between the duchesses was frosty, the book—featuring around 200 sources—paints a more dire portrait of the relationship between Princes William and Harry, sketching out what was allegedly said when William cautioned Harry in the early stages of his relationship with Meghan.
“A happy and content Harry is rare, so to see him practically skipping around was a delight,” a source said of Harry’s mood after meeting Meghan. “But at the same time William has always felt he needs to look out for Harry, not as a future monarch but as an older brother. Their whole adult lives he’s felt he should keep an eye on Harry and make sure he’s not in trouble and on a good path.”
“These are two brothers that have spent their whole lives with people trying to take advantage of them,” a source told the authors. “They’ve both developed a radar to detect that type of person, but as William didn’t know a whole lot about Meghan, he wanted to make sure Harry wasn’t blindsided by lust.”
“Don’t feel you need to rush this,” William told Harry, according to sources. “Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.”
One friend said: “Harry could see through William’s words. He was being a snob.” The authors write: “During his 10-year career in the military, outside the royal bubble, he had learnt not to make snap judgments about people based on their accent, education, ethnicity, class or profession.”
The brothers “hardly spoke” after William’s talk, with the authors making it clear that intra-royal household relations were not helped by the “competitive” atmosphere that exists between Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and Clarence House.
The book paints a picture of Harry and Meghan feeling increasingly embattled and isolated as they try to forge new lives for themselves—running square-up against palace traditions and denigrating tabloid stories. Meghan reportedly feels she gave up her “entire life” for the royal family.
Harry’s regular visits to see William and Kate and their children when all were living in Kensington Palace “came to a virtual halt” by the summer of 2017.
Kate “did little to bridge the divide,” the book says. Harry “was tired of the dynamic” between him and William, and “pissed off,” a source said, “that his brother would ask such a thing.”
Harry is “extremely protective of Meghan,” a source said. “He understands that a lot of people are against them, and he will do everything he can to keep her safe and away from getting hurt—even if that means distancing himself from those people.”
His deteriorating relationship with William helped galvanize Harry and Meghan to move to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
“He wanted to get away from the goldfish bowl that was Kensington Palace,” a source said.
The state of relations between the brothers is especially sad, as—Scobie and Durand write—Harry “once told a friend that he had an image of getting married and spending time with William and Kate, the two couples together, their children best friends.”