“Is this about race? Is it snobbery?” Harry would ask himself of those who questioned their relationship.
The latest revelations from Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, extracts of which have been running in the U.K. Times and Sunday Times, include the existence of Harry’s secret Instagram account and focus on the beginning of the couple’s relationship.
Scobie and Durand reveal why Harry felt moved to issue an unprecedented statement in November 2016 in which he confirmed their relationship, while condemning “the racial undertones of comment pieces… and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.” Harry also revealed that he was worried about Meghan’s safety and “deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.”
Meghan had been called the n-word or a “mutt” on her social media accounts.
“For the prince, Meghan was his personal introduction to the ugliness of racism. While it might have been new territory for Harry, bias—both unconscious and intentional—had always been a part of Meghan’s life,” Scobie and Durand write. Harry cut off one old friend who had made derogatory remarks about Meghan’s Hollywood background.
The timing of Harry’s bombshell statement left his father Prince Charles “disappointed” and aides at Clarence House “crushed” as Charles and Camilla had just arrived in Bahrain to meet the country’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Any publicity for that trip was vaporized, as Harry’s statement dominated the news cycle.
The book details how Harry and Meghan became “almost immediately… almost obsessed” with each other when they met on a blind date in July 2016 at Soho House’s Dean Street Townhouse in London.
The book also reveals that Meghan, before she met Harry, “had occasionally set up a paparazzi photo here and there or let info slip out to the press.” However, Scobie and Durand claim, “she did everything in her power to protect the privacy of her relationship with the prince.”
Harry said of their first meeting: “I am really going to have to up my game here. Sit down and make sure I’ve got a good chat!”
He had a beer, she had a martini, and they connected on “passions for wanting to make change for good,” as he put it.
“It was as if Harry was in a trance,” one friend told the authors. Meghan told a girlfriend, “Do I sound crazy when I say this could have legs?”
Another date followed the next night, with “electric chemistry.” “Harry knew they would be together at that point,” a friend said. “She was ticking every box fast.”
The book also reveals Harry had a secret, private Instagram account, @SpikeyMau5. “A big house music fan, he crafted the pseudonym by using part of the name of one of his favorite DJs, Deadmau5,” Scobie and Durand write. “Spikey came from a Facebook alias that Harry used for an account he had under the name of Spike Wells. ‘Spike’ was a nickname sometimes used for the prince, particularly by Scotland Yard officers.”
Meghan’s public Instagram post the same night of their first solo date showed a photo of a Love Hearts candy with the inscription “Kiss Me” and the caption “Lovehearts in #London.”
A third date was spent at Kensington Palace, and then six weeks later the pair flew to Botswana, at one stage using a private jet, later to become a controversial topic because of their professed environmentalism.
A friend said, “She came back smiling and just completely spellbound.” Meghan said she had spoken to Harry “about things she rarely shared with anyone.”
“I’ve never felt that safe, that close to someone in such a short amount of time,” she told a friend.
The relationship continued in secret, with Meghan “all in” according to the authors. A friend cautioned her, “They hate royal wives and girlfriends. They will come after you. Look at Diana.”
Harry said “I love you” first to Meghan. “Meghan immediately replied, ‘I love you, too,’” the book makes a point of noting. If this kind of information seems so intimate that it could have only come from its central figures—so much in the book has the same candid immediacy—Scobie strenuously maintained to the Times of London that Harry and Meghan had not been interviewed on or off the record.
The media storm that followed the couple’s relationship being made public left Meghan “terrified” when a photographer scaled her garden fence, and “in tears” when her mother Doria Ragland was photographed on her way to the laundromat.
This led Harry to make his statement both confirming the relationship, while also seeking to protect Meghan and her mother. It also set the antagonistic tone he and Meghan have maintained with the tabloid press ever since, culminating in multiple legal battles including their most recent lawsuit against paparazzi in Los Angeles.