Excerpts from a sympathetic book about Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan continue to dribble out, with the latest snippets appearing in People magazine and describing how she was tearful after receiving what she interpreted as a scolding from a palace aide over her jewelry.
The book, “Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family,” by two British journalists, purports to tell the “real” inside story of the reasons and logistics of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s flight from royal life announced in January.
Harry and Meghan said in a statement last week that, contrary to earlier reporting, they did not contribute to and were not interviewed for the book by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
The book is due to be published in the U.S. on Aug. 11, but lengthy excerpts have already appeared in The Times in London and have been reported extensively by the British tabloids. Virtually all of it is anonymously sourced.
The People excerpts appear in the Aug. 10 issue of the magazine, on sale at newsstands Friday.
The magazine’s excerpts cover in part the couple’s relationship from the time they met in the summer of 2016 (“Harry was in a trance,” the book describes a friend saying about the smitten prince) to their final showdown with the palace over the terms of their “stepping back” from their roles as senior royals (“Harry wanted out,” and Meghan “emboldened” him to make the change, the book says).
The pair have since moved to Los Angeles, seeking financial independence, more freedom from palace restraints and more privacy from media.
According to the People excerpt, one episode described in the book was an early precursor of the trouble the former Meghan Markle would have in adapting to royal life and to the role of palace courtiers who keep the royal show running behind the scenes. Some of them were not Meghan fans. At least one “high-ranking courtier” was overheard telling another, “There’s just something about her I don’t trust,” according to the book, and Harry was unhappy about such talk.
In December 2016, six months after they met and after Harry had whisked her off to a five-day African vacation to sleep under the stars, Meghan was running errands near her home in Toronto and was photographed wearing a gold necklace with tiny initials “H” and “M,” a $300 present from Harry.
Two days later, a palace aide in London phoned her and advised her that wearing such a necklace only encouraged the paparazzi to keep pursuing her – and unwanted headlines. “After hanging up, she felt frustrated and emotional,” that someone who works in her boyfriend’s office could tell her what jewelry to wear, the book says.
She called one of her close friends in tears, saying “I can’t win” when dealing with the palace. She felt she was being scolded and blamed for encouraging paparazzi while also being criticized online for looking “miserable” in pictures when she tried to ignore them. “She felt damned if she did and damned if she didn’t,” the book says.
The People excerpts also describe her response to Harry’s home at Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace (not palatial but “cute,” she told a friend), and her first meeting with Duchess Kate of Cambridge (Kate is “an extremely guarded person,” a friend of Kate’s says).
Harry’s brother Prince William’s warning that the relationship with Meghan might be moving too fast has already been widely covered in Britain because his alleged words – “Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl,” according to the book’s sources – were interpreted by Harry as “snobbish” and condescending, the book says.
“William may have felt he was acting out of concern but Harry felt offended that his older brother still treated him as if he were immature,” the book says, quoting a friend of Harry’s as saying the younger prince was infuriated at his brother. This alleged exchange is regarded in Britain as the moment that William and Harry’s previous close relationship began to fall apart, months before Harry and Meghan’s May 2018 wedding at Windsor Castle.
The People excerpt also delves into the chaotic and rushed handling of their announcement of their plans, which created a lot of ill will in the royal family and among palace aides for the seeming disrespect for his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, who had the final say.
The book explains Harry and Meghan were “forced” into a premature declaration due to fear of leaks, but quotes a senior aide as saying the couple would have gotten more of what they wanted if they had “handled things in a private and dignified way.”
But Harry and Meghan, the book says, were fed up with being “patronized,” their grievances ignored. While the British media blamed “Megxit” on Meghan, Harry was as determined as she to break free of royal life.
“If other members of the family and the staff working with the (royal) households had taken their requests more seriously, it wouldn’t have reached that point” of explosion, the book says.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Harry & Meghan book excerpt describes her tears after palace scolding