Royal courtiers feared the rift between Princes William and Harry could spell the end of the monarchy, a controversial new book claims.
Harry was said to have felt palace aides had ‘thrown him under a bus’ to protect his older brother by prioritising his work.
Even the Queen was concerned that the brothers ‘at war’ risked the future of the Royal Family while courtiers convened a summit where the implications were discussed, the authors of the biography claim.
The book, Finding Freedom, released yesterday, lays bare the falling out between the siblings and charts the lead up to Meghan and Harry’s decision to stand down as senior royals and move to the US.
The book says high ranking aides were so alarmed at the press coverage and speculation on social media about a rift between the two brothers and their wives ‘that they began openly discussing the impact it could have on the monarchy if things weren’t righted’.
The authors – Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand – say that in the spring of 2019, courtiers attended a retreat where the concerns were openly discussed. ‘We need to design a system to protect the monarchy full stop,’ one is quoted as saying.
‘It’s no secret, the future of this monarchy relies solely on the four people currently in Kensington Palace. The public popularity only lies with them… When he [the Prince of Wales] becomes King, the only way it lasts is if the four of them are not at war. We cannot have them at war.’
It said Harry was upset the falling out was playing out so publicly.
One source told the authors: ‘There had been moments where he felt people working with his brother had put things out there to make William look good, even if it meant throwing Harry under the bus.
‘It was a confusing time, and his head was all over the place – he didn’t know who or what to believe, and he and William weren’t talking enough either, which made everything a lot worse.’ The whole situation was so out of control, a source said ‘even the Queen was concerned’. The book also told how aides feared the popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could eclipse the Royal Family and needed to be ‘reined in’.
It also recounts how Meghan felt Kate did not do enough to make her feel welcome but said this was ‘just an offshoot of the real issue at hand: the conflict between Harry and the institution’.
Harry is said to have likened meetings about his future to ‘standing in front of a firing squad’.
‘He feels there were so many occasions when the institution and his family could have helped them, stood up for them, backed them up, and never did,’ a source is quoted as saying. The book said the biggest row was about money and that courtiers viewed Harry’s position as ‘completely unrealistic’.
Royal sources said that while there was sympathy ‘now as there was then’ for the couple’s frustrations, they felt the book had painted a ‘rather absurdly one-sided view of complicated events and family dynamics’.
Astonishingly for the famously private couple, the book also tells how they ‘boasted’ to friends about their son Archie’s growth spurt – saying the growing baby was in the ‘ninetieth percentile for height’ – and the steps they took to baby-proof a mansion they rented in Canada.
The biography also details discussions between Meghan and her friend Jessica Mulroney about what would be an appropriate outfit to wear when meeting the Queen.
Other intimate details include an account of a visit by Miss Mulroney to the couple’s Oxfordshire home before the wedding, when the two women ‘spent the weekend letting their hair down, wearing face masks, drinking “copious amounts of wine”, calling Jessica’s husband, Ben, to say, “hi” and giggling because they were both tipsy’.
Other passages recount ‘soul-baring moments under Botswana’s blanket of stars’ on a trip the couple made together, which included details about exactly how Meghan packs her luggage.
It even gives a detailed account of what she has for breakfast: a ‘cup of hot water and lemon followed by steel-cut oats (usually with almond or soya milk) with bananas and agave syrup for sweetness’.
For a couple so hell-bent on protecting their privacy, the book contains page after page of their most intimate moments and details explosive rows with the Palace. Here the Daily Mail outlines some of its most sensational claims.
The book states the couple’s son was born looking ‘alert as soon as he arrived – eyes wide open’.
Quoting a friend, it says Meghan was ‘simply relieved’ the ‘uncomplicated birth’ had gone well.
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born weighing ‘seven pounds, three ounces’ in May 2019. Elsewhere in the book, it tells how Meghan boasted to friends that her son was now in the ‘ninetieth percentile for height’ after a growth spurt.
Palace aides were angered by Meghan’s ‘flashy’ New York baby shower, the book claims.
Senior courtiers were said to have ‘spat out their tea’ when they saw pictures of the duchess arriving at the bash.
It was organised by Serena Williams and took place in the Grand Penthouse at the Mark Hotel. The party was attended by 20 of her closest friends and featured a menu prepared by a Michelin-starred chef, a flower arranging lesson and an extravagant dessert served alongside ‘gold embellished containers filled with sugar crystals’ and a two-tier white fondant cake with paper figures of Harry and Meghan.
The duchess was said to have returned to the UK ‘on a high’ after the party – travelling home with Amal Clooney on a private jet.
Harry conceded that taking a private jet home from a climate change event was a ‘mistake’, according to the book.
He faced criticism for accepting a lift back to London from the Google Camp event in Sicily on a fellow guest’s private plane. The following month, he and Meghan flew from Ibiza to Nice on Elton John’s private jet, before Harry launched his sustainable tourism initiative Travalyst.
He came to regret not heeding the advice of his former head of communications, Sara Latham who warned him about a potential ‘media storm’ if he took the jet. ‘The earnest prince was the first one to admit when he made a mistake,’ the authors write.
For their third ‘official’ date, Harry whisked Meghan away to a safari camp in Botswana where they stayed in £1,500-a-night deluxe tents. The book explains Meghan was more than happy with the alfresco toilet situation.
They slept in a teak king-size bed in a room with its own private terrace and a fully equipped en-suite bathroom.
The ‘well-travelled’ actress ‘made sure to pack sunscreen’ which proved to be ‘especially handy for Harry, who burned easily and often forgot to use SPF protection’. ‘Meghan immediately impressed Harry with her packing skills,’ the book says.
She also came prepared with tea-tree oil to treat ‘bites, cuts, and pimples’. ‘While camping, she happily wandered into the woodlands if she needed a bathroom break,’ the authors said.
Meghan said she felt she was expected to serve her son ‘on a silver platter’ after the couple faced criticism over keeping Archie’s christening a secret.
The event was attended by just 22 guests and the names of his godparents were not made public. This proved controversial as it was revealed that the taxpayer had footed a £2.4million bill for renovations to their Windsor home Frogmore Cottage.
But the authors said Meghan would not be pushed into releasing more details, telling a friend: ‘The same people who have been abusing me want me to serve my child on a silver platter. A child who is not going to be protected and doesn’t have a title. How does that make sense? Tell that to any mother in the world.’
Meghan took part in a two-day security course with the SAS to survive kidnapping attempts.
Kate didn’t take part until after she was married but Meghan had received an ‘unusually high number of death threats’, the book claims. Part of the training involved a staged kidnap, where was bundled into the back of a car. She was also taught how to develop a relationship with her kidnapper and pursuit driving.
She also received ‘a series of instructions that covered everything from how to most gracefully exit your chauffeured sedan while wearing a pencil skirt to when to curtsy to members of the family several rungs up the hierarchy from you’.
Prince Harry bonded with George Clooney over their shared love of motorbikes while Meghan relaxed around the pool with his wife Amal during a trip to their luxury Italian villa.
The actor arranged for Harry and Meghan to fly from London to Lake Como on his own private jet, the book said.
They arrived in the early evening of August 16 in Milan and were driven to the 25-room Villa Oleandra, the authors wrote.
A source said that ‘Meghan and Amal spent a lot of time relaxing by the pool… while George and Harry checked out George’s motorbike collection, taking one out for a spin’.
The book said: ‘On the final night of Harry and Meghan’s stay, George hired the chef from one of his favourite local restaurants, to prepare an Italian feast.’
The couple suffered a ‘major data leak’ in September 2018 after Russian hackers managed to access an online cloud storage account that contained more than 200 unseen photos taken by photographer Alexi Lubomirski.
‘The large set also included outtakes with eyes half closed and other unflattering moments meant for the trash can.’
Harry and Meghan ‘were alarmed to hear that it was so easy to get such personal files’ adding it was a ‘wake-up call’ that prompted them to take extra security precautions.
Meghan wondered if Princess Michael of Kent was trying to ‘send her a message’ when she wore a ‘racist’ brooch to the Queen’s Christmas lunch.
The princess, 75, was spotted wearing the blackamoor jewellery, as she drove into Buckingham Palace in 2017.
Blackamoor is a type of figurine which depicts mostly men, but sometimes women, with black skin.
Extremely popular in the 18th century, they are now considered racially insensitive and Princess Michael later apologised for wearing it.
The authors wrote: ‘At the bare minimum, it showed insensitivity to Meghan’s African American roots and the racism she had encountered since pairing up with Harry.’