Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle never became friends – while the Duchess of Sussex was ‘disappointed’ she never reached out to her or visited, according to an explosive new biography.
The Duchesses ‘struggled to move past distance politeness’ and had ‘nothing in common other than the fact that they lived at Kensington Palace’, according to the authors of Finding Freedom.
In one particularly awkward encounter when Meghan was dating Harry, Kate went alone in her Range Rover on a shopping trip – despite the fact she was also going to the same street.
The lack of any friendship between the pair was confirmed in 2018 when the Sussexes announced they wanted to base their family at Windsor.
Despite this frostiness, Meghan felt hurt at newspaper stories of the ‘duelling duchesses’ and was angry at the failure of the palace press office to correct them.
Excerpts from the hotly anticipated book lift the lid on the Sussexes’ exit from The Firm – but palace sources fear its account of Harry and Meghan’s grievances will make their rift with the Royals worse.
In other explosive revelations revealed in the excerpts tonight:
According to authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, Meghan expected Kate to reach out to her and give her a helping hand as she became a member of the Firm.
Instead, the pair had nothing in common ‘other than the fact that they lived at Kensington Palace’. By the time Meghan had become a senior royal, the pair were still no closer than before the 2018. According to one source, Meghan was disappointed that they hadn’t bonded, but was not losing sleep over it.
The book also details one awkward moment at Kensington Palace in 2017 when Kate went alone in her Range Rover while shopping – despite the fact Meghan was also going to the same street.
Though some aides claimed the sisters-in-law ‘talked and texted regularly’, they had barely spent any time together by the time of Meghan and Harry’s wedding.
The book also reveals how Meghan regarded some commentary and tabloid stories as ‘sexist’ and ‘prejudiced’, with ambitious women of colour like her labelled ‘demanding and aggressive’.
A close friend of Meghan’s told the authors: ‘Duchess Different. That’s what people have a problem with. She’s the easiest person in the world to work with. Certain people just don’t like the fact she stands out.’
The biography is written by journalists Scobie and Durand, who are fans of the couple and have set out to ‘correct the record’ and shift the spotlight on to their charitable ventures.
The Sussexes say they did not contribute to the book, but Scobie and Durand’s account is based on extensive insight from friends of the couple.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last night hit back at claims in a bombshell new biography that they actively spurned Meghan Markle.
The authors of Finding Freedom claim relations between the Sussexes and Cambridges became so bitter that Kate humiliatingly snubbed her sister-in-law at Meghan’s farewell appearance as a senior Royal.
But close friends of William and Kate issued a fierce defence, insisting the couple had ‘rolled out the red carpet’ for Meghan and ‘done all they possibly could’ to welcome the US actress into the Royal Family.
According to the friends, the Cambridges ‘welcomed Meghan with open arms’ by inviting her to Anmer Hall, their family home in Norfolk, where Kate personally cooked vegan meals for her brother-in-law’s then fiance.
William and Kate also invited Meghan’s friends, bridesmaids and page boys to a party before her wedding to Harry in May 2018, and keen tennis fan Kate asked Meghan to join her in the Royal Box at Wimbledon for two successive years.
‘It’s just completely wrong to suggest they didn’t talk and plain wrong to say the Cambridges weren’t welcoming,’ a friend told The Mail on Sunday.
‘How can you say they weren’t warm or welcoming when they hosted Meghan for Christmas, invited her into their totally private inner sanctum at Anmer Hall and did everything they could to make her feel at home? They personally cooked her favourite vegan food, they couldn’t have been more welcoming.’
According to the book, Meghan was ‘disappointed that she and Kate hadn’t bonded over the unique position they shared’ and was infuriated by persistent media reports – confirmed by Palace aides – that a bust-up during a bridesmaid dress fitting for Princess Charlotte had left Kate in tears.
In an indication of the mistrust that developed between the two women, a friend of the Cambridges acknowledged that Kate had ‘snubbed’ Meghan at the Commonwealth Service in March which marked her last appearance as a working Royal.
The friend said her actions were born ‘out of sheer frustration’ at Harry and Meghan’s behaviour over their withdrawal from Royal life, announced on Instagram, and the launch of the Sussex Royal website.
The source acknowledged that Kate snubbed Meghan at the West Door of Westminster Abbey, but added: ‘That was after the Sussexes had issued that incendiary statement and website.’
But friends of the Cambridges dismissed claims in Finding Freedom that Kate and Meghan ‘barely exchanged a word’ at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day last year.
In what was intended as a public show of solidarity, Harry was cheered on the polo field by Meghan and baby Archie, and William by Kate and their three children, George, seven, Charlotte, five and Louis, two.
‘Everyone saw Kate and Meghan chatting. She [Meghan] had the baby and it was really sweet,’ one pal insisted. ‘George went up to Archie and gently stroked his head. Louis was larking around and making Meghan laugh – it was really positive and happy.’
However, allies of the Cambridges accept that the once close relationship between the brothers is now ‘strained’ and best described as ‘on and off’.
They said William had been left ‘sad’ and ‘disappointed’ by the claims in Finding Freedom.
‘William had hoped that everyone had moved on, but clearly that’s not the case,’ said a friend. ‘He’s a little sad and disappointed that it’s being raked up all over again.
‘He was extremely upset and hurt at the time [in January when Harry stood down from his duties] and his relationship with his brother is still quite distant.
‘It’s best described as on-off and more off at the moment. He has no plans to see his brother this year, but of course Covid makes that much more difficult [anyway].’
While the Sussexes and the authors of Finding Freedom insist that the couple gave no interviews for the book, it paints an extremely flattering portrayal of them.
In extracts that emerged yesterday, it was claimed that Harry and Meghan became so frustrated at what they perceived as an unwillingness to discuss their future that they considered arriving unannounced to confront the Queen. They eventually decided against what would have been an extraordinary breach of royal protocol.
The book also suggests that the couple were upset when the Queen did not include a photograph of them and Archie on her desk when she filmed her Christmas speech last year.
Meghan is said by the authors to have considered the decision to strip Harry of his military patronages as part of the so-called Megxit deal, painfully thrashed out after a summit at Sandringham on 13 January as ‘unnecessary’.
By then, the couple felt deeply suspicious of rival royal camps and, according to the authors, described some senior officials as ‘the vipers’.
The book suggests the three royal households of Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House are in competition, each trying to outdo – and even occasionally sabotage – the other.
The couple, according to Finding Freedom, became increasingly frustrated at the palace communications operation. However, one former staff member told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It was a very challenging working environment. It was high pressure and extremely stressful… Nothing was ever good enough, they always saw the negative in everything.
‘Nothing is ever their fault, always someone else’s. They are professional victims.’
A spokesperson for Meghan and Harry said: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom.
‘This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.’
Prince Harry took offence when his ‘snobby’ brother cautioned him not to rush into marrying Meghan Markle, the new Royal biography claims.
In the book Finding Freedom, authors Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie repeat allegations that William questioned the speed at which his brother’s relationship with the American actress was moving.
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 those last two words, ‘this girl’, Harry heard the tone of snobbishness that was anathema to his approach to the world,’ claims the book. ‘During his ten-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.’
Harry, now 35, was elated after meeting Meghan, 38, on a blind date in London’s Soho House in the summer of 2016. A friend told the authors: ‘A happy and content Harry is rare, so to see him practically skipping around was a delight.
‘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.’
More cautious than his headstrong younger brother, William decided to sit Harry down for a chat in 2017 after meeting Meghan a handful of times.
‘William may have felt he was acting out of concern, but Harry was offended that his older brother still treated him as if he were immature,’ claims the book, which is sympathetic to the Sussexes.
‘Harry was p***** off,’ another source said. ‘P***** off that his brother would ask such a thing.’
Another friend added: ‘Harry could see through William’s words. He was being a snob.’
According to the book, Harry was ‘angry’ at the intervention, even if it was well-intentioned. William didn’t really know Meghan and ‘was concerned that Harry had isolated himself from many of their old friends’.
Matters worsened, the authors say, when other senior Royals voiced concerns. One of the older members of the family is said to have branded Meghan as ‘Harry’s showgirl’.
Another senior Royal is alleged to have told an aide: ‘She comes with a lot of baggage’, while a high-ranking courtier was reportedly overheard telling a colleague: ‘There is just something about her I don’t trust.’
Harry was ‘aware of the talk’ behind his back, a close friend of his told the authors. ‘He’s extremely protective of Meghan. 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.’
In the months that followed the ‘this girl’ comment, the brothers hardly spoke, the book claims. Harry stopped visiting Prince George, now seven, and Princess Charlotte, five, and saw very little of Louis, who was born just before the Royal wedding in April 2018.
Harry and Meghan invited the Cambridges to their Cotswold country home, near Soho Farmhouse, but they never went, and while Kate sent Meghan flowers for her birthday, Meghan was upset that she didn’t ‘check in on her’, the book suggests. Finding Freedom adds that when she was first dating Harry, Meghan had expected Kate to ‘give her the lie of the land on everything an outsider to The Firm needed to know. But that was not how things turned out’.
Kate’s perspective was, apparently, that she didn’t think that she and Meghan had much in common ‘other than the fact that they lived at Kensington Palace’. The book claims once the Sussexes moved to Frogmore Cottage on the Queen’s Windsor estate, that last link dissolved.
The Duchess of Sussex believes successful women of colour like her are wrongly labelled ‘demanding or aggressive’, the controversial biography claims.
Meghan is said to have thought some of the stories about her were ‘sexist and prejudiced’.
A close friend told the authors of Finding Freedom that she was regarded as ‘Duchess Different’ and that she was not liked by some because she stood out.
‘It was open season on Meghan, with many looking for anything and everything to criticise,’ an extract from the book serialised by The Sunday Times says.
‘Duchess Different,’ a close friend of Meghan’s said. ‘That’s what people have a problem with. She’s the easiest person in the world to work with. Certain people just don’t like the fact she stands out.’
Shortly after Harry and Meghan’s marriage in 2018, reports emerged about how Meghan was wasting no time in putting her stamp on The Firm. The former actress was said to have a formidable work ethic, rising at 5am each morning and issuing a stream of ideas to her key aides about how to shape her role.
In their book, however, authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand suggest the Duchess was upset at the way her decisive and assertive nature was depicted.
They wrote: ‘Meghan felt as though some of the commentary and tabloid stories were more than a culture clash; they were sexist and prejudiced.
‘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 colour, often labelled demanding or aggressive.’
The authors went on to claim that while racism ‘takes a different form in the UK from in America’, it remains ‘ingrained’ here. Mr Scobie, who has a Scottish father and an Iranian mother, reportedly left his first job at Heat magazine after he was racially abused by an executive.
It is claimed that a member of staff at Buckingham Palace once said he was ‘surprised’ to hear the royal journalist, who went to a public school, speak with received pronunciation.
In their book, the authors state: ‘Racism takes a different form in the UK from in America, but there is no mistaking its existence and how ingrained it is. A major theme of racism in the UK centres on the question of who is authentically ‘British’. It can come through in subtle acts of bias, micro-aggressions such as the palace staffer who told the bi-racial co-author of these words, ‘I never expected you to speak the way you do’, or the newspaper headline ‘Memo to Meghan: we Brits prefer true royalty to fashion royalty’.
‘While the columnist was criticising Meghan for her Vogue editorials, there was another way to read it, which is that to be British meant to be born and bred in the UK – and be white.’
In the unclouded months following their fairytale wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex enjoyed blanket adulation.
Everywhere they travelled – from the four corners of the British Isles to Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji – a joyous welcome awaited.
But according to the biography Finding Freedom, basking in such goodwill wasn’t sufficient for the Sussexes. To many, what they did want seemed unclear and their goals rather ill-formed.
Back in mid-2018, when the Queen showed Meghan the Royal ropes on a visit to Cheshire, the mood was still upbeat. Asked by a well-wisher that day how she had found her first month as a married Royal, the Duchess simply declared: ‘Wonderful.’
The biography suggests this halcyon phase did not last long.
‘Increasingly Harry had grown frustrated that he and Meghan often took a back seat to other family members,’ it suggests. ‘While they both respected the hierarchy of the institution, it was difficult when they wanted to focus on a project and were told that a more senior ranking family member, be it Prince William or Prince Charles, had an initiative or tour being announced at the same time – so they would just have to wait.’
Instead of taking this at face value – Harry was after all sixth in line to the throne – the book claims that the couple believed they were being held back, their wings clipped.
Yet hadn’t they taken the Royal Family, as the biography suggests, ‘to new heights around the world’ and made it ‘more relatable’ to those who had never previously been interested?
In fact, according to the authors of Finding Freedom, the couple mused that they deserved better, that this wasn’t a matter of hierarchy, but evidence of darker forces at work.
As their popularity grew, so too did their sense of entitlement. Never mind King-in-waiting Charles or William and Kate, the Sussexes were the biggest stars now, so why weren’t they getting top billing? This question, posed in the book, perhaps goes to the heart of their sense of grievance, and grievance is never far from the story woven by authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
Critics will argue that however much they railed against the perceived injustices, Harry and Meghan weren’t starring in a Hollywood movie or TV drama but a much longer running show called the Monarchy, with its own time-honoured traditions: duty and tradition chief among them.
A strong sense of hierarchy, of course, is also expected.
They would add that soon after marrying, rather than being observant of the Monarchy’s strictures – knowing their place as some bluntly put it – the couple got above themselves; that they took a ‘holier than thou’ attitude.
Certainly, according to the book, this was the belief of some senior Palace courtiers, the ‘men in grey suits’ as Princess Diana had called them. Harry and Meghan are said to have given this old guard a new name: the vipers.
The couple could not, say Mr Scobie and Ms Durand, understand why so few inside the Palace were protecting their interests. They were a ‘major draw for the Royal Family’ but the book claims some courtiers tried to bring them to heel.
The Prince felt that officials ‘simply didn’t like Meghan and would stop at nothing to make her life difficult’.
Change doesn’t happen overnight in the Royal Family. It prefers gentle tinkering to radical modernisation. But Harry and Meghan wanted to move fast.
One way of bypassing protocols and striking back was through their website, sussexroyal.com, which they harnessed as a PR weapon, using it to issue stinging pronouncements both before and after Megxit.
Their statement on their reasons for stepping down caused shockwaves. ‘The aides, including the Queen’s private secretary, Edward Young, were furious,’ says the book.
‘The private offices don’t like that type of behaviour,’ a source familiar with the negotiations said. ‘It is deeply unhealthy and unwelcome.’
But it was the Queen and Prince Philip’s ‘devastated’ reaction that surprised Harry and Meghan most.
An aide quoted in the book said: ‘The Sussexes were very happy when they sent out the statement. They felt they had got back some sort of control.
‘Was this what she [Meghan] wanted right from the start? But at what price? They deeply wounded the family.’
Even the book’s authors acknowledge this was a mis-step.
‘More unsettling, however, was the reaction from the family to the website they had launched,’ says the biography.
A senior member of the household told the authors: ‘The element of surprise, the blindsiding of the Queen, for the other principals who are all very mindful of this, rightfully, it was deeply upsetting.’
Elsewhere the book notes: ‘Even sources close to Harry and Meghan had to admit that the way the couple were forced to approach the situation (mainly in the act of keeping the family and their team in the dark about their website) ‘created a lot of ill-will in the household and especially in the family’.’
A growing sense of what resembled paranoia enhanced the couple’s sense of isolation. And to the dismay of the Palace, they chose to consult less widely.
Not that they were in any way receptive to advice. A Palace insider told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The idea that anyone could tell the Duke and Duchess of Sussex what to do is just laughable.
‘They wanted to have all the Royal perks and privileges, yet be able to use that to earn millions of dollars with no oversight. That was never going to be possible.
‘Now they blame the institution and cry, ‘We were left with no choice, poor us’. It’s risible.’
Before their move abroad, initially to Canada, the couple were ’emotionally exhausted’, according to the book. Such was his sensitivity to criticism, Harry even complained about comments made beneath articles about the couple.
He regretted opening the link to one which said: ‘The world would be a better place without Harry and Meghan in it.’
‘His stomach tied into the same knot every time he saw these sorts of comment,’ says the book.
But it wasn’t just online trolls persecuting Harry. Enemies within the Palace could be just as nasty.
‘Barely a week went by without an aspect of their internal affairs or matters of private discussions being twisted and leaked to the press,’ the authors claim. ‘They felt as though there were very few members of the Palace staff they could trust.’ Before leaving the UK, Harry pressed his case for change to the Queen, his father and a number of key aides.
‘He felt at once used for their [Harry and Meghan’s] popularity, hounded by the press because of the public’s fascination with this new breed of Royal couple, and disparaged back within the institution’s walls for being too sensitive and outspoken,’ claims the book.
It also reveals that Harry and Meghan had initially wanted to create their own individual household in Windsor, where they lived in Frogmore Cottage, after they separated from Kensington Palace.
But senior officials quickly ruled out that option, saying they had to operate under the Buckingham Palace umbrella.
This led the couple to feel increasingly bitter that they were being forced to take a ‘back seat’ to senior family members such as Charles and William.
For months the couple tried to air these frustrations but, they claim, ‘the conversations didn’t lead anywhere’ – which is why Harry was so determined to sort the matter once and for all when he and Meghan returned to the UK after their ‘working holiday’ to Canada after Christmas.
The new biography claims: ‘Everyone had their chance to help but no one did.’
To the couple, persecution manifested itself in all sorts of ways. They were offended when they and baby Archie were left out of the family photos displayed during the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day.
Palace sources explained that the photos were chosen to represent the line of succession, but this didn’t wash with the Sussexes.
The book claims it was ‘another sign that they needed to consider their own path’.
Elsewhere the book claims: ‘Harry felt as though he and Meghan had long been sidelined by the institution and were not a fundamental part of its future.’
It quotes a source as saying: ‘He feels that 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.’
The book, as reported in The Times, addresses reports that Harry was also angered by the suggestion that Meghan was solely responsible for their decision to quit Royal life. It said it was something he had always hankered after but that Meghan simply ‘opened the door for him’.
As for his wife, she tearfully told a friend in March: ‘I gave up my entire life for this family. I was willing to do whatever it takes. But here we are. It’s very sad.’
While she suffered, so too did Harry. For him the most demoralising aspect of the Megxit deal was being stripped of his honorary military appointments.
Once again it was, believe the couple, all so terribly unfair, and they reportedly regarded it as a tough pill to swallow and one that has been most painful for Meghan to witness Harry having to go through.
‘It’s the one that made Harry emotional,’ said a source.
Speaking about the military appointments, Meghan later told a friend: ‘It was so unnecessary. And it’s not just taking something away from him – it’s also that entire military veteran community.
‘You can see how much he means to them, too. So why? The powers [of the institution] are unfortunately greater than me.’
The book goes on: ‘While the hours crept closer to the couple’s final day as working Royals on March 31, Harry and Meghan continued working. Commitments that had been made long before their January announcement still needed to be carried out, and for both of them, it was important not to let anyone down. Plus, they were at their best when they were busy.’
Royalty as an institution has survived by being more than the sum of its parts, by letting actions do the talking.
This week a new ITV television documentary celebrates the 70th birthday of that most unstuffy of royals, Princess Anne. She says: ‘People talk about being trained to become a member of the Royal Family. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there is no such thing, it’s just learning by experience. But hardly ever does anything go quite according to plan. You have to learn that.’
Harry and Meghan would do well to tune in.
The Duchess of Cambridge snubbed Meghan Markle during the Sussex’s final royal engagement on Commonwealth Day, while one stand-offish episode at a charity polo match was a snapshot of the pair’s ‘cordial but distant rapport,’ the authors of an explosive new book have claimed.
biography written by journalists Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, who are fans of the couple and have set out to ‘correct the record’ and shift the spotlight on to their charitable ventures.
The authors claim the Duchess of Sussex and Kate stood next to each other but ‘barely exchanged a word’ at a charity polo match in July 2019, while Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate at the Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey in March, but the duchess ‘barely acknowledged her’.
The Sussexes say they did not contribute to the book, but Scobie and Durand’s account is based on extensive insight from friends of the couple.
Relations were said to be fraught between the princes’ wives from the inception of Meghan’s entry into the monarchy.
But one stand-offish episode at a charity polo match was a snapshot of Meghan and Kate’s ‘cordial but distant rapport,’ the book claimed.
The Duchesses put in a surprise appearance to watch Prince William and Prince Harry go head-to-head in the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day, held in honour of late Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha on July 10 2019.
It marked the first time the Sussexes and the Cambridges had been seen together as families since Archie’s birth.
It was also a rare joint appearance for Meghan and Kate, who are typically only seen together at official engagements attended by the entire royal family, such as Trooping the Colour.
But their relationship had reportedly struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met, according to the new explosive biography.
‘While the doting mothers were photographed next to each other with their children, the two appeared to barely exchange a word,’ the authors penned.
The book went on to claim that the signs of the tense relationship between the woman derived from the main issue at play – the conflict between Prince Harry and the institution.
They wrote: ‘Harry likened his meetings throughout the week to standing in front of a firing squad. ‘There was a lot of finger pointing in both directions with things leaking,’ an aide said. ‘It was all very unhealthy.’
The book claims the couples hardly spoke at the Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey despite not having seen each other since January – and that the Duchess of Cambridge snubbed Meghan during the Sussex’s final royal engagement.
Omid Scobie, who wrote the book, Finding Freedom, told The Times during the Commonwealth Day engagement: ‘Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate, the duchess barely acknowledged her.
‘To purposefully snub your sister-in-law . . . I don’t think it left a great taste in the couple’s mouths.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex was not part of the Queen’s procession through Westminster Abbey at the start of the Commonwealth Service as they made their final official appearance as senior royals on 9 March 2020.
Unlike the previous year, Harry and Meghan were conducted to their seats at the church in London, rather than waiting for the Queen’s arrival and walking through with the monarch and key royals as they did in March 2019.
The book claims the decision to remove them from the line up had been made ‘without their consultation’ – adding that they were informed long after the 2,000 orders of service had been printed for guests – with their names notably absent.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex walked in ahead of Prince William and Kate Middleton – which marked the first public meeting of the two brothers and their wives since Megxit was announced two months prior – before Prince Charles and Camilla also arrived and the Queen then made an entrance to trumpet fanfare and cheers from crowds outside.
‘It felt intentional. ‘Harry was more than disappointed,’ a friend said, speaking in the book. ‘He spoke up, but the damage had already been done.’
While the Cambridges took their seats at the same time as the Sussexes and the Earl and Countess of Wessex in a bid to ‘smooth things over’, the authors claim that the looks given indicated that the Cambridges were ‘unhappy’ with that decision.
They wrote: ‘While Harry and Meghan both greeted William and Kate with smiles, the Cambridges showed little response.
”Harry,’ William nodded, ignoring Meghan. 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.’
They added that while Meghan ‘tried to make eye contact’ with Kate, the mother-of-three ‘barely acknowledged her.’