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How Harry and Meghan considered ambushing the Queen

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle abandoned a plan to ambush the Queen with their plan to quit as senior royals, it has been revealed in new biography Finding Freedom.

The disillusioned couple had agreed on a Christmas 2019 retreat in Canada they would part ways with The Firm, and emailed Her Majesty and Prince Charles of their intention to step back.

But when they arrived back in Britain they lacked an immediate appointment to see Harry’s 94-year-old grandmother, who they wanted to meet to thrash out the details of their departure.

Eager to lock down the new role for him and his wife, Harry ‘toyed with the idea’ of driving straight from the airport to Sandringham for a showdown with the monarch, the book reveals. 

Extracts from Finding Freedom, the biography serialised in the Times and Sunday Times, claim the Duke backed off the idea because the spectacular breach of royal protocol would have further ‘ruffled feathers’.

A source close to the couple told authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand: ‘At this point they felt like they had brought up the subject enough times with family members over the past year and they were fed up with not being taken seriously.’ 

Excerpts of 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 the first release last night, it was revealed that Harry and Meghan were upset they had to take a ‘backseat’ to other family members such as Prince William and Prince Charles who were given priority for their own projects.

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. 

Their account claims that Meghan and Harry battled against ‘viper’ courtiers who feared they would become more popular than the Royal family itself and singles out William and Kate for criticism over their alleged freezing out of the couple.

Scobie has also hinted at racism within the Royal ranks, saying ‘there are individuals who may like to take a look at how they view the world’ – and the book claims the couple were ‘propelling the monarchy to new heights around the world’. 

In a tearful remark to a friend, the Duchess of Sussex claimed she gave up her ‘entire life for this family’ and then had no choice but to quit – but adds she ‘couldn’t imagine wanting to set foot in anything royal again’ after Megxit. 

It claims the infighting and suspicion over the couple’s royal role and desire to break free from the ‘straitjacket’ of royal life, became so bad that Harry believed he was been blocked from seeing his grandmother, the Queen.

In other explosive revelations revealed in the excerpts last night: 

After Harry and Meghan shelved their plan to dash from the terminal at Heathrow to the Norfolk estate to ‘plead their case’ with the Queen, they instead assembled their top team at Frogmore Cottage to set the wheels in motion for their departure announcement, the book claims. 

They liaised with Buckingham Palace about releasing a statement on January 8, the day after they visited Canada House in London.

But their Instagram post revealing their decision to step back from The Firm caught Palace aides off guard as it was accompanied by the launch of the Sussex Royal website.

The website fleshed out details for a ‘half-in-half-out model’ which had not been rubber-stamped by the Queen. 

It derailed the carefully choreographed departure and forced the Palace to rip up its prepared statement and instead rush out a short press communique insisting nothing had been finalised, the authors claim. 

The Duke and Duchess’s decision to ‘clarify’ their pared-back roles without getting it signed off by the Queen, 94, was ‘deeply upsetting’ for her, according to courtiers who said Her Majesty felt ‘blindsided’.

Finding Freedom also describes how Harry pinned the source of their unhappiness on senior courtiers in other royal households – the so-called ‘men in grey suits’ – who were intent on ‘reining in’ the couple’s popularity, which they feared would outshine other senior royals. 

A friend of the couple apparently describes the palace ‘old guard’ as ‘the vipers’, laying bare Harry and Meghan’s contempt and distrust.

The book acknowledges that the couple’s decision to keep everyone in the dark over their plans to quit royal duties and move abroad created a ‘lot of ill will in the household and especially in the family’.

But it says that Harry and Meghan didn’t feel they had a choice.

It says Harry felt that palace officials ‘simply didn’t like Meghan and would stop at nothing to make her life difficult’.

‘He felt … used for their popularity,’ the books says. 

Behind-the-scenes wrangling following the memorable Sandringham Summit is also plotted in the pages of the biography.

After Harry and Meghan dropped their bombshell statement announcing the intention to step down as senior royals, the Queen gathered the Family at her Norfolk residence to map out a way through the crisis.

In subsequent meetings that week with aides, Harry said he felt ‘in front of a firing squad’ as accusations of leaking were thrown from both sides. 

Sources have told the Mail that the biography will lay bare the ‘pressure cooker’ of anger and resentment the couple felt as working royals. 

It chronicles the tensions sowed between the so-called Fab Four of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan, once seen as the future of the monarchy. 

The book claims the couples hardly spoke at the Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey despite not having seen each other since January.

The book’s authors, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, said: ‘Although Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate, the duchess barely acknowledged her.’

Mr Scobie told the Times: ‘To purposefully snub your sister-in-law… I don’t think it left a great taste in the couple’s mouths.’ 

Relations were said to be fraught between the princes’ wives from the inception of Meghan’s entry into the monarchy.

The book claims that one stand-offish episode at a charity polo match was a snapshot of the pair’s ‘cordial but distant rapport’. 

‘While the doting mothers were photographed next to each other with their children, the two appeared to barely exchange a word,’ the authors write. 

The book adds that Harry and Meghan ‘liked being in control of their narrative’ in the early days of their marriage, the authors say. 

Meanwhile the book claims that Prince Harry, not Meghan, was the one who wanted to distance themselves from public life, and he craved an existence ‘away from the media’.

A source close to the couple said in the book: ‘Fundamentally, Harry wanted out. ‘Deep down, he was always struggling within that world.  She’s opened the door for him on that.’ 

A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said the couple did not contribute to the book, but he did not deny the content of The Times’s extracts.

The spokesman said: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. 

Insiders told The Telegraph that even before Prince Harry met Meghan in 2016, there were tensions between the brothers.

A source said: ‘It wasn’t a rivalry between the brothers but more a sense that they would be competing over who would lead on their various issues,’ said one source.

‘Harry felt awkward as a plus one. They’d turn up at premieres and there was this sense that he felt a bit like a spare part.

‘Long before Meghan he wanted to change things. He wanted to control his own narrative. He would say, ‘Why can’t we use social media or record videos and cut out the press?’

The tensions were exacerbated after William is claimed to have taken his younger brother to one said and asked him: ‘Are you sure about this?’ after the Harry asked Meghan to marry him. 

The Mail understands that Buckingham Palace fear the book will destroy any hope of Harry and Meghan repairing their relationships with the rest of the Royal Family. 

Mr Scobie, the royal editor of Harper’s Bazaar, and Ms Durand, a US journalist, claim they have not spoken with Harry and Meghan for the book but boasted of sources from within the couple’s inner circle. 

It comes as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have filed a lawsuit in California accusing unnamed paparazzi photographers of taking ‘illegal’ drone pictures of their son Archie.

The lawsuit filed on Thursday alleges ‘serial intrusions’ into 14-month old Archie’s privacy at the LA home where Harry and Meghan have been living since March.  

The couple say they are taking legal action to protect Archie from a ‘manufactured feeding frenzy’ after claiming that the paparazzi had flown helicopters over their home and cut holes in a fence to take pictures. 

They also accuse photographers of putting misleading captions on pictures of Archie in the back garden in order to suggest they were taken in a public place. 

‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are filing this lawsuit to protect their young son’s right to privacy in their home without intrusion by photographers, and to uncover and stop those who seek to profit from these illegal actions,’ their attorney said.  

Meghan, Harry and one-year-old Archie have been staying at Hollywood producer Tyler Perry’s $18 million mega-mansion in the exclusive neighborhood of Beverly Ridge since moving to LA in March.

In their lawsuit, they say they took considerable privacy measures at Tyler’s mansion, including the erection of a large mesh fence around the property to guard against telephoto lenses. 

But they can’t protect against drones which are being flown ‘a mere 20 feet above the house as often as three times a day’.

Helicopters have also flown over the residence as early as 5.30am and as late as 7pm, the legal papers allege, which had the effect of ‘waking neighbours and their son, day after day’. 

‘Every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home. No drones, helicopters or telephoto lenses can take away that right,’ said the couple’s lawyer Michael Kump. 

The duke and duchess say they expect to be followed when they go out in public but state that ‘certain paparazzi and enablers have crossed a red line.’

Harry and Meghan’s complaint accuses the paparazzi of ‘intimidation, harassment and the addition of a very real security threat on top of what already exists’.   

The lawsuit filed by Kump said some some media outlets flew helicopters above the home and photographers had even cut holes in their fence to snap pictures.

They said the behavior ‘crossed a red line for any parent’ by shopping pics of their son. 

The couple seeks ‘no special treatment’ and is only seeking the right to be left alone in the privacy of their home as guaranteed under the laws of California, the lawsuit stated. 

Harry and Meghan claim they have ‘done everything in their power to stay out of the limelight’ except in relation to their work, which they accept is newsworthy. 

Harry and Meghan’s suit also claims that the photographer trying to sell pictures of their son claimed they were taken in public, in Malibu. 

But the couple have not been to the area, or in public with their son, since moving to LA and say the snapper is simply trying to hide the fact they  have ‘unsolicited photographs of a young child in the privacy of his own home’ which are ‘very much unlawful.’ 

They have also attempted to try and reduce the ‘bounty’ price of Archie photos by sharing pictures of him on social media. 

Because Harry and Meghan do not know who took the pictures, the lawsuit targets unnamed defendants, which allows the couple to pursue anyone selling the images. 

Harry blames press intrusion for the death of his mother Princess Diana in 1997 and last year alleged that Meghan was ‘falling victim to the same powerful forces’. 

Diana died in a high-speed car crash while her chauffeur tried to escape pursuing paparazzi photographers in Paris. 

A statement from Buckingham Palace after the ‘Megxit’ arrangements were finalised in January said that the couple had ‘experienced challenges’ as a result of ‘intense scrutiny’ since they married in 2018. 

Earlier this year the couple announced they were cutting ties with the UK’s most popular newspapers, a move criticised by royal and media commentators. 

The Sussex Royal website says the couple will instead ‘engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists’. 

The couple stunned the world in January by announcing they were ‘stepping back as senior members of the royal family’ and would ‘work to become financially independent’. 

After initially setting up camp in Canada, they moved to Meghan’s hometown of Los Angeles and have remained there during the coronavirus crisis. 

The couple relocated to LA in March, but royal expert Victoria Murphy believes they aren’t looking for a ‘totally private life’. The says they stepped back from the royal family to gain more control over ‘what they spend their time on’.

Speaking to Town and Country, the commentator noted that Harry and Meghan still want a public life but with greater control over their time.

[Harry and Meghan] have stepped back not in search of a totally private life but for a different kind of public life,’ Victoria said.  ‘A public life where they can have more control over who gets access to them and what they spend their time on.’

The pair have only been spotted out a handful of times, most recently leaving an appointment in Beverly Hills, as the friend explained the couple is starting to feel ‘cooped up’, leaving Meghan ready to get out of town for her birthday.  

Separately, it was recently revealed that Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland had moved into Tyler Perry’s mega-mansion to help take care of Archie. 

A friend previously told DailyMail.com that Meghan wants to keep her mother close because she is ‘her rock’ and now ‘doesn’t trust many people’ outside of an immediate circle of family and friends. 

Meghan had the full support of her mother when she and Prince Harry quit as senior royals back in January.

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex dropped the bombshell news that they were quitting, dividing their time between North America and the UK and would work to become financially independent, the royal family and the rest of the world were caught off guard.

However, Meghan reportedly had the backing of her Los Angeles-based mother, who ‘was really worried about Meghan… and is relieved that her daughter is putting her mental health and well being first,’ the insider said.

The friend added: ‘Doria is very much about being true to oneself and so of course she will continue to encourage Meghan to take the road less traveled.’

Meghan Markle tearfully told a friend ‘I gave up my entire life for this family’ and said she was ‘willing to do whatever it takes’ to avoid quitting, according to a bombshell biography.  

Extracts from Finding Freedom claim an emotional Meghan made the confession in March, months after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they would ‘step down’ as senior royals. 

‘I was willing to do whatever it takes. But here we are,’ she told a friend. ‘It’s very sad.’

The passage, published by the Times, also suggests Prince Harry was a driving force behind the couple’s shock decision to stand down from the royal family and move to Los Angeles.  

‘Fundamentally, Harry wanted out,’ a source said. ‘Deep down, he was always struggling within that world. She’s opened the door for him on that.’       

Finding Freedom: Harry, Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family is written by royal watchers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, described as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s ‘cheerleaders’. 

The biography, published next month and written ‘with the participation of those closest to the couple’, charts the Sussexes bitter exit from the monarchy.  

Excerpts from the sensational book claim Harry and Meghan felt ‘cut adrift’ and frustrated that William and Kate got all the best official roles before they decided to leave for the US.

It will say they butted-heads with palace courtiers over their future plans, who are understood to have stressed ‘service to the Crown’ above all else, leaving the couple feeling ‘stonewalled’. 

Sources have told the Mail that the tell-all biography will lay bare the ‘pressure cooker’ of anger and resentment the couple felt as working royals. 

After the spectacular wedding in May 2018 Harry and Meghan were seen as the future of the Royals and saw a surge in popularity, including a marked increase in social media following. 

But the biography will say they felt ‘unsupported’ in what they wanted to do afterwards.

A source told The Sun: ‘They feel they were owed an awful lot of credit for their popularity and success of the wedding — which led to a public outpouring of support — that they did not get.’  

According the book, the Queen was ‘blindsided’ when the royal couple on January 8 announced on Instagram they were leaving The Firm.  

The Queen was also understood to be hurt by the ‘suboptimal behaviour’ from the couple.

Insiders told The Telegraph that before even before Prince Harry met Meghan in 2016, there were tensions between him and brother William.

‘It wasn’t a rivalry between the brothers but more a sense that they would be competing over who would lead on their various issues,’ said one source.

‘Harry felt awkward as a plus one. They’d turn up at premieres and there was this sense that he felt a bit like a spare part.

‘Long before Meghan he wanted to change things. He wanted to control his own narrative. He would say, ‘Why can’t we use social media or record videos and cut out the press?’

The tensions were exacerbated after William is claimed to have taken his younger brother to one said and asked him: ‘Are you sure about this?’ after the Harry asked Meghan to marry him.

The Mail understands that Buckingham Palace fear the book will destroy any hope of Harry and Meghan repairing their relationships with the rest of the Royal Family.  

A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said the couple did not contribute to the book, but he did not deny the content of The Times’s extracts.

A statement 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.’   

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