‘No titles’ were used during a Megxit lunch between Prince Harry and the Queen, where the pair were able to be just ‘granny and grandson’ before the Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle quit the Royal Family, a new book has claimed.
Extracts of the Finding Freedom biography, which are being serialised this weekend in The Times and Sunday Times, detailed the intimate lunch between the Duke of Sussex and Her Majesty on March 1, where the royals were able to be just ‘granny and grandson’.
The first release of the book last night said the meeting was initiated by Her Majesty, who invited the prince to her apartment at Windsor Castle for a final heart-to-heart ahead of his and Meghan Markle’s final royal appearance in Britain.
According to the book, her appeal to meet for a poached salmon and salad lunch at Windsor Castle was to repair family ties that had been badly strained by the couple’s announcement of Megxit.
‘This time it would just be the two of them for Sunday lunch,’ the book reads.
”No titles,’ an aide said. ‘Just granny and grandson’.’
‘Sitting at the Queen’s dining room in her Windsor Castle apartment, it was just like the old days,’ the serialisation, published in the Times, adds.
‘While he had lost respect for parts of the institution, and even certain family members at points, the Queen was still one of the most important women in his life.
‘As they tucked into a roast lunch, the Queen made it clear to Harry that she would always support him in whatever he decided to do.
‘Though a 12-month trial period had already been promised to Harry earlier in the year, their conversation was also a reminder that should he and Meghan ever want to return to their roles, they were always welcome.’
‘It’s been made very clear they can come back whenever they want, when they’re ready,’ a source involved with the negotiations said.
A day after the final meeting, an insider told the Sun the Queen ended the chat by telling Harry he is ‘much loved and will always be welcomed back.’
‘The Queen had a lot to talk to Harry about and this was the ideal time for them to both say their piece,’ the royal source added in March.
‘Sunday was the first time the Queen has had the chance to talk to Harry on his own and really find out what his plans are. It was a much more relaxed environment and they were both able to speak their mind.’
The source added the monarch was ‘very upset’ about Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave for North America and ‘would love to see more’ of her nine-month-old great-grandson Archie.
‘She accepts at the moment that his mind is made up and he intends to live in North America,’ the source added.
‘However she also wanted to make it clear that the arrangement can only work if they do not exploit their royal status and try to ‘cash in’ — that’s why she wouldn’t let them use the word ‘royal’ for their foundation.’
The Queen also reportedly made it ‘very clear’ to Harry that he and Meghan are ‘always able to come back if they change their minds’ and will be welcomed with ‘open arms’.
Among the books other findings, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were said to be frustrated that William and Kate got all the best official roles and felt ‘cut adrift’ from the Royal Family and ‘viper’ courtiers’.
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 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 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 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 also describes how Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, attempted to go straight to the Queen, 94, to settle Megxit after flying in from Christmas in Canada .
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 being told that the Queen wouldn’t be available to speak to him until January 29, Harry even considered making a detour to Sandringham from Heathrow airport with his wife to ‘plead their case’.
He had touched down briefly in the UK after spending Christmas in Canada with baby son, Archie, The Times reports.
He is said to believe the problems were down to 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.