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.’
In other explosive revelations revealed in the excerpts tonight:
- Prince Harry was ‘p****d off’ with ‘snob’ William as he was warned to take things slow with ‘this girl’ Meghan;
- William questioned Meghan’s intentions and feared that Duke of Sussex was being ‘blindsided by lust’;
- Palace insiders referred to Meghan as ‘Harry’s showgirl’ and said US actress came with a ‘lot of baggage’;
- High-ranking palace courtier was overheard telling colleague: ‘There’s something about this girl I don’t trust’;
- Two couples hardly spoke at March Commonwealth service despite not having seen each other since January;
- The Sussexes felt their complaints were not taken seriously and believed other royal households were leaking stories about them to the press;
- Being told to operate under Buckingham Palace’s umbrella after splitting their household from the Cambridges was ‘a big disappointment’ to the Sussexes;
- The Sussexes even considered breaking protocol by springing a surprise visit on the Queen when they believed they were being blocked from seeing the monarch.
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour 2018
As revelations in the book – which is being serialised by The Times and Sunday Times – threatened to plunge the Royal family back into the darkest days of the bitter ‘Megxit’ saga earlier this year, it was claimed last night that Harry was upset when his older brother referred to his then girlfriend Meghan as ‘that girl’ and was warned ‘not to rush this’.
According to the book, one senior Royal referred to Meghan as ‘Harry’s showgirl’ and another observed that she ‘comes with a lot of baggage’.
Courtier said ‘there’s something about Meghan Markle I don’t trust’, new book claims – while she felt cast as ‘Duchess Different’ and branded difficult or ‘a bitch’ due to being a woman of colour
A courtier in the Royal Household has said ‘there is something I don’t trust’ about Meghan Markle.
The book, Finding Freedom, claims as soon as Meghan was introduced to members of the Royal Household, tensions emerged.
One source claimed: ‘She comes with a lot of baggage.’ Another suggested: There’s just something about her I don’t trust.’
According to the book, Meghan believed much of the criticism was based on the fact she was a woman of colour.
Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, the co-authors of the book, also allege that a high-ranking courtier was overheard telling a colleague: ‘There’s just something about her I don’t trust.’
In other revelations, the book claims that William and Harry barely spoke for several months after the alleged ‘that girl’ comment, and that Kate did little to bridge the gap with Meghan because they were ‘not the best of friends’.
It also suggests that Meghan felt her treatment by some Palace staff was ‘sexist and prejudiced’ and that as a ‘successful woman of colour’ she was labelled ‘demanding’.
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.
The Cambridges and the Sussexes at Westminster Abbey in London on Commonwealth Day in March 2019
Kate and Meghan chatting in the Royal Box on Centre Court to watch the women’s singles final at Wimbledon in 2019
‘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].’
Finding Freedom: Harry, Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, has been written by royal watchers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, described as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s ‘cheerleaders’
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.’
Duelling duchesses were ‘never friends’: Meghan was ‘disappointed’ Kate did not reach out or visit – and even shopped on the same street at the same time in her Range Rover without asking her
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.
A new book questions whether the two duchesses, pictured at the Christmas Day church service in Sandringham in 2018 were ever particularly close
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.
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.
‘P****d off’ Prince Harry branded William a snob after his brother accused him of being ‘blinded by lust’ over ‘this girl’ Meghan Markle
Authors Scobie and Durand also reveal that Harry thought William was a ‘snob’ after his brother warned him to take things slow with Meghan Markle as a royal courtier called the actress ‘Harry’s showgirl’.
The Duke of Cambridge told Harry not to ‘rush this’ and ‘take as much time as you need to get to know this girl’ amid fears the younger brother was being ‘blindsided by lust’ for the American actress.
Sources claim ‘calm and rational’ William only met Meghan a handful of times before she married Harry, who ‘can’t help but take things far too personally’, and wanted to make sure the Suits star had the right intentions.
The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchcess of Sussex pictured in the Royal Box on Centre Court at Wimbledon last July
But the Duke of Sussex was ‘p****d off’ with his older brother and ‘could see through’ his words, thinking him judgemental and condescending and ultimately ‘being a snob’.
A source told authors Scobie and Durand that Harry bristled when William warned him: ‘Don’t feel you need to rush this. Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.’
‘After all, these are two brothers that have spent their whole lives with people trying to take advantage of them,’ the source said. ‘They’ve both developed a radar to detect that type of person, but as William didn’t know a whole lot about Meghan, he wanted to make sure Harry wasn’t blindsided by lust.’
Another source claimed: ‘Harry was pissed off. Pissed off that his brother would ask such a thing.
‘Some felt it was an overreaction. But then, this sums them up as people – William, the calm and rational one, and Harry, who can’t help but take things far too personally.’
When Harry and Meghan first started dating, a senior royal referred to the actress as ‘Harry’s showgirl’, while another told an aide ‘she comes with a lot of baggage’.
A high-ranking courtier was even overheard telling a colleague: ‘There’s just something about her I don’t trust’.
A close friend of Harry’s claimed the duke was ‘aware of the talk’, adding. ‘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.’
Meghan, Prince Harry and Prince William on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on the 100th anniversary of the RAF, 2018
Harry and Meghan in Canada House, London, shortly after jetting back to the UK from their Christmas retreat
Harry and Meghan’s friends attack Royals’ behaviour at last public appearances: New book claims Kate ‘barely acknowledged’ Meghan while William ignored her, and describe ‘cordial but distant’ polo day out
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.
Finding Freedom is a 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.
Finding Freedom claims the doting mothers were photographed next to each other with their children, but they ‘appeared to barely exchange a word.’ Pictured, the Duchess of Cambridge, Duchess of Sussex and Archie at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day, Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham on 10 July 2019
KING POWER ROYAL CHARITY POLO DAY – 10 JULY 2019
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.
According to the book, Kate and Meghan’s relationship had struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met. Pictured, at the polo
The book claimed that the signs of the tense relationship between Kate and Meghan derived from the main issue at play – the conflict between Prince Harry and the institution. Pictured, at the charity polo match
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.’
COMMONWEALTH DAY SERVICE AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY – 9 MARCH 2020
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.’