The Queen feared Prince Harry was ‘perhaps a little over-in-love’ but ‘liked’ Meghan Markle and ‘did everything to make her feel welcome’, insightful new biography reveals
- Gyles Brandreth has revealed the Queen’s delight with Harry’s choice of wife
- But she also feared that her grandson was ‘perhaps a little over-in-love’ with her
- The Queen had high hopes for the contribution she would make to public life
- Prince Philip thought Harry and Meghan were wrong to abandon royal duties
- Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait by Gyles Brandreth to be published in December
- Click on this link here to read the exclusive extract in full on The Mail+
The remarkable way the Queen welcomed Meghan into the Royal Family – despite her concerns that Prince Harry was ‘perhaps a little over-in-love’ with his new partner – is today revealed in an authoritative new biography.
Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, a close and trusted confidant of the senior Royals, has disclosed in unprecedented detail how the Queen was genuinely delighted with her beloved grandson’s choice of wife, and had high hopes for the contribution she could make to public life.
But if her cordial generosity towards her future granddaughter-in-law made the Sussexes’ subsequent decision to turn their back on the UK and their Royal duties any more painful, Her Majesty did not display it. The ever-pragmatic monarch was even sanguine about the bombshell interview the couple gave to Oprah Winfrey, expressing more concern about Harry’s wellbeing than what she dismissed as ‘this television nonsense’.
The extraordinarily well-sourced insight comes in an extract from Mr Brandreth’s fascinating new book, Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait, published exclusively in The Mail on Sunday today.
It follows revelations in yesterday’s Daily Mail that the Queen found solace watching Line Of Duty after Prince Philip’s death and that she reluctantly accepted she would have to cut down her punishing schedule as she became increasingly frail in her later months.
In today’s compelling extract, the former Conservative MP reveals:
- The Queen was ‘devoted’ to Harry and thought he was ‘huge fun’ but feared he was ‘perhaps a little too in-love’ with Meghan;
- She liked Meghan and did ‘everything to make her feel welcome’;
- The Queen told Meghan she could continue her career, saying: ‘You can carry on being an actress if you like – that’s your profession, after all’;
- When Meghan said she would quit acting to dedicate herself to Royal service, the Queen was ‘delighted’ – but then became concerned when her offer to have Sophie Wessex ‘show her the ropes’ was rejected;
- The Queen liked Meghan’s mother Doria, and was sorry the Markle family was ‘fractured’;
- While other members of the Royal Family found the Sussexes’ decision to name their daughter Lilibet – the Queen’s childhood nickname – ‘bewildering’ and ‘rather presumptuous’, the Queen remarked that it was ‘very pretty and seems just right’;
- If Harry and Meghan are mentioned to other members of the Royal Family, the response is a brief smile and the curt platitude: ‘We wish them all the best’;
- When Prince Andrew ‘harrumphed’ about Meghan and Harry’s tell-all interview with Ms Winfrey in 2020, the Queen gently reminded him of a similar interview his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson had given to the same talk-show host;
- Prince Philip felt that the Sussexes’ interview was ‘madness’ but the Queen was relaxed, dismissing it – and a forthcoming Netflix documentary – as ‘this television nonsense’;
- The story that the Queen shed tears at the decommissioning of the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1997 is a myth, as Prince Philip told Mr Brandreth that it was simply down to a cold wind that day which made everyone’s eyes water;
- When Zara Tindall told her grandmother she was calling her daughter Lena rather than Elena because she didn’t want her child’s initials to be ET, the Queen, not appreciating the reference to the 1982 film about an extraterrestrial, replied: ‘You’ve lost me.’
The insightful book is the result of a connection between Mr Brandreth and the Royal Family, dating from the 1970s, when he met Prince Philip at a charity event.
The Queen feared Prince Harry was ‘perhaps a little over-in-love’ with Meghan Markle (pictured with the Queen), an authoritative new biography has revealed today
The Queen was even sanguine about the bombshell interview Harry and Meghan (pictured) gave to Oprah Winfrey, expressing more concern about Harry’s wellbeing than what she dismissed as ‘this television nonsense’
The extraordinarily well-sourced insight comes in an extract from Mr Brandreth’s fascinating new book, Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait, published exclusively in The Mail on Sunday today. Pictured: The Queen speaking with Prince Harry in 2019
The new book reveals Prince Philip’s belief that Harry and Meghan were not doing the right thing in abandoning royal duty for their new life in California. Pictured: The Queen and Prince Philip in 2017
The pair hit it off immediately, enjoying each other’s quick wit. The broadcaster has continued to work with the Royals, launching a poetry podcast with the Queen Consort earlier this year.
Mr Brandreth’s unique access, fondness for his subjects and talent for sparkling, vivid prose has won him praise for presenting the ‘human truth’ behind the Royals’ public image in a refreshing, compelling way.
In the new book, he reveals Prince Philip’s belief that Harry and Meghan were not doing the right thing in abandoning Royal duty for their new life in California, with the Duke confiding: ‘It’s a big mistake to think about yourself… If you think it’s all about you, you’ll never be happy.’
Mr Brandreth believes that King Charles’s opinion of his son and daughter-in-law might be closer to Philip’s view than the Queen’s more forgiving approach.
The author concludes: ‘When we get to the Coronation of Charles III, the issue of ‘Harry and Meghan’… will be unavoidable. And, from the new King’s point of view, deeply regrettable.’