Some Royal Family members were ‘quietly pleased’ that Meghan Markle did not attend Prince Philip’s funeral because they ‘didn’t want a circus’ or her ‘creating a spectacle’, sources close to the Sussexes have claimed.
The Duchess of Sussex did not travel from California to Britain with her husband Prince Harry for the service in April under doctor’s orders because she was heavily pregnant with the couple’s second child, Lilibet Diana.
But an updated version of the couple’s biography Finding Freedom claims that several members of the Royal Family were ‘understood to have been ‘quietly pleased’ that Meghan did not go to the funeral at Windsor Castle.
The book’s authors Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, who is a friend and media partner of the Sussexes, claim it was because the royals ‘didn’t want a circus’ or – as one senior royal source said – Meghan ‘creating a spectacle’.
The claim is published in an updated edition of Finding Freedom which is due to come out on August 31 – the 24th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death – and has been leaked to the Independent. The book also claims:
- A wreath Harry had ordered for the Remembrance Sunday service in London last year stayed in a box in Kent;
- William was ‘furious’ about Harry and Meghan’s allegation of racism ‘being discussed in the public domain’;
- Bullying claims against Meghan showed some people were trying to ‘undermine’ her ahead of the Oprah chat;
- They had a low-key second wedding anniversary last year, eating a Mexican takeaway from a local takeaway.
The Land Rover Defender carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh is followed by members of the Royal Family including Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on April 17
The Duke of Sussex sits alone during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in April
William and Harry follow the Land Rover Defender carrying the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin during the funeral in April
The band of the Grenadier Guards watched by members of the Royal Family at Windsor Castle during the funeral in April
The book states that Harry had wanted a wreath laid on his behalf at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday last year but it was left in a box at the Kent offices of the Royal British Legion, which organises the Poppy Appeal.
The Duke of Sussex spent ten years in the military but lost his three honorary military titles including Captain General of the Royal Marines after stepping down as a senior royal last year along with his wife Meghan Markle.
The new version of Finding Freedom will be out on August 31
The new version of Finding Freedom – which also covers the Oprah Winfrey interview and the Sussexes’ plans for the future – claims that that a red poppy wreath had been ordered for Harry with the Royal British Legion.
But his request for it to be laid at the Cenotaph service in November last year was allegedly denied because he was no longer a ‘frontline royal’. The book adds: ‘As the day came and went, Harry’s gesture remained in its box at the charity’s headquarters in Kent.’
A source said Harry was ‘saddened and disappointed by the decision’, adding: ‘Ten years of service and a lifetime commitment to the military community and this is how it’s been acknowledged by his family.’
Harry and Meghan were instead photographed during a private visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery in California, where he laid a wreath.
The book also looks at the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah on March 7, in which they claimed a senior royal made a racist comment about the colour of their unborn child’s skin.
In the week after this aired, Prince William was asked during a visit to a school in East London by a reporter: ‘Is the royal family a racist family, sir?’ William replied: ‘We’re very much not a racist family.’
The book claims that William ‘was understood to be ‘furious’ that private family matters were being discussed in the public domain’ and is not likely to ever comment again on the claims made in the interview.
It also looks at the timing of an article in The Times, just four days before the Oprah interview aired, which claimed bullying allegations were made against Meghan by a former aide and she had left staff feeling ‘humiliated’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on a private visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery on Remembrance Sunday last year
The Duke of Sussex lays a wreath during a private visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery in California last November
The Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall in November 2020, where no wreath was laid for Harry
The Queen attends the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London in November 2020
The book stated that the article was ‘more worrying’ for the Duchess than other ‘defamatory reports’ and that it gave them more confidence that they had made the right choice by stepping down as senior royals.
Royal author Omid Scobie is a trusted media contact of the Sussexes and co-wrote their biography Finding Freedom
A friend of the couple told the authors: ‘It felt like certain individuals at the Palace were doing their very best to undermine and discredit anything they worried the couple may or may not say during the interview.’
And the book also claimed that Harry and Meghan had a low-key second wedding anniversary in May 2020 when lockdown restrictions were imposed in California, and had a Mexican takeaway from a local restaurant.
The Sussexes also spent the day at their mansion ‘remembering their 2018 nuptials with people who had been involved in the ceremony’ and ‘exchanged cotton-based gifts, as is traditional for second wedding anniversaries’, according to the Independent.
Buckingham Palace told MailOnline this morning that it would not be commenting on the book’s claims.
Last week, Mr Scobie rowed back over his words after claiming Harry and Meghan believe the Queen failed to act on their accusations of racism.
He writes in the updated book that the Sussexes took exception to the Queen’s carefully worded response to their explosive Oprah interview.
The monarch’s statement that ‘some recollections may vary’ led Harry and Meghan to believe senior royals had not taken ‘accountability’ and ‘full ownership’ of the racism claims, according to the forthcoming new edition.
But after this claim was aired last week by People magazine in the US, publishing an excerpt from the book, Mr Scobie said he had been misquoted.
Harry joined his brother William at Kensington Palace on July 1 to unveil a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana
Harry and Meghan spoke to Oprah Winfrey in a bombshell interview in March in which they accused a senior royal of racism
The co-author of the biography said his words had been twisted to imply criticism of the Queen, when they were actually targeted at the royal institution as a whole.
Prince Harry thinks Prince William is ‘trapped’ in the Royal Family but ‘doesn’t know it’, says royal author
Prince Harry thinks his brother Prince William is ‘trapped’ in the royal family and ‘doesn’t know it’, a royal expert has claimed.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said the Duke of Sussex grew up knowing he would have ‘no defined role’ within the family which led to him resenting not being taken seriously – despite all his military and charity work.
He added that the royal’s marriage to Meghan Markle ‘undoubtedly changed him’ but his rivalry with his brother long outdates his relationship with his wife.
Harry, who now lives in an £11million mansion in Montecito with his wife and their children Archie and Lilibet, recently announced he has been secretly working on a bombshell book for nearly a year.
Speaking to Entertainment Daily, Mr Fitzwilliams said: ‘Many think that the fact that William grew up knowing he would one day be king and Harry had no defined role, led to rivalry between brothers who were considered inseparable.
‘Harry’s reputation was as the royal wild child for years, William’s image was far more serious however he behaved. Some say Harry resented not being taken seriously, despite his military service and charitable work. Harry now believes he was trapped as a member of the royal family and that William currently is but doesn’t know it.
‘The rift between them, long reported and first confirmed in the ITV documentary about their South Africa trip, is public and serious. It was his marriage to Meghan which unquestionably changed him.’
He added that the ‘Fab Four’ idea – that saw Harry and Meghan work with Prince William and Kate Middleton was a ‘disaster’.
This is despite the fact that the claim was made about words released in the name of Her Majesty.
This was followed by an extraordinary statement issued by lawyers for the duke and duchess, denying they had ‘reignited a rift with Her Majesty The Queen’.
In the statement by Schillings, Harry and Meghan sought to distance themselves from the updated version of the flattering biography, describing it as an ‘unauthorised’ book written on the basis of ‘anonymous sources’.
The excerpt from the new epilogue in the paperback version of the biography suggests that the couple are far from happy with Buckingham Palace’s reaction to their Oprah interview earlier this year, including their claim that a member of the Royal Family expressed ‘concern’ about the colour of their unborn baby’s skin.
In her carefully worded response, Harry’s grandmother expressed concern for the couple but insisted that ‘some recollections may vary’. Days later, Prince William told reporters that the royals were ‘very much not a racist family’.
And now it is said that the Sussexes believe there has been a collective failure ‘to take ownership’ and ‘little accountability’, preventing any attempt to repair their fractured relationship.
The new extract reads: ‘Those three words, ‘recollections may vary’, did not go unnoticed by the couple, who a close source said were ‘not surprised’ that full ownership was not taken. ‘Months later and little accountability has been taken,’ a pal of Meghan’s added. ‘How can you move forward without that?’ ‘
Last week the couple’s lawyers in London said following reports about the offending quote that it was ‘false and defamatory to claim our clients have ‘reignited a rift’ with Her Majesty The Queen or to suggest or imply that our clients have made any statements to that effect.
‘The inaccurate claim appears to be based on an excerpt from an epilogue to the unauthorised biography, Finding Freedom.
‘It is disingenuous to suggest there has been some kind of new development on this topic.’ The book’s co-author Mr Scobie, who is widely seen as a ‘cheerleader’ for the couple, also tried to poor oil on troubled waters and downplay the controversy.
He tweeted: ‘Back at this rodeo and, predictably, words are already being twisted. The comments made by a SOURCE (a detail some outlets have purposefully ignored) was about a lack of ownership from the royal institution as a whole. There’s no ‘attack’ against the Queen anywhere in the book.’
But the quote in question refers directly to an extremely rare personal statement issued by Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen earlier this year.