The highly anticipated book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, by longtime royal reporters Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, is out today. The book is a biographical account of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s relationship, their family, and the factors that made them decide to step back from the royal family.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the couple 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.”
BuzzFeed News read through the book, which provides many new details of the couple’s life. Here are some of the most noteworthy parts of the book.
Harry cut off people who raised questions about his relationship with Meghan:
On the day Harry and Meghan announced their engagement, Harry told the press that he knew she was the one for him, “the very first time we met.” Their romance. as described in Finding Freedom, backs this up — but also describes how Harry reportedly iced people out, including his brother, Prince William, for what he saw as questioning their relationship.
“When he first started seeing her, Harry, sensitive to even the slightest hint of prejudice, had fallouts within his own tight circle,” according to the book. “When some questioned his new relationship and whether she was suitable, he would wonder, ‘Is this about race? Is it snobbery?’” Harry reportedly cut an “old friend” out of his life entirely after he learned that the friend had made “disparaging remarks” about Meghan and her Hollywood background.
According to the book, Harry’s childhood friend Tom “Skippy” Inskip confronted Harry in April 2017, saying he believed Harry was “rushing into things” with Meghan and advising him to “be careful.” Harry was reportedly hurt by his friend’s words and the two didn’t speak for a long time. Although Skippy was invited to Harry and Meghan’s wedding ceremony and their official afternoon reception, he was purposefully left off the list for the star-studded evening wedding party, according to the book.
William also advised Harry to slow things down with Meghan, leading to a rift in their relationship. The book states that the future king “didn’t know a whole lot” about his brother’s girlfriend and wanted to make sure that “Harry wasn’t blindsided by lust.”
Harry and Meghan published their proposed plan for their new lives before it had been approved by the Queen:
Finding Freedom states that when Harry and Meghan began working out the details of their plan to step back as senior royals, they hired an outside PR and design team to help them set up a new official website because they were afraid the information would leak if they involved anyone from the palace press teams.
The website, SussexRoyal.com, laid out the couple’s proposed plans for their new life — ideas that they had not yet presented to the Queen and Prince Charles for approval. According to the book, Harry had been attempting to set up a meeting with his father and grandmother for this very purpose for weeks. Although they were unaware of the specifics, the senior royals knew that Harry and Meghan wanted to propose a plan to step back from life as senior royals. The different palace press teams were reportedly working on a joint statement announcing the beginning of this process when news of their plans leaked to the tabloid the Sun.
According to Finding Freedom, it wasn’t so much Harry and Meghan’s deciding on their own to announce their desire to step back from their roles as senior royals that blindsided the family, but their decision to simultaneously launch their website “which laid out the details of their new half-in-half-out model as if it were a done deal.”
Kate and Meghan have never been close:
According to Finding Freedom, Meghan and sister-in-law Kate are “not the best of friends” but also “not at war with each other,” and that their relationship “had struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met.”
“Their relationship hadn’t progressed much since she was Harry’s girlfriend,” the book states. “Although Meghan might have understood Kate’s wariness to strike up a meaningful friendship, they were still no closer by the time she was a fellow senior working member of the royal family and the wife of William’s brother. Flowers for her birthday were nice, but Meghan would far rather have had Kate check in on her during the most difficult times with the press.”
Anecdotally, Finding Freedom also states that the infamous tabloid story about Meghan making Kate cry during Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress fitting before the wedding is untrue.
There are “steamy” paparazzi photos of Harry and Meghan that have never seen the light of day:
In March 2017, Harry and Meghan flew to Jamaica for the wedding of one of his closest childhood friends.” Although the resort where the wedding was to take place had been closed down for the three days of celebrations, a paparazzo managed to find his way onto the grounds to take photos of Harry and Meghan.
According to the book, the photographer was “promptly tossed out of the resort, but not before capturing the couple in a steamy embrace on their private balcony,” as well as Harry and Meghan in their swimsuits.
Harry, reportedly “apoplectic” with rage, ordered the Buckingham Palace press team to make sure that the balcony photos were never published — and although the snaps of Meghan and Harry on the beach soon emerged for sale, the balcony photos have never been seen.
Harry and Meghan told the royal family that she was pregnant at Princess Eugenie’s wedding:
The Sussexes publicly announced their pregnancy on Oct. 15, 2018, in a statement timed to coincide with the beginning of their 16-day royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga. According to Finding Freedom, the couple shared the happy news with the members of the royal family three days earlier — at the wedding of Harry’s cousin, Princess Eugenie, to Jack Brooksbank.
“It did not go down particularly well with Eugenie, who a source said told friends she felt the couple should have waited to share the news,” the book states.
Thomas Markle is no longer a part of Harry and Meghan’s life:
Over more than two chapters, Finding Freedom goes into great detail about the breakdown of Meghan’s relationship with her father and everything that happened in the lead-up to her wedding, which he did not attend.
Now, two years later, the book says, Meghan no longer recognizes Markle as “the man who raised her.”
According to Finding Freedom, when Archie was born, Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, texted her ex-husband to tell him the news. “[Meghan] did not want him to find out after the rest of the world. But she didn’t want to know whether her father replied to her mother’s text,” the book states.
Harry and Meghan fired a nanny:
When Meghan’s mother returned to Los Angeles a month after Archie’s birth, Harry and Meghan hired a night nanny to help care for their son. However, according to the book, they fired her in the middle of her second night of working for them for “being unprofessional and irresponsible.”
Although the book doesn’t detail what happened, the incident unnerved Harry and Meghan to such an extent that they didn’t trust anyone besides themselves to look after their son at night. They ended up hiring a part-time nanny to help them during the day and took on the night shifts themselves.
Harry had a fight with the Queen’s dresser before the royal wedding because he believed she was snubbing Meghan:
Finding Freedom claims that the tabloid stories about Meghan throwing a fit about not being able to wear a specific tiara for her wedding are false, but writes that there was some tiara drama during the wedding preparations…featuring Harry.
According to the book, Meghan was reportedly unable to set up a time to visit Buckingham Palace with her NYC-based hairstylist so they could do a trial of her wedding day hair with the tiara she’d be wearing. Finding Freedom states that after weeks of no response from the palace, Harry had a heated confrontation with Angela Kelly, the Queen’s personal assistant and wardrobe/jewelry curator, and accused her of “purposefully ignoring Meghan.” He reportedly had to speak to his grandmother in order to set up a time for Meghan to try out the tiara.
The royal family gives each other really great Christmas gifts:
It’s been widely reported for years that the royal family exchanges Christmas gifts on Dec. 24, a mark of the House of Windsor’s German roots. While it’s also been reported that the adult members of the royal family don’t exchange expensive gifts, Finding Freedom provides some more detail as to the sorts of presents that have been gifted between the royals.
In Christmases past, Harry has reportedly gifted the Queen “a shower cap emblazoned with the phrase ‘Ain’t Life a Bitch,’ which she loved” and a “Big Mouth Billy Bass singing toy that was said to sit proudly in Balmoral, her Scottish retreat, and provide the Queen with great laughs.”
According to the book, on an earlier Christmas, Kate gifted the then-single Harry a “Grow Your Own Girlfriend” kit on one occasion.