Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were frustrated that William and Kate got all the best official roles and felt ‘cut adrift’ from the Royal Family and ‘viper’ courtiers’, the sensational new Finding Freedom biography has claimed.
Extracts of the hotly anticipated book are being serialised this weekend in The Times and Sunday Times, and will lift the lid on the Sussexes exit from The Firm – but palace sources fear its account of Harry and Meghan’s grievances will make their rift with the Royals worse.
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.
A source said: ‘It wasn’t a rivalry between the brothers but more a sense that they would be competing over who would lead on their various issues,’ said one source.
‘Harry felt awkward as a plus one. They’d turn up at premieres and there was this sense that he felt a bit like a spare part.
‘Long before Meghan he wanted to change things. He wanted to control his own narrative. He would say, ‘Why can’t we use social media or record videos and cut out the press?’
The tensions were exacerbated after William is claimed to have taken his younger brother to one said and asked him: ‘Are you sure about this?’ after the Harry asked Meghan to marry him.
The Mail understands that Buckingham Palace fear the book will destroy any hope of Harry and Meghan repairing their relationships with the rest of the Royal Family.
Mr Scobie, the royal editor of Harper’s Bazaar, and Ms Durand, a US journalist, claim they have not spoken with Harry and Meghan for the book but boasted of sources from within the couple’s inner circle.
It comes as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have filed a lawsuit in California accusing unnamed paparazzi photographers of taking ‘illegal’ drone pictures of their son Archie.
The lawsuit filed on Thursday alleges ‘serial intrusions’ into 14-month old Archie’s privacy at the LA home where Harry and Meghan have been living since March.
The couple say they are taking legal action to protect Archie from a ‘manufactured feeding frenzy’ after claiming that the paparazzi had flown helicopters over their home and cut holes in a fence to take pictures.
They also accuse photographers of putting misleading captions on pictures of Archie in the back garden in order to suggest they were taken in a public place.
‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are filing this lawsuit to protect their young son’s right to privacy in their home without intrusion by photographers, and to uncover and stop those who seek to profit from these illegal actions,’ their attorney said.
Meghan, Harry and one-year-old Archie have been staying at Hollywood producer Tyler Perry’s $18 million mega-mansion in the exclusive neighborhood of Beverly Ridge since moving to LA in March.
In their lawsuit, they say they took considerable privacy measures at Tyler’s mansion, including the erection of a large mesh fence around the property to guard against telephoto lenses.
But they can’t protect against drones which are being flown ‘a mere 20 feet above the house as often as three times a day’.
Helicopters have also flown over the residence as early as 5.30am and as late as 7pm, the legal papers allege, which had the effect of ‘waking neighbours and their son, day after day’.
‘Every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home. No drones, helicopters or telephoto lenses can take away that right,’ said the couple’s lawyer Michael Kump.
The duke and duchess say they expect to be followed when they go out in public but state that ‘certain paparazzi and enablers have crossed a red line.’
Harry and Meghan’s complaint accuses the paparazzi of ‘intimidation, harassment and the addition of a very real security threat on top of what already exists’.
The lawsuit filed by Kump said some some media outlets flew helicopters above the home and photographers had even cut holes in their fence to snap pictures.
They said the behavior ‘crossed a red line for any parent’ by shopping pics of their son.
The couple seeks ‘no special treatment’ and is only seeking the right to be left alone in the privacy of their home as guaranteed under the laws of California, the lawsuit stated.
Harry and Meghan claim they have ‘done everything in their power to stay out of the limelight’ except in relation to their work, which they accept is newsworthy.