25 Jul Harry and Meghan book claims they nearly broke protocol to spring surprise visit on Queen because he felt ‘blocked’ | UK News
Harry and Meghan considered breaking protocol by springing a surprise visit on the Queen when they believed they were being blocked from seeing the monarch, a new book claims.
Finding Freedom, serialised by The Times and Sunday Times, says the Sussexes were “unable to secure time with the Queen” despite repeated follow-ups with Buckingham Palace.
Harry was told his grandmother would not be available until 29 January.
“He felt like he was being blocked,” a source told the book’s authors.
“As their Air Canada flight made its early morning touchdown at Heathrow, and still with no appointment to see Her Majesty, Harry and Meghan toyed with the idea of driving straight to see the Queen.”
Released extracts of the book, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, shed fresh light on allegations of a downturn in relations between members of the Royal Family.
Rift between the Sussexes and Cambridges
The book claims that the relationship between the Sussexes and the Cambridges grew so bitter that by March the couples were barely speaking.
The couples hardly acknowledged each other at a service to celebrate the Commonwealth at Westminster Abbey on 9 March despite not having seen each other since January.
“To smooth things over, the Cambridges agreed to take their seats at the same time as the Sussexes and the Earl and Countess of Wessex,” the book says.
“But if looks were anything to go by, the Cambridges were unhappy with the decision. While Harry and Meghan both greeted William and Kate with smiles, the Cambridges showed little response.”
Although Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate, the duchess “barely acknowledged her”, the authors said.
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.”
The book explains that while the couple had been in a “slightly better place” after Archie’s birth, “relations fell apart again in January as the family negotiated Meghan and Harry’s new roles.”
It says: “William, a Kensington Palace source explained, remained upset that private family matters were made public by the couple. ‘It’s not anger’, the source told the authors. ‘It’s hurt’.”
Growing tensions with family members and palace staff
The book describes a culture of increasing tension between the Sussexes and other members of the Royal Family.
“Every conversation, every issue, every personal disagreement, whatever it may be, involves staff,” a source told the authors.
“It creates a really weird environment that actually doesn’t allow people to sort things out themselves.”
The book claims Harry and Meghan felt their complaints were not taken seriously and believed other royal households were leaking stories about them to the press.
“There were just a handful of people working at the palace they could trust,” the book states.
“A friend of the couple’s referred to the old guard as ‘the vipers’.
“Meanwhile, a frustrated palace staffer described the Sussexes’ team as ‘the squeaky third wheel’ of the palace.”
Struggles with negative press
Unpleasant comments in the media were “getting to be too much” for Harry, the authors write.
One newspaper headline, “Doesn’t the Queen deserve better?”, was read by the prince online.
He later told a friend: “These people are just paid trolls,” the book says. “Nothing but trolls… and it’s disgusting.”
“Scrolling on his iPhone, he sometimes couldn’t stop himself from reading the comments on the articles.”
Meghan ‘willing to do whatever it takes’
Harry and Meghan felt they had been “patronised” by other family and staff members for too long before they made the decision to step down, the book says.
“People had humoured them when they brought up grievances, never thinking the couple would actually do anything drastic.
“The explosive reaction was a direct result of their growing impatience. If other members of the family and those working with the households had taken their requests more seriously, it wouldn’t have reached that point.”
Either way, a source told the authors: “The courtiers blame Meghan, and some family do.”
While the media speculated that Meghan was behind the couple’s move to LA, the book claims she was “willing to do whatever it takes” to remain in the Royal Family.
She is said to have told a friend in March: “I gave up my entire life for this family. I was willing to do whatever it takes. But here we are. It’s very sad.”
Harry stripped of honorary military appointments
The authors write that the “most demoralising aspect” of the deal was Harry being stripped of his honorary military appointments.
“That’s been a tough pill to swallow, and one that has been most painful to Meghan witness him go through,” a source close to the couple told the authors. “It’s the one that made Harry emotional.”
Meghan apparently later told a friend the move was “so unnecessary”.
The book says she told a friend: “And it’s not just taking something away from him; it’s also that entire military veteran community. You can see how much he means to them, too. So why? The powers [of the institution] are unfortunately greater than me.”
The latest revelations come after Harry and Meghan launched legal action in Los Angeles after drones were allegedly used to take pictures of their 14-month-old son Archie.
A spokesman for the Sussexes 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.”