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A secret engagement and 'snobbishness': What we learnt from Harry and Meghan's new biography.

If there's one thing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's journey from dating to marriage, to stepping down from royal duties, has not lacked, it's commentary from 'insiders' and 'experts'.

But new book Finding Freedom, written by royal reporters Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, has described the journey - full of controversy and resentment - from beginning to end, based on the authors' own experiences as members of the royal press and quotes from sources 'close to the couple'.

Harry and Meghan have not contributed to the book, but in terms of royal exposés, this is as 'official' as it gets.

Harry and Meghan, from birth to now. Post continues below video.


Video via Mamamia.

Extracts from the book have been serialised in The Times and The Sunday Times ahead of its publication in August, giving readers an insight into the lives of the couple, and their relationships with the royal family, before, during and after their decision to leave England behind.

This is what we've learned from Finding Freedom.

The first time Harry and Meghan said 'I love you'.

Harry and Meghan met on a blind date in the summer of 2016, in a discreet Soho, London club. For three hours they spoke, huddled "in their own little world".

"Almost immediately they were almost obsessed with each other," a friend told the authors.

"It was as if Harry was in a trance."

Shortly after the date, Meghan began following a mystery Instagram account - @SpkieyMau5, belonging to the undercover prince. After three months, Prince Harry said he loved her.

"It was Harry who said it first, but Meghan immediately replied, 'I love you, too'," the book says.

Almost immediately, Harry became protective of his connection with Meghan.

According to the book, word got back to him that an old friend of his had been gossiping about Meghan's Hollywood background. The prince immediately cut him off.

There was a secret engagement months before an official announcement.

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Harry and Meghan took a trip to Botswana in August 2017, where they celebrated their first anniversary as a couple and Meghan's 36th birthday, and the trip may have also seen the prince get down on one knee.

During their official engagement interview in November of that year, Harry said he proposed earlier that month during a cosy night at home.

But the biography says their wedding plans had already been a done deal for at least three months.

Prince William was wary of Meghan's intentions.

Prince William angered Harry with a perceived 'snobbish' tone when warning his younger brother about his relationship with an American actress, Finding Freedom claims.

William told Harry to "take as much time as you need to get to know this girl", with a source close to William claiming he didn't want his brother to be "blindsided by lust".

"In those last two words, 'this girl', Harry heard the tone of snobbishness that was anathema to his approach to the world," the Sunday Times excerpt says.

"Also, to remove Meghan from the equation, Harry was tired of the dynamic that had become established between him and his older brother," the authors add.

The riff between William and Harry had been brewing for a while, with Harry reportedly disillusioned by his place in the royal pecking order and feeling like a 'third wheel' with William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

William wasn't the only one who questioned Harry's relationship: palace insiders also referred to Meghan as "Harry's showgirl" and said she came with a lot of baggage, the authors claim.

There was no feud between Meghan and Kate.

Image: Getty.

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The book claims rumours of an ongoing feud between the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex were false - they just had nothing in common.

The widely reported rumours that Meghan made Kate cry during a bridesmaid fitting for Princess Charlotte before her royal wedding were also untrue.

"Some of the children weren’t cooperating, and there was a lot going on," a source who was there says in the book.

"Everyone tried to help where they could, but it's never easy with kids at fittings. There were no tears from anyone.

"And in the end, the fitting was fine. Kate and Meghan were both a little stressed but professional in the room, and there were other people there."

"The truth was that Meghan and Kate just didn't know each other that well," the authors state.

The Sussexes moving to Windsor and removing themselves from Kensington Palace had nothing to do with Kate. In fact, it was mostly Harry who felt suffocated by his brother.

Meghan believes Thomas Markle was "corrupted" by media.

The authors share quotes from a "trusted confidant" of Meghan, who said the Duchess believed her father Thomas Markle was a victim of Britain's ruthless tabloid media.

"My dad never sought this out. I really believe that he's the victim, and now I feel sad because I believe he’s been fully corrupted," the confidant claims Meghan told them.

The Queen was surprised and disappointed by Harry and Meghan's decision to leave.

The Queen had known for a while that all was not well with Harry and Meghan, in regards to 'royal life'. 

In November 2019, she broke tradition to call Harry (family members usually called her) to ask if he and his family would be joining her, as is tradition, for Christmas at Sandringham.

She was surprised when only a few days later, the couple were planning to spend Archie's first Christmas on a six-week sabbatical to Canada.

Image: Getty.

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It was during this time they plotted their decision to leave their royal duties.

Harry, Meghan and Archie returned to their Frogmore Cottage home in early January, and within hours had summonded aides and informed them of their decision.

Harry wanted to speak to his grandmother and father in person, but aides insisted he write it down. Harry was reluctant as he worried about it leaking - proof of his distrust of the various Houses.

On January 8, their plans were front page news on The Sun, forcing them to release their official statement that evening.

According to one insider, "Harry felt very constrained. He wanted to be able to speak to his grandmother and his father but constantly found aides blocking his path. It was so frustrating for him. Some people think the Sussexes leaked the story to The Sun to bounce the Royal Family into something - almost out of desperation - but I’m not sure that’s true."

The book says the Queen was "disappointed and hurt" by the couple's "suboptimal" behaviour.

Meghan felt she gave up her entire life for the royals.

The book states Meghan told a friend in March this year she was hurt to receive most of the blame for leaving the royal family.

According to the book, courtiers and some of the family blame her for the decision, which was equally Harry's choice.

"As Meghan tearfully 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'," the book states.

Harry and Meghan believe other royals were leaking stories about them.

The book describes a growing culture of tension between the Sussexes and other royals.

It says Harry and Meghan did not believe the rest of the family was taking their complaints seriously and suspected other households were leaking stories about them to media.

"There were just a handful of people working at the palace they could trust," the authors write.

"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."

Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Family will be released on August 11.

Feature image: Getty.

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