Next month sees the release of Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family by royal journalists Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand. The book is widely being seen as the Sussexes’ side of the story following their split from the House of Windsor. While the couple has denied direct involvement in the book, the publisher said that the authors had been given ‘unique access’ and the cooperation of those closest to the couple. Omid Scobie, in particular, is viewed as a more sympathetic source to Harry and Meghan than the lion’s share of the royal press so, at the very least, the narrative is clear.
In anticipation of the book’s release, excerpts have been printed in The Sunday Times (via The Hollywood Reporter) that have firmly established the basic tenets of the book. This is an insight into the specific details that led Harry and Meghan to make such a monumental decision, and the blame lies firmly at the feet of his family.
Prince William comes across as a real snob in the excerpts, with Scobie and Durand alleging that he had told Harry he did not want him to be ‘blindsided by lust.’ Look, I know that the royals are Not Like Us but does anyone really say ‘blindsided by lust’ outside of romance novels and Victorian divorce papers?
Unrelated, but here’s a piece I wrote on the oft-repeated gossip about Prince William allegedly sleeping with his wife’s best friend.
Harry allegedly ‘no longer felt as though he needed looking after’ when William told him to ‘take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.’ The authors write, ‘In those last two words, ‘this girl’, Harry heard the tone of snobbishness that was anathema to his approach to the world.’
The notoriously conservative royal courtiers are also described as being elitist in their opinions on Meghan. One senior courtier is said to have told a colleague: ‘There’s just something about her I don’t trust.’ Another called her ‘Harry’s showgirl.’ Oh gee, I wonder what the mystery is behind the royal court not liking a mixed-race divorced American actress. Hmm, tis a puzzlement. Also, once again, who the f**k still says ‘showgirl’? Even Vegas doesn’t have showgirls anymore. So much for a ‘modern monarchy.’ This lot seem stuck in the 1920s. A reminder that old racist creep Prince Phillip also allegedly told Harry that ‘one steps out with actresses, one doesn’t marry them.’ Yeah Harry, keep that stuff for your royal mistress. That’s the true tradition. So classy.
This has really been the narrative from the beginning: The royals did not like or support Meghan, and the obvious misogynoir at the heart of their ‘criticism’ left the Sussexes in the unenviable position of having to deal with ceaseless press attacks and a soap opera-esque villain narrative in their own family.
I’m still really stuck on the ‘blindsided by lust’ part. It’s so hilariously old-fashioned in a way that probably only makes sense if, like William, getting married is a literal duty. He met his wife at university and dated her for a solid decade before proposing (and broke up with her multiple times in that period.) Remember how weird the stories were around that couple for years? Kate was painted as a desperate work-shy wannabe royal who dutifully sat around quietly until William was done partying, to the point where she was nicknamed ‘Waity Katie.’ I’m not sure how that is a preferable love story to the admittedly much shorter courtship of Harry and Meghan. Besides, they were both 30-somethings when they met. Shockingly, I think they were both adult enough to know what they wanted in life.
Also, does anyone else think ‘blindsided by lust’ is super racialized in this context, especially given how many press stories about Meghan kept referring to her as ‘exotic’?
It will be interesting to see what more juicy details, if any, Finding Freedom reveals to us. The Sussexes don’t have to play by royal rules anymore, even if they deny their direct involvement with this book. I imagine that they’ll mostly take the high road and focus on their own projects for now. Don’t expect a tell-all memoir or sit-down interview with Oprah. Frankly, it only benefits them to sit out that side of the debate. Royal courts versus Hollywood? I know where my money is going.
Death to the monarchy.
Header Image Source: Getty Images.