William’s two words about Meghan Markle left Harry furious, the duchess and Kate were “not at war”, and the ex-Suits actress sent her dad one final text before her wedding.
These are among the explosive allegations that emerged as new excerpts from the upcoming book Finding Freedom were released on Sunday, shedding new light on how relations between the Cambridges and Sussexes deteriorated.
The latest excerpts, published in the Sunday Times, tell how brothers William and Harry allegedly clashed over Meghan, how the Duchess of Sussex and Kate had an “awkward” relationship and how Meghan felt betrayed by her father Thomas Markle Snr.
A spokesman for Harry and Meghan claims the couple, now living in her home town of Los Angeles with one-year-old son Archie, did not contribute to the biography.
At the very least, the co-authors, Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, who has been accused of being Meghan’s “mouthpiece”, had access to close friends of the Sussexes.
The book defends Meghan and Harry and reveals what was behind their decision to quit their roles as senior royals and pursue their own projects in private life.
It describes a culture of increasing tension between the couple and other senior royals.
Meghan, Harry and one-year-old son Archie are now living in pal Tyler Perry’s £14 million Tuscan-style mansion in Los Angeles after breaking out on their own.
Here are some of the bombshell claims revealed in the second extracts of the book.
William feared his brother had been “blindsided by lust” in his haste to wed Meghan – and used two words in particular that angered Harry, the book claims.
The co-authors claim the Duke of Sussex was angered by what he perceived as his brother’s “snobbish” attitude to his bride.
Harry was offended by William’s unwanted advice to “take as much time as you need to get to know this girl”, it is alleged.
According to the book, William was happy for his brother, but “just wanted to make sure that Harry wasn’t blindsided by lust”.
But his younger brother allegedly took offence to the phrase “this girl”, and interpreted it as “snobbish and condescending”.
According to the co-authors, the alleged rift between the two couples stemmed from a growing coolness between Harry and William – and not Meghan and Kate.
The press were apparently too quick to blame the Sussexes’ decision to move to Windsor on the “duelling duchesses”, the authors say, when it was Harry who felt suffocated by his brother.
As it became clear there were problems between the Cambridges and Sussexes, some press reports claimed Meghan and Kate were at odds or even disliked each other.
But the biography claims the pair were “not at war”, but did have their “awkward moments” and never became close because they had nothing in common.
It alleges the Duchess of Cambridge apparently did little to bridge the divide between William and Harry, and never really got to know Meghan.
The authors claim Meghan and Kate didn’t spend much time together before the Sussexes got married in May 2018 and they didn’t get any closer afterwards.
There were some “awkward moments” between the royal wives, but the duo never had a falling out.
It is claimed Meghan had hoped Kate would reach out to her, but “didn’t lose sleep” over it when she did not.
The book says: “Meghan would agree with the assessment that the duchesses were not the best of friends. Their relationship hadn’t progressed much since she was Harry’s girlfriend.
“But they were not at war with each other, either. There were awkward moments, such as the day the women happened to cross paths at Kensington Palace (in early 2017, when Harry and Meghan were still only dating), and although both were heading out to go shopping – in the same street – Kate went in her own Range Rover.”
Rumours that Meghan made Kate cry during a bridesmaid’s dress fitting for Princess Charlotte are false, the book insists.
Reports that Meghan’s “strict demands” had left Kate in tears “puzzled” those who were present.
A source who was there claimed: “Some of the children weren’t co-operating, and there was a lot going on.
“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.”
Finding Freedom claims some senior royals, courtiers and aides had various names for Meghan behind her back.
One senior royal allegedly referred to the duchess as “Harry’s showgirl” – and another said “she comes with a lot of baggage”.
Another senior courtier is said to have told a colleague: “There’s just something about her I don’t trust.”
Harry and Meghan are said to have felt snubbed when the Queen delivered her Christmas Day speech last year and they didn’t see photos of their family next to her.
The absence of their photo was “yet another sign that they needed to consider their own path”, the book says.
However, the Queen mentioned Archie’s birth in her speech and the broadcast showed footage of her and Prince Philip meeting their eighth great-grandchild for the first time.
The Duchess of Sussex felt sorry for her estranged father Thomas, wanted him at her wedding and blamed the media for “corrupting” him, according to the book.
She felt let down when Mr Markle lied to her by denying he helped the paparazzi stage photos of him going about his life in a Mexican resort town before his daughter’s wedding.
But both Meghan and Harry were also angry at the media for allegedly wearing down Mr Markle for several months until he complied with their requests.
According to an unnamed “trusted confidant” of the duchess, Meghan had said: “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 book says after a newspaper revealed the location of his home in November, 2017, Mr Markle rejected constant media requests with a line prepared for him by royal officials of: “I can’t speak out of respect for my family”.
Meghan and Harry told him to do his best to ignore the press, but ultimately – with encouragement from Meghan’s elder half-sister Samantha – Mr Markle accepted a proposal from photographer Jeff Rayner, the book says.
Mr Markle agreed to participate in several set-up photos, including one of him reading a book on British history while at a cafe.
The photos were published around the world, with Mr Rayner earning £101,000, and Mr Markle and daughter Samantha sharing 30% of the proceeds, according to the book.
A week before the May 2018 royal wedding, Kensington Palace officials heard a Sunday tabloid was planning to expose the photo-shoot as having been staged.
The book says palace communications staff and lawyers were moving to have publication stopped, as Meghan phoned her father.
“Dad, we need to know if this is true or not, because my team is going to try and stop this story from running – if you are telling me it’s fake,” she reportedly told him.
“If they do that, they’re going out of their way to protect you, Dad.
“You’re telling me you’re being victimised, right?”
Mr Markle had replied “Of course”, failing to admit he had participated in the staging of the photos, which were duly exposed as set-ups in the press the next day.
Despite his deception, Meghan had still wanted her father at her wedding. He ultimately did not attend, partly due to suffering a heart attack days before the event, which he blamed on the stresses of pressure from the media.
“As much as she was hurt and humiliated, she wanted him to be there and was willing to move on,” an unidentified friend of Meghan’s is quoted as saying.
“Plus, she was worried about him; she honestly wasn’t sure if he was actually OK. His behaviour was bizarre.”
The book gives further glimpses of Meghan’s troubled relationship with Mr Markle, including a string of unreturned phone messages and texts from the former actress to her father in the days before her wedding.
She allegedly left or sent dozens of messages telling him a car would take him to Los Angeles airport so he could fly to London. He was expected to walk her down the aisle.
After he had told her he wouldn’t be there to watch her get married, the biography claims, a heartbroken Meghan sent her dad one final text message the night before her wedding.
However, he didn’t respond.
The book claims: “If it wasn’t for Harry, Doria and her friends, Meghan herself says that she wouldn’t have mentally got through it [the wedding].
“The night before the wedding, she sent her father one last text. He did not reply,” the book says.
“Sitting in a bath later that night, FaceTiming with a friend, the bride-to-be said she had left her dad a final message, adding: ‘I can’t sit up all night just pressing send’.”
Harry’s belief that the palace was out to sabotage his relationship with Meghan was the beginning of the rift with his brother.
A friend set them up on a blind date in July 2016, and four months later Kensington Palace confirmed reports that the pair were dating.
Harry is said to have felt “unprotected” by the institutions around the monarchy, and derided by the old guard for being “too sensitive and outspoken”.
One source said of Harry: “He’s extremely protective of Meghan.
“He understands that a lot of people are against them, and he will do everything he can to keep her safe and away from getting hurt – even if that means distancing himself from those people.”
Meghan and Harry were living in a cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace as relations with William and Kate soured.
The Sussexes were expected to move into an apartment near to the Cambridges, but that never happened – Meghan and Harry decided to leave west London for the Queen’s private Frogmore estate in Windsor.
A source told the book the coolness between the princes was the reason for the move to Berkshire.
“He wanted to get away from the goldfish bowl that was Kensington Palace,” the source said.
“Everywhere you turn, you’re surrounded by staff and family. He was at a point in his life where he was working with his brother, doing the foundation with his brother and living by his brother.
“It was too much.”
Allegations that Meghan angered Kate when she supposedly shouted at a member of her team are also untrue, the authors state.
The story allegedly related to Kensington Palace deputy communications secretary Katrina McKeever, who left her post with the royals in September 2018.
The authors wrote: “Even Kensington Palace didn’t understand the bizarre story.
“McKeever left on a good note with the Sussexes, who sent her a handwritten letter and huge floral arrangement when she left.”