Prince Harry and Meghan have been accused of “burning their bridges” with the Royal Family following the publication of extracts from an explosive new book about the couple.
Believed to have been tacitly approved by the couple, it includes revelations about the breakdown of Harry’s relationship with brother William and fallouts between Meghan and Kate.
And it claims the pair felt “used for their popularity” by courtiers and “sidelined” by senior royals.
The bombshell biography also suggests Harry felt as though he Meghan, 38, were left “unprotected, alone and disparaged” back within the institution’s walls for being too sensitive and outspoken.
It even claims the 35-year-old Prince “had lost respect for certain family members at points” and that he likened a week of January meetings with senior royals and palace aides “to standing in front of a firing squad” as he tried to negotiate a step-down deal.
The US authors of Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family say the book was written with the “participation of those closest to Meghan and Harry”, including “inner circle” members
Harry and Meghan yesterday claimed they did not contribute to the biography.
Their spokesperson said the book was based on “independent reporting” by writers Omid Scobie, royal editor at society magazine Harper’s Bazaar US and journalist Carolyn Durand who spent two decades covering the Royal Family in London.
A palace source told us: “The book will probably be a bestseller and make a load of money for the authors – but then what? Harry and Meghan’s reputation will be completely scarred.
“It’s hard to be a trailblazer if you’re setting fire to everything around you. It’s as if they are burning bridges with the family.”
The biography claims Meghan, 38, tearfully told a pal earlier this year: “I gave up my entire life for this family, willing to do whatever it takes. But here we are.”
Scobie and Durand also describe Harry as “emotional” after being stripped of honorary military appointments.
The Prince is also is said to have had “grown frustrated” with some of the “old guard” of Palace staff and the “back seat” they had to take to other family members.
The authors wrote: “There were just a handful at the palace they could trust. A friend of the couple referred to the old guard as ‘vipers’.
The couple are said to have been left “disappointed” at not being allowed to form their own household team at Frogmore after their 2018 marriage.
And the book adds Harry was angered by suggestions Meghan was solely responsible for their decision to quit. An insider told the authors: “The courtiers blame Meghan, and some family do”.
But a source close to the couple claimed Harry had always wished to embark on his own path, saying : “Fundamentally, Harry wanted out. Deep down, he was always struggling within that world. She’s opened the door for him.”
The authors also claim Harry believed he had been “blocked” from seeing the Queen after the couple’s decision to step down from royal life.
Yet as “devastated” as she was at her grandson leaving formal royal life, Her Majesty is said to have “made it very clear they can come back whenever they want”.
The book claims Harry even considered breaking protocol by making an unannounced visit to Sandringham to “plead their case”.
He is said to have felt courtiers – described by his late mother as the “men in grey suits” – were intent on “reining in” the couple’s popularity amid fears the public’s affection for them “might eclipse that of the Royal Family itself”.
Our Palace source said: “Many feel the accusations unjust.
“Everyone bent over backwards to make sure Harry and Meghan had everything they ever wanted. Time and time again they were offered advice and didn’t take a blind bit of notice.” The source also admitted courtiers are anxious about more revelations ahead of the book’s worldwide publication on August 11.
They have compared it to Andrew Morton’s book about Princess Diana, which he wrote with her help. Extracts in today’s Times also tell how Harry emailed the Queen and Prince Charles to say he and Meghan “had come to the decision to change the way they worked — to step back and spend more time abroad”.
The authors claim Harry made repeated requests to his father’s private office to nail down a time in January for the two to meet the Queen then at Sandringham for the Christmas holiday. But the astonished Prince was allegedly told she would not be available until January 29, leaving him feeling “he was being blocked”.
A source in the book adds: “At this point they felt like they had brought up the subject enough times with family members over the past year and they were fed up of not being taken seriously.”
Hitting back at the claims, a separate Palace source told us: “One thing which won’t be made clear is how Harry and Meghan were happy to use all the power and privilege at their disposal while secretly planning to leave.
“It’s now clear they were using Meghan’s connections in America to set up their new life way beforehand.” Meghan and Harry, who had son Archie in May last year, broke with royal tradition to spend last Christmas in Canada instead of Sandringham.
They eventually moved to Beverly Hills on March 27 to an $18million mansion owned by an actor and producer friend.
A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan last night said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. It is based on the authors’ own experiences as royal press corps members and their own independent reporting.”
A royal source told us: “I don’t think there would be a person working here now who believed Meghan was happy to do whatever it takes to make royal life work.
“I can assure you hand on heart everyone bent over backwards to help them. But the couple didn’t want to know. It was clear they wouldn’t be happy to stick with the way it works around here.”