The Prince of Wales’ official 70th birthday photograph with his family was an ‘absolute nightmare’ to plan because his sons blew ‘hot and cold’ with their father, a controversial book released today claimed.
A source said it was difficult to arrange as ‘neither William nor Harry made much of an effort to make themselves available’, with the authors of the book describing Charles and Harry’s relationship as ‘complicated’.
It is among a litany of bombshell claims made in the new Harry and Meghan biography, Finding Freedom, which tells of the Sussexes’ strained relationship with the Royal family over Megxit.
But eyebrows have been raised by the fulsome praise heaped on the couple in the book by both the authors and an army of unnamed friends and sources.
Authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand provide very detailed accounts of the couple’s intimate moments and inner thoughts – but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex claim they were not interviewed and did not contribute to the book.
Among the fresh revelations in the book are:
- Meghan Markle formed such a close bond with Prince Charles that she considers him her ‘second father’;
- Meghan was often ‘seen carrying binders full of research on Royal protocol’ so she didn’t put a foot wrong;
- The Queen gave Meghan a royal masterclass in protocol and described Meghan as ‘very clever and good’;
- Harry felt he was ‘thrown under the bus’ by aides working for his brother Prince William;
- Royal courtiers feared the brother’s falling out ‘could spell the end of the monarchy’;
- Meghan left the UK ’emotionally bruised and exhausted’ after her last frosty event with William and Kate;
- Russian hackers stole hundreds of their personal photos in 2018 after gaining access to an online account.
The photo released in 2018 (pictured) featured the heir to the throne sitting on a bench with Prince George on his knee, and the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Charlotte next to him.
Scobie said today that while they did not interview the couple, ‘many’ friends gave them insights – providing ‘a lens to the couple through their friends and their circle of aides’.
Palace insiders have described the book as ‘score settling’ after Harry and Meghan left the Royal Family for a life in Los Angeles – after suddenly announcing their intentions in January in a move that left The Queen ‘hurt’.
Royal expert Penny Junor, author of Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son, Husband, told MailOnline: ‘The authors certainly have some extraordinarily personal and private details about Harry and Meghan, but the couple have said they didn’t speak to them directly and we have to take their word for it.
‘What seems absolutely clear, however, is that they colluded.
If not, they would have kicked up a huge fuss about this book. I suspect they wanted to get their story and their feelings about how they were treated out into the public arena and have done so via friends who sound as though they were very well and carefully briefed.’
One such intimate episode the book describes is how Harry immediately telephoned his father after finding out he had contracted coronavirus.
‘The doctors described the Prince of Wales as in ‘good spirits’ and his symptoms as mild, it was still enough to fill Harry with worry,’ the authors wrote.
‘He immediately called Charles at Birkhall, his Scottish home where he was now quarantined.
Harry regularly checked in on his father until he was out of quarantine and recovered – as well as Camilla, who isolated herself as a precaution.’
Meanwhile, Meghan saw Prince Charles as a father figure – and he was equally fond of her, the book claims.
She is said to have formed such a close bond with Charles that she considers him her ‘second father’.
He is said to have taken a ‘real shine’ to her, describing her as a ‘sassy, confident beautiful American’. A friend said: ‘He likes very strong, confident women. She’s bright, and she’s self-aware, and I can see why they’ve struck up a very quick friendship.’
Meghan’s first cup of tea with the Queen is also described in great detail in Finding Freedom – in a clear breach of royal protocol.
Dismissing the notion that such occasions are meant to remain private, the book describes Meghan’s first visit to ‘the inner sanctum of the Queen’s private apartment’.
Meghan Markle sees Prince Charles, who walked her down the aisle at her wedding at Windsor Castle in 2018, as a ‘second father,’ the book claims.
She is said to have found him ‘supportive and loving’ from the moment she was introduced to him
The Duchess of Sussex received a ‘master class,’ on royal protocol from The Queen during a trip to Chester in 2018 (pictured), during which Her Majesty gave Meghan a pair of pearl-and-diamond earrings, the new book Finding Freedom claims
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‘Harry kissed his grandmother on both cheeks as they walked into her sitting room,’ the authors wrote. ‘Was she really meeting with the head of the Commonwealth? Today, however, it was just ‘Granny’ as Harry called the Queen, who sat down on the silk, upholstered straight-back chair.’