There were fears the popularity enjoyed by Harry and Meghan with the public could eclipse that of the Royal Family, the book says.
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Prince Harry and Meghan felt they had been patronised “for too long” by other royals and members of staff, according to a new book which is believed to give an insight into why they left the UK for America.
The couple became disillusioned with the Royal Family and there was a culture of increasing tension between the pair and Buckingham Palace, it is claimed.
The authors say the Duke and Duchess of Sussex felt their complaints were not taken seriously and believed other royal households were leaking stories about them to the press.
The couple, who married in 2018, now live in Los Angeles with their 14-month-old son Archie, after stepping down from royal duties in March.
While the media speculated that Meghan was behind the decision for the couple to step back, the book, Finding Freedom, says she was “willing to do whatever it takes” to make it work.
Meghan is said to have 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 claims the relationship between the Sussexes and Harry’s brother William and sister-in-law Kate became so bitter by March that they barely spoke to each other at a Westminster Abbey service, despite not having seen each other since January.
“While Harry and Meghan both greeted William and Kate with smiles, the Cambridges showed little response,” the book says. “It was the first time the two couples had seen each other since January.”
It says William nodded at Harry to acknowledge him, but ignored Meghan.
“Although Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate, the duchess barely acknowledged her,” the book adds.
Meghan and Harry felt that they had been “patronised by other family and staff members for too long”, the book says.
It adds the “explosive reaction” to their shock announcement was a “direct result of growing impatience”.
“If other members of the family and those working with the households had taken their requests more seriously,” the authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand say, “it wouldn’t have reached that point.”
The authors wrote: “There were just a handful of people working at the palace they could trust… A friend of the couple’s referred to the old guard as ‘the vipers’.”
The book says they had “liked being in control of their narrative” in the early days of their marriage but being told they had to operate under the Buckingham Palace umbrella after splitting their household from the Cambridges was “a big disappointment to them”.
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One frustrated palace staffer described the Sussexes’ team as “the squeaky third wheel” of the palace.
“As their popularity had grown, so did Harry and Meghan’s difficulty in understanding why so few inside the palace were looking out for their interests. They were a major draw for the Royal Family,” the book says.
“The Sussexes had made the monarchy more relatable to those who had never before felt a connection. However, there were concerns that the couple should be brought into the fold; otherwise the establishment feared their popularity might eclipse that of the Royal Family.”
The couple came to believe they were being blocked from seeing the Queen to discuss their unhappiness, according to the book, and had considered breaking with protocol by springing a surprise visit to the monarch.
“As their Air Canada flight made its early morning touchdown at Heathrow, and still with no appointment to see Her Majesty, Harry and Meghan toyed with the idea of driving straight to see the Queen,” the book says.
It describes Harry as “highly emotional and fiercely protective of his wife and son”, adding that he felt “drained” by the unique circumstances of his family.
A source is quoted as saying the family “doesn’t have the opportunity to operate as an actual family… every conversation, every issue, every personal disagreement, whatever it may be, involves staff”.
The source adds: “It creates a really weird environment that actually doesn’t allow people to sort things out themselves.”
The book says Meghan was upset that Harry was stripped of his military appointments when it was announced the couple would cease royal duties. The duke was described as being “emotional” about the news.
The duchess is quoted as telling a friend that it was “so unnecessary”, adding: “And it’s not just taking something away from him; it’s also that entire military veteran community. You can see how much he means to them, too. So why?”
The book also addresses Harry’s struggles with “unpleasant comments” in the media, which were “all getting to be too much” for him.
One newspaper headline, “Doesn’t the Queen deserve better?”, is said to have been read by Harry online.
“These people are just paid trolls,” the book says he later told a friend. “Nothing but trolls… and it’s disgusting.”
“Scrolling on his iPhone, he sometimes couldn’t stop himself from reading the comments on the articles,” the book says.
A spokesperson for Meghan and Harry said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom.”
“This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting,” the statement added.
Finding Freedom is due to be published in August and is being serialised in The Times and The Sunday Times.