Several members of the royal family were “quietly pleased” the Duchess of Sussex missed the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral because they did not want a “circus” or Meghan “creating a spectacle”, an unauthorised biography has claimed.
The paperback edition of Finding Freedom, featuring a new epilogue, told how Harry and Meghan had no regrets over quitting their royal roles and that Meghan had found her Oprah interview “liberating”.
The duchess was absent from Philip’s funeral in April after doctors refused her clearance to fly when she was pregnant with her second child Lili.
Authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote that Meghan had hoped to return with Harry but added: “In truth, several members of the royal family are understood to have been ‘quietly pleased’ that Meghan stayed in California because they ‘didn’t want a circus’ or, commented a senior royal source, ‘the duchess creating a spectacle’.”
The Sussexes plunged the monarchy into crisis when 99-year-old Philip was ill in hospital – just weeks before his death – after telling Oprah Winfrey an unnamed royal made a racist comment about their son Archie’s skin before he was born, and that the institution had failed to support a suicidal Meghan.
Finding Freedom, which is being republished in paperback on August 31, also suggested Harry and Meghan felt courtiers were still trying to undermine them by leaking information.
It said: “What has continued to be troubling for the couple, more than a year after their decision, is knowing that courtiers inside the institution are still appearing to actively undermine Harry and Meghan by deliberately leaking information to discredit them.”
The book pointed to allegations, which appeared in The Times in March ahead of the Oprah interview, from royal aides claiming Meghan had faced a complaint she bullied staff, driving out two personal assistants and undermining the confidence of a third member.
The duchess denies the claims and Scobie and Durand said the “attempt to discredit” Meghan by those who used to be in the couple’s inner circle “served as a reminder” to the Sussexes that they had made the right decision to leave.
The authors also offered a new take on Harry’s financial situation in the run-up to Megxit, saying if the couple had not had Harry’s inheritance from his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, they “wouldn’t have survived”.
Pre-Megxit, the duke and duchess’s joint wealth was estimated to be £18 million.
Harry inherited nearly £7 million from Diana, which would have grown with investment over the decades.
Aside from this, he is also thought to have had an inheritance from the Queen Mother, so his total wealth in 2020 was believed to have been around £10 million to £15 million.
The duchess was then thought to be worth £2 million to £3 million, pocketing a reported £333,000 per season for six runs of the legal drama Suits, as well as earning a past income from feature films and fashion collections.
Harry told Oprah his family “literally cut me off financially” in the first quarter of 2020 and he went for the multi-million pound Netflix and Spotify deals to pay for his security.
He said he had what Diana left him and “without that we would not have been able to do this”.
Scobie and Durand wrote of the Oprah interview that the couple shared they had “struggled financially”, saying if Harry “hadn’t had the money” the princess left him after she died, “they wouldn’t have survived”.
It was later revealed on the publication of the Prince of Wales’s annual accounts that Charles supported the Sussexes with a substantial sum until the summer of 2020.
The book also told how Harry and Meghan were left “furious” in July 2020 after being targeted by a tipped-off photographer outside a medical centre in Beverly Hills.
It was not known at the time, but the duchess was actually being treated at the clinic after suffering her miscarriage – a loss she wrote about later that year, the authors said.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
Lawyers for Harry and Meghan have distanced themselves from Finding Freedom, describing it as unauthorised, and saying the authors “do not speak for our clients and seem to rely on unnamed sources”.