Members of the Royal family were “quietly pleased” that the Duchess of Sussex missed Prince Philip’s funeral because they feared she would “create a spectacle” if she attended, a biography claims.
The duchess was heavily pregnant with her daughter Lilibet when the Duke of Edinburgh died in April and was advised not to fly by doctors – to the relief of Prince Harry’s family, according to the authors of Finding Freedom.
An epilogue to a new edition of the book also reveals that Meghan and Harry considered naming the royal family member they allege to have made racist comments before their son Archie was born.
The book reignites the feud between the Sussexes and the royal family over the claim that “concerns” were raised about Archie’s skin colour by quoting “sources close to the Sussexes” effectively demanding an apology.
In what appears to be a direct criticism of the Queen, the sources say the family’s reaction to the allegation “was not positive” and that “there has to be some acknowledgement… about what the Sussexes went through in order for there to be progress”.
The royal Household is also accused of peddling lies to the press about the couple’s desire for Archie to have a royal title, and Prince Harry is said to have been “saddened and disappointed” by the Queen’s decision to stop a wreath from him being laid at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday last year.
Authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand write that the Duchess of Sussex had “hoped” to accompany her husband to Prince Philip’s funeral before being advised not to do so by doctors.
The new chapter, included in a paperback edition to be published on August 31, states: “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 one senior royal source, ‘the Duchess creating a spectacle’.”
The book also attempts to elicit sympathy for Harry for the “surreal” experience of attending the funeral of his grandfather.
It cites a source close to the prince suggesting that “saying goodbye to his beloved grandfather was always going to be difficult, but being alongside family he hadn’t seen in over a year – all while the world watched – was an additional layer of pressure he wasn’t fully prepared for”.
It claims Harry and his brother the Duke of Cambridge had “at least two further conversations” after the funeral beyond the chat they were seen having as they left St George’s Chapel in Windsor, but that Harry and his father, the Prince of Wales, were only on “light speaking terms”.
But while the book claims the funeral allowed for “steps forward” in the “healing process” following the Sussexes’ explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, the new chapter is likely to set that progress back by again ramping up the tension over allegations of racism.
It criticises the fact that the Buckingham Palace response to the claims contained no condemnation of racism, and that the phrase “recollections may vary”, contained in the statement, meant “full ownership was not taken”.
The book says the fact that claims of bullying against the duchess merited a full Palace investigation but the racism claims did not “highlighted the outdated and unfair double standards within the institution”.
It cites a “source close to the Sussexes” as saying: “While emotions are still raw and it is still difficult, it will force people to talk in order for the healing to begin. The immediate reaction was not positive. It will take time to get past the hurt.
“There has to be some acknowledgement of understanding about what the Sussexes went through in order for there to be progress.”
A “pal of Meghan” is also quoted saying: “Months later and little accountability has been taken. How can you move forward without that?”
On the issue of Archie not being made a prince, in line with royal protocol, the book accuses courtiers of lying to the press over Meghan and Harry’s wishes.
It says: “Palace aides were actually instructed to brief the press that the couple did not want a title for Archie. In reality, the couple did want the option, given that it would provide their son with a level of security that only comes with a title.
“The differential treatment the couple felt had been bestowed upon their son was a major sting to Harry and Meghan.”
In fact, the move was entirely in keeping with a rule established by George V that only the grandchildren of the reigning monarch, and those in direct line to the throne, were eligible to be a prince or princess.
The row over the Oprah interview spilled over into last year’s Remembrance Sunday commemorations when Harry commissioned a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph which was vetoed by the Queen.
The wreath was left in its box at a branch of the Royal British Legion in Kent, and a source close to the prince is quoted saying that he “was saddened and disappointed by the decision… 10 years of service and a lifetime of commitment to the military community and this is how it’s been acknowledged by the family”.
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