- in In Pictures
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have denied contributing to a new book about their life in the Royal Family.
The book, Finding Freedom – which is being serialised in the Times – has claimed the Sussexes and Cambridges were barely speaking by March.
It also says friends of Prince Harry and Meghan referred to some Palace officials as “vipers”.
A spokesman for the Sussexes, who now live in California, said they had not been interviewed for the book.
A statement 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 book’s authors, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, describe a culture of increasing tension between the Sussexes and other members of the Royal Family.
They say the Sussexes felt their complaints were not taken seriously and believed other royal households were leaking stories about them to the press.
“There were just a handful of people working at the palace they could trust,” the authors write.
“A friend of the couple’s referred to the old guard as ‘the vipers’.
“Meanwhile, a frustrated palace staffer described the Sussexes’ team as ‘the squeaky third wheel’ of the palace.”
The duke and duchess are now based in Los Angeles, California, having stepped back as senior royals earlier this year.
For their last public appearance as working members of the Royal Family, they joined the Queen and other senior royals at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on 9 March.
They have since begun their new life of personal independence in the US, pursuing charity projects.
There are some startling headlines accompanying the serialisation of Finding Freedom but those in search of a smoking gun may be disappointed.
Reliable, quotable sources are the hard currency of books about royalty. And Finding Freedom is quite well sourced. The authors have leant heavily on contacts in the different courts – Buckingham Palace for the Queen, Kensington Palace for William and Kate, ‘the Sussexes’ for Harry and Meghan. And they have spoken to at least one person, maybe more, who feels he or she can speak for, and at times quote, Meghan herself, and at least one friend of Prince Harry who feels he or she can do the same.
So some flesh is put on the bones of a story that we know quite well but despite the headlines there are no new properly sourced revelations in the book as serialised so far. We knew that William and Harry’s relationship was badly damaged; Harry told ITN’s Tom Bradby that in the interview he gave in late 2019. We knew that Meghan felt abandoned by the Palace; she went out of her way to make that point to Bradby in the same programme.
We knew that the Queen was upset by the couple’s declaration of independence in January this year – senior Palace sources told the BBC within hours of the couple’s statement. And we knew that Harry despises the media and some of its coverage of Meghan; he has spoken openly and very clearly about how he feels.
So Finding Freedom may be more rewarding for the rounded portrait it paints of a couple at the centre of a terrible whirlwind than in any particular revelation about who did what to whom, and when.
Earlier this month, Meghan delivered a speech to a gender equality summit, while the duke and duchess also spoke to young people about equal rights during the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust weekly video call.
Meanwhile, the Sussexes have launched legal action in the US after drones were allegedly used to take pictures of their infant son Archie.
The move marked the latest example of the Sussexes actions against what they have previously described as “invasive” tabloid media.
Meghan is also suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online for breach of privacy and copyright infringement. The publisher denies her claims.