Meghan Markle thought that she would be the Beyoncé of the UK when she married Prince Harry, a bombshell new book has claimed, suggesting that the Sussexes felt ‘cornered and misunderstood’ by the Palace.
The explosive extracts of the forthcoming book, Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown by Valentine Low, were published by The Times today.
The new book claims the Duchess of Sussex struggled with the rules of being a working royal, and had hoped to be the ‘Beyoncé of the UK’ – mixing celebrity with royalty.
It also reported that the Queen put her foot down and told Prince Harry and Meghan that they were either in or out, following their bombshell announcement that they were stepping down from their working royal positions.
Mr Low said that the royals met at a so-called ‘Sandringham summit’ five days after the Duke and Duchess announced their Megxit plans on January 8, 2020.
During initial deliberations, the Queen wanted all four royal households to work together quickly in order to find a solution.
Meghan Markle thought that she would be the Beyoncé of the UK when she married Prince Harry, a bombshell new book has claimed
In the days that followed, meetings were held at Clarence House, then Prince Charles’ home, including secretaries from the four households, before discussions moved to Buckingham Palace.
Simon Case, Prince William’s private secretary, was also involved, ‘talking to both sides’, the newspaper reported.
These included five possible scenarios including giving the Duke and Duchess a month each year for their own activities, or taking on only a small number of engagements and spending most of their time doing other things.
As part of these options, blanket rules on not making decisions for financial or material gain – either for themselves or friends – would apply.
A former former palace insider said: ‘I think Meghan thought she was going to be the Beyoncé of the UK. Being part of the royal family would give her that kudos. Whereas what she discovered was that there were so many rules that were so ridiculous that she couldn’t even do the things that she could do as a private individual, which is tough.’
But another called it an impossible task, with the two worlds of royalty and celebrity unable to comprehend each other.
They said that the Duchess would be unable to fit the model of a working royal, with the palace unable to accept ‘who she wanted to be’.
Prince Harry organised a private meeting with the Queen, but this was cancelled, with Harry being told that she was no longer available
Mr Low writes that it was the monarch herself who felt that unless the couple were willing to follow the rules which apply to all working royals, they would ‘not be allowed to carry out official duties’.
‘There was a very clear view: you can’t be in and out,’ a source told Mr Low. ‘And if you’ve got such clarity of view, it’s very difficult to say, “Why don’t we go 10 per cent this way instead of 20 per cent?”‘
This meant that compromise was taken off the table by the Queen, the author said.
He also claimed that the couple felt ‘cornered and misunderstood’ by the Palace due to ‘initial inflexibility’ surrounding their request.
Prince Harry initially sent an email to his father, then Prince Charles, regarding their concerns and desire to move to the US, but was told that it required a ‘proper family conversation’ that could not be held until at least January 29, 2020.
This, Mr Low wrote, was received badly by the couple, who had hoped to quickly resolve the matter following their request.
The response prompted the prince to organise a private meeting with the Queen, but this was cancelled, with Harry being told that she was no longer available and had been confused about her diary arrangements.
Courtiers saw the meeting as a chance for the Duke to win the Queen’s support first, before beginning wider talks with the royal family.
‘There was a danger that a private conversation could be interpreted very differently by two people,’ a source told Mr Low.
The author added that Harry considered driving unannounced to Sandringham to speak to the Queen, but decided against the move.
Many insiders have alleged they were bullied while working for the Sussexes. One said: ‘There were a lot of broken people. Young women were broken by their behaviour’
It comes as palace aides claimed Meghan moaned she wasn’t getting paid for royal tours, agreed to the Oprah interview six months before Megxit and reduced staff to tears with bullying and tantrums in Mr Low’s book.
The new book claims that during the royal tour of Australia in October 2018, Meghan did not understand why she had to shake people’s hands or do walkabouts.
Staff reportedly heard her say: ‘I can’t believe I’m not getting paid for this.’
In The Times, Mr Low also describes the Duchess of Sussex’s attitude towards her staff, describing a meeting where Meghan allegedly lambasted a young female member in front of colleagues over a plan she had presented.
After the woman told her that it would be difficult to execute a new plan, Meghan said: ‘Don’t worry. If there was literally anyone else I could ask to do this, I would be asking them instead of you.’
Meghan is said to have berated staff repeatedly, including one occasion when an employee fell foul of the duchess over a mixup involving press at an engagement.
The Duchess’s lawyers denied last year that any of the staff were bullied and added that they were grateful for Miss Cohen’s support and dedication.
Palace staff have claimed Meghan agreed to the couple’s bombshell Oprah interview months before they left royal duties and moved to the US
Elsewhere, it claimed that in August 2019, before their Africa tour, the couple’s US team were working on several deals including with Netflix, Harry’s mental heath series for Apple+, Meghan’s Disney voiceover and an interview with Oprah Winfrey slated for the autumn.
Samantha Cohen, the Queen’s former assistant private secretary, advised them to also do an interview with the British media, suggesting Tom Bradby of ITV.
Meghan was reportedly reluctant, however the Duke of Sussex agreed on the condition that they did not do the interview together or appear in the same shot as this would be contrary to their Oprah deal.
Palace sources also claimed the couple were constantly being sent gifts from fashion, perfume and jewellery companies when they lived at Kensington Palace.
Their PA refused the luxury items, sticking to the protocol that members of the royal family do not accept commercial gifts, which is claimed led to clashes with Meghan.
Harry’s memoir U-TURN: Duke ‘requests 11th-hour rewrite to soften his bombshell £40m autobiography after nation’s outpouring of grief for the Queen’ amid fears the final draft ‘might not go down too well’ in the wake of her death
ByKate Mansey And Caroline Graham For Mail On Sunday
Prince Harry has launched a last-minute bid to tone down his bombshell autobiography amid fears his final draft ‘might not go down too well’ in the wake of the Queen’s death, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The memoirs had been signed off ready for an expected autumn release, but the Duke – who is writing the book as part of a near £40 million three-title deal – has asked to make some significant alterations.
His request may be seen as a sign that he is ready to take a more conciliatory approach to the rest of the Royal Family, but could cause problems for his publishers.
‘Harry has thrown a spanner in the works,’ a source said. ‘He is keen for refinements in the light of the Queen’s death, her funeral and his father Charles taking the throne.
‘There may be things in the book which might not look so good if they come out so soon after these events. He wants sections changed now. It’s not a total rewrite by any means. He desperately wants to make changes. But it might be too late.’
Prince Harry has launched a last-minute bid to tone down his bombshell autobiography amid fears his final draft ‘might not go down too well’ in the wake of the Queen’s death
The memoirs had been signed off ready for an expected autumn release, but the Duke – who is writing the book as part of a near £40million three-title deal – has asked to make some significant alterations
Publishing sources suggested that the Duke might have limited ‘wriggle room’ given he was handed a seven-figure advance
Publishing sources suggested that the Duke might have limited ‘wriggle room’ given he was handed a seven-figure advance.
Publishers Penguin Random House had already demanded a rewrite after the first draft was deemed ‘too touchy-feely’ and placed too much focus on mental health issues, The Mail on Sunday understands.
The development comes as another new book makes a series of explosive claims about Harry and his wife Meghan – although it is not clear whether the Duke now plans to address any of these fresh allegations in his memoirs, which he has billed as an ‘accurate and wholly truthful’ account of his life.
Among the damaging claims in the new book, Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown, Royal author Valentine Low alleges that:
l Meghan moaned about public engagements and walkabouts, saying: ‘I can’t believe I’m not getting paid for this’;
l The Duchess bullied staff, reducing some to tears, and commented that ‘it’s not my job to coddle people’;
l Harry and Meghan’s team went on to call themselves the ‘Sussex Survivors’ Club’ and described Meghan as a ‘narcissistic sociopath’, according to sources;
l One former staff member said they believed Meghan wanted to be ‘rejected’ by the Royal Family ‘because she was obsessed with that narrative from day one’;
l Harry sent ‘horrible emails’ to Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary, and Clive Alderton, Charles’s private secretary;
l When Harry and Meghan went to Canada in November 2019, their plans were so secret even their nanny didn’t know where they were going until the plane was in the air;
The memoirs had been signed off ready for an expected autumn release, but the Duke – who is writing the book as part of a near £40million three-title deal – has asked to make some significant alterations.
A truce appeared to be in place when William invited his brother and sister-in-law to join him and wife Kate on the walkabout in Windsor as an expression of ‘unity for the Queen’, but, the body language suggested the rift was far from heal
The King, then Prince of Wales, was only told of the memoir minutes before the press release announcing it went out
l Harry feared he would ‘become irrelevant’ when his nephew Prince George – second in line to the throne – turned 18;
l Meghan rang one aide every ten minutes on a Friday night while they were out at dinner, then continued calling the following day;
l The Duchess clashed with courtiers over not being allowed to keep clothes and jewellery given to her for free;
l Six months before her engagement to Harry was announced, Meghan told a palace aide: ‘We both know I’m going to be one of your bosses soon.’
Another new book, The New Royals by Katie Nicholl, serialised today in The Mail on Sunday, reveals that the Queen was surprised divorcee Meghan wore pure white for her wedding.
Publishers Penguin Random House had already demanded a rewrite after the first draft was deemed ‘too touchy-feely’ and placed too much focus on mental health issues, The Mail on Sunday understands
Harry and Meghan have also spent more time with the Royal Family since the Queen’s death than at any time since Megxit more than two and half years ago
The Duke revealed last year that he was working on a book of his own, saying he would be writing ‘not as the Prince I was born, but as the man I have become’.
No date has officially been announced for its release but American sources have suggested that publishers will want it in shops in time for Thanksgiving on November 24, ready for the lucrative Christmas market.
In a statement announcing the global publishing deal, Penguin Random House described it as ‘an intimate and heartfelt memoir’, promising that ‘Prince Harry will offer an honest and captivating personal portrait’.
The publishers added that the book would cover Harry’s ‘lifetime in the public eye from childhood to the present day, including his dedication to service, the military duty that twice took him to the front lines of Afghanistan, and the joy he has found in being a husband and father’.
The New Royals by Katie Nicholl, serialised today in The Mail on Sunday, reveals that the Queen was surprised divorcee Meghan wore pure white for her wedding
The Mail on Sunday has established that the publishers paid an advance of $20 million (£18.4 million) for the book as part of a three-title deal worth £36.8 million
A source said: ‘The publishers paid $20 million up front because they knew whatever was written would be huge for sales and exposure all around the world. But the first draft they received was apparently viewed as a bit too touchy-feely and focused far more on mental health issues than they wanted. Eventually, the final draft has been finished and signed off and a lot of money and energy has been spent to make sure it comes out this year.’
However, Harry’s requests for late changes might have an impact on the timetable.
It is unclear what edits he wants to make, but it is thought his decision has been influenced by the events of the past weeks, as he witnessed first-hand the public’s huge outpouring of support for the monarchy.
Harry and Meghan have also spent more time with the Royal Family since the Queen’s death than at any time since Megxit more than two and half years ago. They were in the UK for non-Royal charity events when Her Majesty died on the day before they were due to fly back home to Montecito, California. And in the aftermath of his grandmother’s death, Harry struck a fragile truce with his brother William – appearing together for a walkabout among well-wishers in Windsor following the funeral.
During the Sussexes’ notorious interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, they accused the Royal Family of racism and Harry claimed Charles had ‘literally cut me off financially’
It has been ghost-written by Pulitzer Prize-winning American author JR Moehringer, who previously worked on the memoirs of retired tennis star Andre Agassi
The contents of Harry’s book are likely to be kept top secret and palace aides have revealed that no members of the Royal Family have been offered the chance to see any of it before it becomes public. When the publishing deal was announced in July 2021, only the Queen was given advance warning.
The King, then Prince of Wales, was only told of the memoir minutes before the press release announcing it went out. In that statement, the Duke said: ‘I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think.
‘I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a first-hand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.’
One palace insider said: ‘The first announcement was something of a shock. We have now spent a long time waiting to see what is in it and, frankly, we just want to get it out of the way so everyone can move on.’
However aides are braced for the worst, particularly after Harry’s outspoken criticisms of his family and the monarchy. During the Sussexes’ notorious interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, they accused the Royal Family of racism and Harry claimed Charles had ‘literally cut me off financially’.
Harry, 38, was said to have been further upset at some of the events surrounding the Queen’s death.
He was dismayed after being told that Meghan, 41, was not invited to join him in flying up to Balmoral to be by his dying grandmother’s bedside. Later, he reportedly failed to accept an invitation to join his father for supper at Birkhall, his private home nearby.
A truce appeared to be in place when William invited his brother and sister-in-law to join him and wife Kate on the walkabout in Windsor as an expression of ‘unity for the Queen’, but, the body language suggested the rift was far from healed.
Penguin Random House – which also released Meghan’s children’s book The Bench – initially said that Harry’s memoirs were due out in ‘late 2022’. But the book was not included in a recent list of titles set to be released in the coming months, sparking speculation that it may be delayed until next year.
It has been ghost-written by Pulitzer Prize-winning American author JR Moehringer, who previously worked on the memoirs of retired tennis star Andre Agassi.
Neither Penguin Random House nor the Duke’s representatives responded to a request for comment.