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Prince Harry ‘vented’ about William and ‘poured out resentments’ about his father Charles to his actress ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas so much that she recommended he see a therapist, leading the duke to seek advice on the best shrinks from MI6, a bombshell new book claims.
Tina Brown, the author of The Palace Papers: Inside The House Of Windsor – The Truth And The Turmoil, says the Duke of Sussex grew ‘angry’ as he felt his brother was ‘hogging the best briefs’ around a decade ago – and when he wasn’t obsessing over William would moan about the Prince of Wales.
She claims ‘friction between the brothers escalated’ so much after William became patron of the rhino and elephant charity the Tusk Trust in 2015 that the pair had ‘Olympic rows’ – and quotes a friend of the siblings as calling Harry a ‘very, very angry man’.
The royal expert also claims Harry’s ex-girlfriend Cressida grew ‘tiresome’ of his complaints about his family while they dated between 2012 and 2014, and was apparently the first person to persuade the Queen‘s grandson to see a therapist – leading him to take advice from MI6 to find the right person.
After their relationship broke down, Harry wrote the old flame ‘a sweet letter saying ‘I admire you, I wish you well and above all thank you for helping me to address my demons and seek help”, Mrs Brown claims, quoting one of her contacts.
Cressie is said to have also found his resentment towards the Press ‘trying’ – and that while reports played-up the romantic love affair, the ‘bizarre reality of date nights was glumly eating takeaway and watching Netflix at Nottingham Cottage, Harry’s none-too-tidy two-bedroom grace-and-favour bachelor pad in the grounds of Kensington Palace’, Mrs Brown writes.
The tension between Harry and William existed years before Meghan Markle burst onto the scene, Mrs Brown claims. However, her arrival changed ‘everything’ in Harry’s life, and she suggests the pair became ‘drunk on a shared fantasy of being the instruments of global transformation who, once married, would operate in the celebrity stratosphere once inhabited by Princess Diana’.
The bombshell allegations come after Harry sparked a fresh row with the Royal Family this week by claiming in an interview with NBC’s Today show that he is ‘protecting’ the elderly monarch and is making sure she has the ‘right people around her’.
Experts branded the comments a ‘gross insult’ to Charles and William, and point out that his and Meghan’s top secret ‘olive branch’ meeting with the Queen at Windsor Castle before the Invictus Games was the first time Harry had seen his grandmother in two years.
Harry and William stand together during the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, July 1, 2021
William with a rhino at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Britain, June 2012
Harry and William with a cheetah at the Mokolodo nature reserve in Gaberone, Botswana on June 15, 2010
Harry is pictured at Wembley Arena with his ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas, March 7, 2014
Harry and Cressida Bonas pictured in the crowd at a Six Nations match at Twickenham
Harry and Meghan attend the Athletics Competition during day two of the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022
Cressida Bonas posing for photos in June 2019 (left) and May 2019 (right)
Sussexes’ security row could be fixed for Queen’s Jubilee: Prince Harry might return to the UK with Archie and Lilibet for the celebration after being ‘reassured’ about protection plans
Prince Harry might come back to the UK with his children for the Queen’s Jubilee after being ‘reassured’ about arrangements for their security.
Sources have told the Daily Mail that the prince appeared mollified at the plans put in place when he and Meghan visited the Queen at Windsor last week.
The couple brought over their own private bodyguards from the US but stayed on the Queen’s Windsor estate and received a Special Escort Group (SEG) detail when travelling outside.
The SEG provides mobile armed protection to both royals and government ministers.
This ‘hybrid’ model is now likely to be offered to Harry, Meghan and children, Archie, two, and, Lilibet, ten months, when visiting.
It would be funded by taxpayers as the Home Office have made clear that they cannot agree private financial arrangements with anyone receiving Met Police security.
Harry, 37, is taking legal action against the Home Office after being stripped of armed police protection.
He says he does not feel safe under current security arrangements bringing his family to the UK and has offered to pay for British police bodyguards himself.
Mrs Brown has also claimed that Harry and Meghan are ‘addicted to drama’ – and says one day the duke will ‘wake up’ and realise he’s living in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.
Speaking to the Telegraph, the expert said the pair can’t stop creating dramatic scenes wherever they go – claiming they appeared to be ‘addicted to drama’. And she warned the duke appears to have been ‘completely and utterly taken over by Meghan and his whole personality has changed’.
‘I do question how it will end. ‘[Maybe] he’ll wake up and realise he’s living in Goop and he has to get the hell out, go down the pub and see his friends,’ she added.
The Royal Family was this week left reeling when Harry, who met with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace in The Hague today, appeared to issue a veiled warning to those closest to the Queen when interviewed by a US network, saying he wanted to make sure his grandmother was ‘protected’ and had ‘the right people around her’.
The duke did not elaborate on whether he was referring to royal aides or members of his own family, but his comments may have deepened his rift with his father the Prince of Wales and his brother William and perplexed palace officials.
Harry also risked further fuelling the rift with his estranged older brother by stating that their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was now watching over him from beyond the grave as ‘she’s done her bit’ with William and his family.
In an NBC TV appearance, Harry also opened up on his ‘special’ relationship with his grandmother, and his very public claim that she confides in him things she cannot talk to anyone else about.
And in a barbed comment, he said of his visit: ‘I’m just making sure that she’s protected and got the right people around her’.
Harry also said his grandmother needs extra protection in comments that threatened to undermine her birthday and a row over security that could overshadow her historic Platinum Jubilee.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dodged an awkward question about the Duke of Sussex ‘s claim he came to Britain last week to ensure the Queen is ‘protected’.
Charles is said to be at the end of his tether with his youngest son as palace staff who cared for Her Majesty throughout the pandemic accused the Duke of Sussex of ‘breathtaking arrogance’.
Harry speaks on stage during the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 Closing Ceremony at Zuiderpark on April 22, 2022
Harry poses in an Archewell cap with bar owner John Gulay 51 of O’Casey’s Irish pub
The Duke of Sussex cheers on competitors during the powerlifting event at the Invictus Games, in the Netherlands, on Thursday
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visits Wheelchair Rugby during the 5th the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark in The Hague yesterday. Her Majesty (right today) is believed to be seeing family and friends at her Norfolk home
‘The wound is the place where the light enters you’: Prince Harry quotes 13th Century poet as he closes Invictus Games after praising spirit of athletes and revealing competition is ‘way better’ than he ‘ever imagined’
Prince Harry quoted a 13th Century poet during the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in The Hague in the Netherlands.
The Duke of Sussex founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.
Harry spoke of his pride in the competitors sitting before him and told the audience: ‘The wound is the place where light enters you.’
The quote, which Harry said had been circulating around the Invictus camp, is originally from the Persian poet Rumi – whose words of wisdom are popular among mental well-being and mindfulness coaches.
He continued: ‘You have all summited your mountain. And I could not be prouder of every single one of you.
‘We, your friends and family, could not be prouder of who you are and what you represent, especially given what it’s taken to get here. Mindset is everything.’
He added: ‘From interviews that Invictus did across the park this week, and as some of you have shared with me personally, many would have taken their own life had it not been for these games.
‘You made the choice to be here, to stay with us, to grow with us, and I can’t explain how much it means to me and how much all of you mean to us. So thank you.
‘This is a blueprint of what the wider world needs today – the power of resilience, the power of healing and the power of recovery.
‘So if, or when, you feel alone, please know that you are not alone. This community is with you. We are all with you. To friends and family, we wouldn’t be here without you.
‘We defend those that need defending. Service and sacrifice is in our blood and don’t you ever forget it.’
Her Majesty is celebrating her birthday with her typical lack of fuss today – and tributes have poured in from her family including William and Kate.
To mark the occasion, a glorious photograph has been released of Her Majesty standing with two of her own favourite fell ponies, Bybeck Nightingale and Bybeck Katie.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared a picture of them with the Queen, and one with the monarch’s great-grandchildren, and said on Instagram: ‘Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 96th birthday today! An inspiration to so many across the UK, the Commonwealth and the world, it’s particularly special to be celebrating in this Platinum Jubilee year’.
Prince Charles shared a series of images of his smiling mother through her life – as well as with him and his wife Camilla – with the caption: ‘Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a particularly special 96th birthday today, as we celebrate her Platinum Jubilee year’.
Harry’s decision to acrimoniously quit as a working royal and spend the last two years making a string of damning accusations against his family from across the Atlantic in California is understood to have caused the Queen great heartache because she is known to adore him.
Despite speaking to US network NBC to boast about his special bond with the monarch – and how he makes her laugh – Harry still refused to commit to attending her Jubilee celebrations.
He again blamed ‘security issues’ for being unwilling to commit to him, Meghan, Archie, two, and Lilibet, 10 months, joining Her Majesty and the rest of his British family to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.
Harry and Meghan made a secret visit to Windsor last week before the Invictus Games but in his High Court battle with the Government he has said he ‘does not feel safe’ in the UK.
Former royal bodyguards have insisted that when with the Royal Family or on royal property, the Sussexes would be fully protected by armed police.
It comes amid claims that Harry might come back to the UK with his children for the Queen’s Jubilee after being ‘reassured’ about arrangements for their security.
Sources have told the Daily Mail that the prince appeared mollified at the plans put in place when he and Meghan visited the Queen at Windsor last week.
The couple brought over their own private bodyguards from the US but stayed on the Queen’s Windsor estate and received a Special Escort Group (SEG) detail when travelling outside.
The SEG provides mobile armed protection to both royals and government ministers. This ‘hybrid’ model is now likely to be offered to Harry, Meghan and children, Archie, two, and, Lilibet, ten months, when visiting. It would be funded by taxpayers as the Home Office have made clear that they cannot agree private financial arrangements with anyone receiving Met Police security.
Harry is taking legal action against the Home Office after being stripped of armed police protection. He says he does not feel safe under current security arrangements bringing his family to the UK and has offered to pay for British police bodyguards himself.
The duke’s barrister, Shaheed Fatima QC, previously told the High Court that Harry considers the UK ‘is and always will be his home’ and says he is keen to return to visit family and friends – although the prince this week said in a TV interview that home ‘is in the States’.
A well-placed source told the Mail: ‘Harry was fairly pleased with the way the operation worked [when he and Meghan came to Windsor] and the liaison between his security team and the Met. He believes it means a workable solution can be found, allowing him to come over with his children as early as the Platinum Jubilee.’
The source said they believed Harry would now row back from his legal action.
Whether this means his family will be seen on the balcony at Buckingham Palace alongside the Queen over the jubilee weekend remains to be seen.
Yesterday Harry rubbed shoulders with the King of the Netherlands on the last day of his Invictus Games in The Hague.
It also emerged that the former party prince enjoyed a pint of Guinness in an Irish pub the night before – before switching to lemonade.
John Gulay, 51, owner of O’Casey’s Irish Pub, recalled the now meditation-loving prince said: ‘One pint, that’s it’ and ‘I stick to one pint and then I’ll move to lemonade.’
Prince Harry on secret Queen trip, how America is ‘home’ and whether he misses William & Charles
- On visiting the Queen: ‘Being with her, it was great. It was just so nice to see her. You know, she’s on great form. She has always got a great sense of humour with me and I’m just making sure she’s protected and has got the right people around her.’
- On the best thing about the Queen: ‘Her sense of humour and her ability to see the humour in so many different things. We have a really special relationship. We talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else, so that is always a nice peace to her. But I think she’s… I think after a certain age you get bored of birthdays.’
- On whether he misses William and Charles: ‘Look I mean, for me at the moment, I’m here focused on these guys and these families and giving everything that I can, 120 per cent to them to make sure they have the experience of a lifetime. That’s my focus here. And when I leave here, I get back and my focus is on my family who I miss massively.’
- On whether he will attend the Platinum Jubilee celebrations: ‘I don’t know yet. There’s lots of things with security issues and everything else. This is what I’m trying to do, trying to make it possible that I can get my kids to meet her.’
- On Archie: ‘He’s into the why stage. Why this? Why that? Why that? And instead of just trying to move it on, I give him the most honest answer I can. And then it goes on and on and on until he’s satisfied. And then that’s it. It’s done. Otherwise it ends up with – because the world is round and that it is the way life is.’
- On America being his new home: ‘Home for me now is, you know, for the time being, it’s in the States. And it feels that way as well.’
- On his late mother Princess Diana: ‘It is almost as though she’s done her bit with my brother and now she’s very much, like, helping me. Got him set up. And now she’s helping me set up. That’s what it feels like, you know? He’s got his kids. I’ve got my kids, you know the circumstances are obviously different. But now, I feel her presence in almost everything that I do now. But definitely more so in the last two years than ever before. Without question. So she’s watching over us.’
How Harry turned to therapists from MI6 in his mental health battle, SENT BACK a birthday gift from Charles and had explosive rows with William: RICHARD KAY on new book that says so much about the Prince’s state of mind
But according to Tina Brown, who was there to pay her respects to the debonair Lord Lichfield, fashionable photographer to the demi-monde, glamour was sadly absent.
In its place she sniffed ‘the creak of irrelevance and decay’.
Camilla’s ex-husband Andrew Parker Bowles resembling a ‘walking pink gin’ and a ‘decrepit Lord Snowdon’, the Queen’s former brother-in-law, displaying ‘a bad-tempered air’.
Even the younger generation back then in 2006, ‘pale and discontented’, did not escape her forensic gaze.
Every time one rose to speak, the sage at her elbow, the Queen Mother’s former factotum William ‘Backstairs Billy’ Tallon hissed something pejorative.
Only the imperious Princess Michael of Kent offered a frisson of allure.
Brown found herself longing for the ‘tall, blonde glory of Princess Diana to appear in a blaze of paparazzi’.
But Diana was long dead and a deep dullness had settled on the Royal Family, for which they were eternally grateful.
Prince Harry has become increasingly isolated from the Royal Family since his relationship with Meghan Markle, but Brown says this began before he met the actress
‘Never again’, was the mantra. ‘We don’t want another Diana’ was the refrain that echoed from the highest reaches of Palace life.
Twenty five years after the princess’s tragic, unexpected death, the formidable Ms Brown, author of the explosive Diana Chronicles, which was an early Naughties sensation, has returned to the fray.
Her new book, The Palace Papers: Inside The House Of Windsor — The Truth And The Turmoil, examines how that quest to ensure the monarchy is not simply a platform for family members to seek public acclaim has turned out.
Even a cursory look at the royal landscape would suggest things have not gone entirely to plan.
The book reveals how the Queen vanquished the ghost of Diana by saying she wanted Camilla to become Queen when Charles takes to the throne
Just this week, Harry and Meghan — with Netflix crew dancing attendance — have lobbed another of their televisual truth bombs after the prince declared he wanted to make sure his grandmother was ‘protected’.
With added bombast, he let it slip that he enjoyed a special relationship with her unlike any other, that the two could ‘talk about things she can’t talk about with anybody else’.
Meanwhile, the dust has scarcely settled on the disgraced Duke of York’s £12 million out-of-court agreement of a sex-abuse lawsuit.
And less than a month after escorting his mother to Prince Philip’s thanksgiving service, Andrew, the royal pariah, is said to be angling for a return to public duties, despite the shame of his links to the notorious paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
‘Friction between the brothers escalated over their professional alignments,’ Brown writes. ‘William knew he had to be respectful of hierarchy when it came to his father’s ownership of the environmental platform, but he was less willing to accede to his brother’
As ever, the devil is in the delicious detail, from Harry’s mental health struggles and the girl who put him on the path to treatment, to the Queen’s remarkably with-it grasp of cultural niceties.
Asked if it was OK if the heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne could appear at the 2002 Party at the Palace to mark her Golden Jubilee, she replied dryly: ‘As long as he doesn’t bite the head off a bat.’
While no conventional royal historian, Brown tackles her subjects with the same brio she brought to her years as a highly regarded magazine editor, first with Tatler, then with Vanity Fair and the New Yorker.
Her access to those who flit around the royals gives her writing an edgy authenticity.
The book, she says, is the result of two years’ work — and impeccable sources.
‘I talked to more than 120 people, many of whom have been intimately involved with the senior royals and their households during the turbulent years since Diana died,’ she explained.
The result is a tour d’horizon of the recent travails of the Royal Family, which is both critical of and surprisingly sympathetic to the figure at the heart of the story: the 96-year-old Queen, whose head-in-the-sand approach or ‘ostriching’ she often mocks.
Some are bound to be upset at Brown’s frank, almost cruel assessment of Diana in the final months of her life after her Panorama interview.
Following recent revelations about Martin Bashir’s deceit in securing his interview, Brown claims Diana had no regrets about the collaboration.
‘I don’t subscribe to the now pervasive narrative that Diana was a vulnerable victim of media manipulation, a mere marionette tossed about by malign forces beyond her control,’ she says.
‘I find it offensive to present the canny, resourceful Diana as a woman of no agency, as either a foolish, duped child or the hapless casualty of malevolent muckrakers.’
She quotes cordless phone magnate Gulu Lalvani, who briefly dated the princess in early 1997, saying that Diana told him she had said exactly what she wanted to say in the broadcast.
Queen banished Diana’s ghost
The Queen emerges as both canny and strategic.
Her Majesty’s wish, expressed earlier this year, that Camilla should one day become Queen, demonstrated, says Brown, that ‘duty and loyalty to the Crown . . . are more defining of royalty than bloodlines’.
She adds: ‘For Charles, his mother’s validation of his devotion to Camilla was the last exorcism of Diana’s ghost.’
At the same time, she paints a picture of a monarch whose sense of humour, despite all the setbacks, remains intact.
During a talk with then Prime Minister Tony Blair about the Golden Jubilee, she offers the correction ‘My Golden Jubilee’.
And in a discussion about whether she might visit the London Eye attraction on the South Bank, she sniffs: ‘I am not a tourist.’
Nor does her famous thriftiness go unpassed.
Brown quotes a former girlfriend of Charles recalling that when she arrived for tea at Windsor Castle in 1979, the Queen ‘was in a fluster because she’d been going through the Windsor heating bills and claimed she was being overcharged’.
Leaving the reception after Charles and Camilla’s wedding, she and Philip passed Michael Fawcett, their son’s major domo forced out of royal service last year over the cash for honours row.
Turning to the Duke of Edinburgh, she said loudly: ‘Oh look, there’s Fawcett. He’s got so fat.’
As Brown says of her own book, she wished Meghan had been able to read it before marrying the younger son of the heir to the throne.
‘She would have learned that no one is a bigger brand than The Firm.’
‘She was pleased about it,’ Lalvani told Brown.
‘She didn’t have a bad word to say about Martin Bashir. She realised it served her purpose.’
I, for one, disagree. Not only did Diana fall out with Bashir, she told me she fervently wished she had not spoken about her betrayed love for Army officer James Hewitt because it had damaged her relationship with William and Harry.
Recalling her own lunch with Diana in New York six weeks before the princess’s death, Brown admits she was ‘bowled over’ by her confidence.
‘Diana was always more beautiful in person than in photographs, the huge, limpid blue eyes, the skin like a freshwater pearl, the supermodel height that was even more imposing in three-inch Manolos.
‘She told us her story of loneliness and hurt at Charles’s hands with an irresistible soulful intimacy . . . then switched to a startlingly sophisticated vision of how she planned to leverage her celebrity for the causes she cared about.’
Her plan, says Brown, ‘sounds very like what Meghan and Harry are attempting with their entertainment deals today, but with one central difference: it was better thought out.’
So what other intriguing nuggets does the book contain?
Frictions between brothers escalated
Brown considers Harry’s departure from royal life to be a huge loss, not just to the nation but also to the one person who needs him the most: his brother William, the future king.
Intriguingly, she says that the relationship between the two siblings began to decline long before the destabilising arrival of Meghan Markle.
‘Friction between the brothers escalated over their professional alignments,’ Brown writes.
‘William knew he had to be respectful of hierarchy when it came to his father’s ownership of the environmental platform, but he was less willing to accede to his brother.’
For his part, Harry felt William was ‘hogging the best briefs’, a rivalry especially keen over their joint interests in Africa and conservation.
Brown claims that Harry wanted the prestigious rhino and elephant charity the Tusk Trust, of which William had been patron since 2005.
‘Harry was a very, very angry man. I think those were absolutely Olympic rows,’ she quotes a friend of the brothers as saying.
It didn’t help that Harry had a more natural, less formal way with the public.
‘If William makes a speech, everything from ‘Good evening’ onwards has to be typed out and handed to him,’ a charity official tells her.
‘When he came to our dining club one evening, as soon as he got up to speak he froze.’
Harry knew how to work a room like his grandfather Prince Philip, starting with a joke to break the ice.
But if Harry was discontented over his royal duties, he was even more unhappy about the state of his love life.
After Harry’s split from aristocratic actress Cressida Bonas in 2014, Brown quotes Prince Charles telling a party guest: ‘I don’t know what to do about Harry. We so miss Cressida.’
Cressie, as she is known by family — the willowy blonde daughter of Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon — found her royal boyfriend both sweet and tiresome.
His mood was often confrontational.
‘When he wasn’t venting about William, he was pouring out resentments about Charles,’ Brown writes.
Father and son communicated mostly through their private offices.
One ‘disgruntled’ episode concerned the prince’s offer of a 30th birthday present for Harry.
‘Would you like another dinner jacket?’ Charles asked.
Harry said: ‘OK’.
Brown reports a source: ‘So the man from Savile Row came to measure him and when the suit arrived . . . one arm was shorter than the other and one leg shorter than the other, so it was . . . returned in a box, which seemed kind of analogous to their whole relationship.’
Cressida Bonas, pictured here in 2019, found her Prince Harry to be both sweet and tiresome during their relationship, Brown says
This, Brown describes as ‘no communication, and when there was, it went wrong’.
Meanwhile, Cressida, a normal 25-year-old, found Harry’s resentment towards the media trying.
She ‘wanted to go out to dinner and touch knees under the table,’ a friend tells Brown.
‘Harry would walk four paces ahead of her, instead of holding her hand. When they went to the theatre, he left at the interval to get out without a hassle.
‘She was either being dragged through the streets being yelled at or ignored while he threw a hissy fit.’
While media reports talked of her romantic love affair with the prince, the ‘bizarre reality of date nights was glumly eating takeaway and watching Netflix at Nottingham Cottage, Harry’s none-too-tidy two-bedroom grace-and-favour bachelor pad in the grounds of Kensington Palace’.
Cressida became increasingly concerned about Harry’s mental health.
According to Brown, it was Cressie who first persuaded him to see a therapist. To find the right person, he took advice from MI6.
Camilla turns his bedroom into her dressing room
Brown is warm on the relationship between Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the ‘horse whisperer of his emotional needs’, and the difficulties Camilla encountered from his sons.
Harry was said to resent the fact that Camilla had converted his old bedroom at Highgrove into her dressing room.
Finally prevailed upon to meet the then Mrs Parker Bowles, he ‘unnerved her with long silences and smouldering resentful stares’.
For a long time, despite the overtures, William remained ‘guarded’ and his brother ‘outright sullen’.
These days, William at least is pragmatic about the relationship, accepting Camilla for what she means to his father.
Harry almost certainly has not.
For her part, the duchess has tried to remain gracious and above the fray.
If she had a family motto, Brown says, it would be ‘Thou shalt not whine’.
Bad blood was kept firmly behind doors.
When the actor Stephen Fry went to stay at Highgrove, he was struck by how much William and Harry teased their father.
At breakfast, Fry lifted the lid of a tureen to reveal a heap of linseed.
‘Prince William said: ‘Oh no, don’t go near the bird table, Stephen, that’s only for Pa.’
‘There was a need for someone who would be incredibly discreet and who understood what it’s like to have a public version of your life and a private version of your life,’ Brown quotes a contact.
‘Therapists at MI6, that’s what they do.’
His relationship with Bonas did not survive, however.
Brown reveals that after they parted Harry wrote Cressida ‘a sweet letter saying ‘I admire you, I wish you well and above all thank you for helping me to address my demons and seek help’ ‘.
Meghan wanted leading lady status
Meghan Markle’s arrival in Harry’s life changed everything almost overnight.
She and the prince became ‘drunk on a shared fantasy of being the instruments of global transformation who, once married, would operate in the celebrity stratosphere once inhabited by Princess Diana’.
The world caught a glimpse of this power grab at the unveiling of the so-called ‘Fab Four’, when Meghan articulately spoke with all her actressy skill at a meeting of their Royal Foundation, which had set up the Heads Together mental health charity.
‘Harry looked on with awe and his brother and Kate stood by with expressionless irritation,’ Brown writes.
‘When it was Kate’s moment to speak, she was strikingly less articulate, as well as brief.’
Yet, Brown says, few knew that it was the Duchess of Cambridge who had been the prime mover in the mental health campaign, after years of providing emotional support for her brother, James Middleton, as he struggled with clinical depression.
So far so glamorous, but what Palace insiders saw as Meghan’s ‘wilful blindness to institutional culture’ was a clash with the actress’s world view.
‘In the ranking system of the entertainment world, star power — wattage — equals leverage . . . Alas, she seemed oblivious to the one critical factor that would determine the outcome of her plans for the future: primogeniture.’
For all his easy-going charm and huge popularity, Harry was not heir in line to the throne; he had slipped to sixth and, as Brown notes ‘when Kate became Queen, Meghan would have to curtsy to her’.
In the book, Brown shines a fascinating and waspish light on Meghan’s life just as she was meeting Harry and how her then blog, The Tig, was a dragnet for luxury freebies.
‘She won a reputation among the marketers of luxury brands of being warmly interested in receiving bags of designer swag.’
A publicist is quoted as saying she had been copied in to a message from a member of Meghan’s team after she became Duchess of Sussex.
‘Make sure [the publicist] knows that she can still send me anything. She’s always been one of the good ones.’
Brown offers a Hollywood insight into that famous three-way row between Harry, Meghan and Angela Kelly, the Queen’s dresser and assistant, over the choice of tiara to be worn at the wedding.
‘Meghan did not — or could not — perceive the difference between the Queen’s personal aide and a contract stylist at NBC Universal.’
With his rows over ‘what Meghan wants, Meghan gets’, Harry, she said, had morphed into ‘groomzilla’.
An aide is said to have described their confrontational stance as a mutual ‘addiction to drama’.
Harry was convinced that fellow family members were jealous of the Sussexes’ overseas appeal — just as they had once been of his mother, Brown writes
By the time the couple returned from their hugely successful Australia tour in late 2018, Harry was convinced that fellow family members were jealous of the Sussexes’ overseas appeal — just as they had once been of his mother.
But while after her first tour Diana realised the responsibility and duty that came with the intense interest she generated, Meghan appeared to draw a different conclusion.
Her view, according to Brown, was that ‘the monarchy likely needed her more than she needed them.
‘She had starred in the equivalent of a blockbuster film and wanted her leading-lady status to be reflected in lights’.
Andrew holed up in his bedroom
On Prince Andrew, Brown rarely pulls her punches, labelling the Queen’s favourite son a ‘coroneted sleaze machine’.
She describes with barely disguised contempt how, soon after his separation from Fergie, the Duke of York made a private visit to the Palm Springs estate of a former U.S. ambassador to Britain, where he ‘holed up in his bedroom for two days, apparently watching porn’.
Of his ten-year role as UK trade ambassador, Brown writes scornfully: ‘A string of international lowlifes, who had nothing to do with British diplomacy and everything to do with unsavoury personal deals that he was pursuing on the side, filled the Duke of York’s otherwise sparse calendar’.
As for Jeffrey Epstein, Brown says he referred to Andrew as ‘an idiot’ behind his back — ‘but to him a useful one’.
Epstein, she asserts, ‘made Andrew feel he had joined the big time — the deals, the girls, the plane, the glittering New York world, where he wasn’t seen as a full-grown man still dependent on his mother’s Privy Purse strings or on the pecking order of the palace.
The duke was always as oversexed as a boob-ogling adolescent’.
William and Kate’s secret lives
Brown relates how at a glitzy fundraiser for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, where Kate serves as royal patron, William transformed from star guest to ministering waiter.
Told that the evening’s ‘highest roller’ was too ill to join the dinner, the prince asked for a pot of tea on a tray and went and knocked on her door.
‘She was so over the moon,’ said investment banker Euan Rellie.
‘Hard not to be,’ writes Brown.
‘It was a gesture that showed the imagination and empathy of his mother.’
For history of art graduate Kate, secret visits to museums and art galleries are said to ‘nourish her inner life’.
Brown relates how the late QC Jeremy Hutchinson, viewing a Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy at 8am one morning, was taken aback when the duchess took a seat beside him.
‘I miss my history of art,’ she told him. ‘It’s what I do to get my fix.’
The Palace Papers by Tina Brown is published next week by Century at £20. Tina Brown will be in conversation with Pandora Sykes at Conway Hall, London on Tuesday, May 3. Tickets available at howtoacademy.com