A recently released book on the British royals has delved into how the arrival of Meghan Markle, now married to Prince Harry, split the family. According to the second installment of a serialised version of the book Finding Freedom, which appeared in the Sunday Times, Prince William infuriated Prince Harry when he told his younger brother he should move slowly in his relationship with the American actress. According to the book, Harry was angered by what he perceived as William's snobby tone in a discussion about Markle when they were dating. The authors quote a source close to William as saying he didn't want Harry to be "blindsided by lust".
"In those last two words, 'this girl', Harry heard the tone of snobbishness that was anathema to his approach to the world,'' the excerpt said, noting that Harry has spent 10 years in the military and outside the royal bubble. "Also, to remove Meghan from the equation, Harry was tired of the dynamic that had become established between him and his older brother,'' the authors added.
Harry and William were seen as being close until a split emerged months after Harry's wedding to Markle in May 2017, when they decided to divide up their joint charitable foundation. Months later, the couple had made a bombshell announcement on Wednesday that they intended to "step back" from being frontline royals, split their time between the UK and North America, and work towards becoming "financially independent".
Ahead of the book's release, Harry and Meghan issued a statement denying taking part in the publication. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom," it said. "This book is based on the authors' own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting."
The book also describes how the rest of the family and the Royal Household also didn't know what to make of Meghan. One senior courtier is said to have told a colleague: "There's just something about her I don't trust." Another called her Harry's showgirl.
The excerpt is even harsher when it comes to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and William's wife, suggesting she hardly rolled out the red carpet for Meghan, despite the similarity of challenges both would face. "Though it was not necessarily her responsibility, Kate did little to bridge the divide. She was fiercely loyal to her husband and his family,'' the authors wrote. Once Harry and Meghan were married, the gap between the brothers only widened.
The book excerpts have focused on the months of palace intrigue surrounding the decision to step back from senior royal duties. The couple surprised the royal household in January by making public their plans to be more independent. The couple wished to be part-time royals, but the idea fell apart during talks with the family. In January the queen outlined how the couple would step away from royal duties in March, at least for a while, but always remain part of the royal family.
Harry is sixth in the line for the throne, behind his father, Prince Charles, his brother William, and William's three young children, George, Charlotte and Louis.
The couple have re-located to North America with their 14-month old son, Archie.
-Inputs from AP via PTI