I feel like we’re all familiar with Katie Nicholl at this point? She’s a royal reporter who is firmly in Camp Cambridge, and even more than that, she oftens behaves as if she’s the Middleton family’s spokesperson. She writes for Vanity Fair, but she’s also been giving away random “exclusives” to other media/gossip outlets for several months, and I’m still struggling to understand why that is. Anyway, Nicholl gave an interview to Entertainment Tonight about Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s Finding Freedom. She talked about how she wasn’t even able to get her hands on an advance copy, so she’s basically just summarizing the excerpts we’ve already discussed, then adding her own “keen” spin on everything. Some highlights:
On Finding Freedom: “Even Oprah Winfrey wasn’t able to get an advance copy of this book. It has literally been kept under lock and key by the Times and The Sunday Time. I think it’s fair to say this is no Andrew Morton’s Diana. However, the level of detail in this book is quite remarkable. What the authors have managed to do is get a level of detail which is unprecedented. It’s clear that they have spoken to numerous sources. There is a lot of speculation that they have spoken to Harry and Meghan themselves, something that the authors have denied, and something the Sussexes’ team have been keen to also play down. They say that Meghan and Harry have had no official involvement with this biography, but it’s very clear that the authors have had access to sources incredibly close to Meghan and Harry.”
Opening up old wounds: “This has made the book compelling and fascinating, but for the royal family, this book has been damaging because it has opened up old wounds. I think what’s very clear is that Meghan and Harry have wanted to get their side of the story across. This is clearly a couple who feel quite aggrieved by the fact that they’ve never been able to answer their critics. They have never been able to address incorrect reporting…To give Meghan and Harry the chance, if not through their own voices, then through the voices of friends, confidants and people that they trust, to get their side of the story out there. They feel — Meghan, particularly — that she has been muted for most of her royal life, as short as it was. She didn’t have the opportunity to speak out to address her critics to get her side of events out.”
Before he married Meghan, Harry felt like the third wheel: “One of the themes that seems to be recurrent in Finding Freedom is that Harry felt very much like a spare wheel. While the media loved this idea of a royal threesome (Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry), for Harry, he very much felt like a spare wheel. At points [in time], I even heard him complaining that he felt like the gooseberry, the third one along at the date. He never quite fitted in. I think that while Kate and William went out of their way to make sure Harry felt like a part of this team, this trio, Harry always wanted to be his own person. I think Meghan has very much been the catalyst in giving him that confidence to break free from William and Kate, and to break free from that trio dynamic, which was at times cozy and convenient, but actually wasn’t really what he wanted.”
Harry wanted out: “She gave him a new confidence, but I think the truth is that, for a long while, Prince Harry has wanted out. This was a prince who’d spoken quite vocally about the restrictions of being a royal, the weight of burden, a boy who said he wish he hadn’t at times been born a prince. I think that says a lot about Prince Harry.”
The whole thing about “gooseberry” is just so… odd. I don’t think Nicholl is completely wrong there, at least about how Harry was increasingly uncomfortable with the “royal threesome” vibe. It was clear that William and Kate hoped that it would be that way forever, that Harry would never marry, that they could hide behind Harry and take credit for Harry’s ideas and his work. William wanted to keep Harry dependent on him. Kate wanted to keep Harry all to herself, so she could preen for him and everyone would write about how flirty they were. Kate likes all of the male attention for herself. But again, that just shows how short-sighted Kate and William were – it’s not like Harry was just going to be alone forever just to make them happy. And I still believe that no matter who he married, W&K would have taken issue with his wife. They would have made his wife’s life a living hell no matter who she was.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.