The Independent got their hands on the new paperback edition of Finding Freedom, the version with the new updated epilogue about what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been up to in the past two years. Obviously, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand didn’t write the epilogue to be a comprehensive account of 2020 and 2021, but they wanted to spill just enough tea to get people to buy the new edition. So what’s in the epilogue? Some interesting stuff about Harry requesting a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph, only to be denied by the Queen. Stuff about the Oprah interview. And stuff about Philip’s funeral. You can read the Independent’s coverage here. Some highlights:
The wreath on Remembrance Day 2020: In Finding Freedom, the authors claim that a red poppy wreath had been ordered for Prince Harry with the Royal British Legion. “But as the day came and went, Harry’s gesture remained in its box at the charity’s headquarters in Kent.” Scobie and Durand go on to allege that Harry’s request was denied because he was no longer a “frontline royal”, with a “close source” to the Duke adding that he was “saddened and disappointed by the decision”. The source added: “Ten years of service and a lifetime commitment to the military community and this is how it’s been acknowledged by his family.”
William’s reaction to the Oprah interview: In Finding Freedom, the authors write that, according to their sources, William “was understood to be ‘furious’ that private family matters were being discussed in the public domain” and will most likely not comment on the claims made in the Oprah interview again.
How Meghan felt after the Oprah interview: A friend of Meghan’s told the authors that the Oprah interview was “cathartic” for the duchess. “All the things she had kept to herself or been too afraid to say [as a working member of the royal family] she felt safe to finally share. It was liberating,” they added. The authors also claim that no one in the royal family knew about the Oprah interview until it was announced publicly.
The bullying accusations: The allegations were reported four days before the Oprah interview was due to air. “Though the duchess was used to defamatory reports, this front-page story was more worrying,” write the Finding Freedom authors, who claim that the allegations gave the Sussexes more confidence in their decision to leave the royal family. A friend of the couple, meanwhile, told the authors: “It felt like certain individuals at the Palace were doing their very best to undermine and discredit anything they worried the couple may or may not say during the interview.”
The Sussexes’ second wedding anniversary: The epilogue claims that Harry and Meghan had a low-key celebration for their second wedding anniversary last May, when lockdown restrictions were still in place in California. Instead of going out, the couple chose to spend the day remembering their 2018 nuptials with people who had been involved in the ceremony, and concluded the festivities with a Mexican takeaway from a local restaurant. They also exchanged cotton-based gifts, as is traditional for second wedding anniversaries.
How Harry felt at Prince Philip’s funeral: In Finding Freedom, a close source to Harry described the funeral as “surreal” for him, while another noted that, in terms of his relationship with the rest of the royal family, there had been “progress” and “efforts on all sides”. Another added that there is more to be done in terms of mending relationships, but the visit Harry made to the UK for the funeral had “broken the ice”.
The Windsors were happy that Meghan didn’t come to the funeral: In Finding Freedom, the authors claim that several members of the royal family were “understood to have been ‘quietly pleased’” that Meghan did not attend because they “didn’t want a circus” or, as one senior royal source said, “the Duchess creating a spectacle”.
Meghan was what? Just a month away from giving birth at the time of Philip’s funeral? There was no way she would have traveled to the UK for that reason alone, and I don’t even know why she needed that excuse. She could have just shrugged and said “nope” and everyone would have understood. And it wouldn’t be “Meghan creating a spectacle,” it would have been “the British tabloids and the Windsors creating a spectacle around Meghan.” The woman breathes and she’s got ten royal commentators writing 2000-word screeds about how she’s the devil.
As for the rest of it… Harry is fine, he understands that his family is trash and he has too much of a soft spot for his grandmother, who is the one who refused to have his Remembrance Day wreath laid at the Cenotaph. Of course William’s reaction to the Oprah interview was fury – I suspect he was engorged with rage for months about it. And yes, the bullying claims were just the royals’ way of “discrediting” Meghan.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.