Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s road to romance, parenthood and their decision to step down from senior royal roles has been documented in Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of the Modern Royal Family, by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
Multiple bombshells sourced from 100 insiders are outlined. A few, below:
They met in June of 2016 on a blind date in London. Designer Misha Nonoo and Markus Anderson arranged their date.
Meghan was previously married to Trevor Engelson for two years. The producer was “used to being the breadwinner,” an insider says. When she landed a role on Suits, “Suddenly the dynamic was changing. And he didn’t like that.”
Harry was in. “Wow,” he later confesses to a friend, according to the book. “The most beautiful woman I’ve seen in my life.”
So was Meghan. The day after their date, Meghan reportedly called a friend, asking, “Do I sound crazy when I say this could have legs?”
On their third date, they went to Botswana where they were mostly at a $1,957 per night deluxe tent.
“Technically the getaway was just their third date,” says a friend about their trip to South Africa. “But by then, they were each already dancing around the idea that this just may be a forever thing.”
Harry was reportedly delighted to learn she was laid-back. “Harry was delightfully surprised by Meghan’s down-to-earth attitude. While camping she cleaned her face with baby wipes and happily wandered into the woodlands if she needed a bathroom break.”
They went to a Halloween party at Soho house with his cousin, Princess Eugenie, and her then-boyfriend, Jack Brooksbank. After learning that The Sunday Express was running a story, they went to hide at Meghan’s then-pal Jessica Mulroney‘s home.
Meghan expected to be “grilled” by Prince William, but he reportedly said, “I was looking forward to meeting the girl who has put that silly grin on my brother’s face.”
When Meghan was spotted wearing a necklace with the initials “H” and “M” a Palace aid told her to take it off.
“After hanging up, she felt frustrated and emotional” the book says. “While she knew the aide had good intentions, the surreal experience of having someone from her boyfriend's office tell her what kind of jewelry to wear or not to smile at a photographer was too much.”
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The pair liked quiet nights at home watching dramas like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad as well as Disney classics like Moanaand The Lion King.
The book reveals: “Her relationship with God and with the church is extremely important to her. That’s something most people don’t know about her. It plays a central role in her life, as an individual and as a woman.”
She even encouraged a prayer circle at work.
“It’s prayer and conversations with God that have gotten her through the darkest moments,” a source says. “That’s something that plays a significant role in her life and her relationship with Harry. The two have been on a journey of faith together.”
When Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland struggled with press scrutiny, she found a partner and resource in Oprah Winfrey.
“Oprah has been a friend and a help to someone Doria who’s been in a pretty extraordinary situation,” a source close to Meghan says in the book. “There are not many people who can understand the situations that Doria’s found herself in, so it’s great to be supported by someone who understands the pressure of being in the public eye.”
After a day of royal formality, James Corden started the party dressed as Henry VIII. The couple's first dance song was to Wilson Pickett's “I'm in Love,” and an American Southern band played hits including “My Girl” and “Soul Man.” DJ Sam Totolee played for the A-list crowd, and Idris Elba took over for a one-hour set.
Much of the drama between Harry and William stems from financial concerns.
“While Charles may be a father to Harry, he’s also their boss, and that makes their relationship complex for a number of reasons,” a source says in the book. “Where you are born in this family dictates your position of power, and because of that, Harry has always come second to his brother, especially when it comes to funding. There were times in the past when Harry wanted to take on bigger projects and do more work, but he couldn’t get the money to support it. William was always the priority. A lot of their quarrels have been over budgets.”