Finding Freedom, the upcoming book about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, is currently the #1 book on Amazon based on pre-orders, helped in part by the advance excerpts published this weekend in The Sunday Times and The Times and the subsequent coverage of those excerpts by media outlets around the world, in particular in the UK. The book is due out on August 11. So, basically, a beach read, or a backyard read, or a patio read – wherever you are, it’s exactly the kind of book content that most people look for during the summer. And depending on how you look at it, there are so many rom-com elements to this story! Like the details about their first, second, and third dates.
Apparently Harry and Meghan’s first date was three hours as they started to get to know each other. And it went so well that they made plans to see each other again the next night, which is when the flirting began. After the second date, Harry “knew they would be together” because Meghan was “ticking every box fast”. Meghan then followed Harry’s secret Instagram account and posted a photo of some candy hearts that had “Kiss Me” written on them and captioned it “Lovehearts in #London”. Harry evidently saw the post and “got the message”… LOLOLOLOLOL, like so many other romances in the age of social media! But it’s especially amazing because, as we know, royals don’t fall in love this way. Typically some person, usually a Lady of Some Such -thorpe and -shire, with pearls on speaks to another lady with pearls on, to set up a tea party and everyone follows the aristocrat romance playbook. It was exciting enough that Prince William met Kate Middleton at university and fell in love during group hangs at the pub and at the library studying together (also a very rom-com setting) but the Harry and Meghan romance takes it to another modern level with Instagram clues and thirst traps and DMs and text messages. I mean, I don’t know if Harry ever messaged Meghan and asked her to “Netflix and chill” (“Disney and chill” is more his jam) but my point is, this is the kind of book that Finding Freedom is overall: a romance novel (that could have been conceived by the Fug Girls, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – by the way, their new book, The Heir Affair, undoubtedly inspired by the young British royals, is out now, check it out) that just happens to be about two real royal people.
Which is a detail that is being missed right now with all the outraged reporting about the family drama. And, sure, that’s not surprising given what we’ve seen over the last year and a half with William and Harry and their estrangement and the Sussexes’ subsequent departure from the British royal family. All that, of course, is super gossipy – gossip that we’ve all been consuming since 2018, much of it is being rehashed now. I’m just saying that in the rehashing, we might be missing the rom-com fun of it all. Drama, after all, is a rom-com requirement.
And much of the drama that’s being focused on is how hurt Harry was when William told him to pump the brakes with Meghan. “Don’t feel you need to rush this”, is what the book’s sources say that William initially told Harry when Harry and Meghan were falling in love. “Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl”.
Harry didn’t take kindly to the way William called Meghan “this girl”. According to Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, “In those last two words ‘this girl’ Harry heard the tone of the snobbishness that was anathema to his approach to the world. During his 10-year career in the military, outside the royal bubble, he had learnt not to make snap judgements of people based on their accent, education, ethnicity class or profession.”
This, by the way, is a rom-com trope too. Hot popular boy falls for an outsider and his friends tell him not to waste his time. You’ve seen that movie over and over again. Pretty in Pink, for example. Meghan is basically Andie, Harry is Blaine, and William is Steff in the pastels, LOLOLOLOL. Come on, isn’t this just the American rich kid version of what William said to Harry, only he probably spoke in the Queen’s English?
Or Eddie from Crazy Rich Asians:
I wonder who the Bernard Tai is in William and Harry’s rich English people circles. There’s always one…or three.
Anyway, as we know, it went south from there. Harry was pissed that William wasn’t onside when palace courtiers were talking sh-t about Meghan and that disappointment continued to build over time as, according to the book, Harry and Meghan were continually betrayed by those inside Kensington Palace and William wasn’t supportive when Harry appealed to him for support. As expected, at least in the released excerpts, the British media is also called out and the British media is being particularly sensitive about being called out. Which is why it would appear that the media and the royals are now joining forces to discredit or at least defend themselves with pages and pages of online and print coverage dedicated to the book …and sending it all the way to #1 on book lists everywhere, ensuring that we’ll be talking about this for weeks until publication and more after that when people get to read it in its rom-com entirety.
What’s also interesting about how this is playing out are the accusations over how Harry and Meghan contributed to Finding Freedom. The authors have denied that they spoke to the Sussexes directly and Harry and Meghan have released a statement distancing themselves from the book:
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. This book is based on the authors' own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting."
I mean, I think it’s obvious, as stated by the authors, that they spoke with something like a hundred sources, some of whom know Harry and Meghan very well….WHICH IS HOW BOOKS LIKE THIS ARE TYPICALLY WRITTEN. But now some British journalists are all like, well, Harry and Meghan if you truly aren’t involved in this book you should sue the authors!
Should Prince Charles have sued Robert Jobson when he published the book Charles at Seventy two years ago? That book was written with Clarence House’s knowledge and Robert Jobson was permitted to travel with the prince and observe his interactions for months while he was working on it. He too had “sources” tell him all kinds of sh-t on William and Harry and wrote about their temperaments and their vanity, all in service of making Charles look like a suitable monarch by contrast. Nobody was conducting forensics and complaining about the process then, or about all the other similar books, so how is Finding Freedom any different from how those books were put together? Is it favourable to Harry and Meghan? Probably quite favourable – just like Charles at Seventy was exceedingly favourable to Charles. And it was also a little bit of a rom-com about Charles and Camilla too. I know there’s not quite the same appetite out there for a Charles and Camilla rom-com but the playbook is pretty much the same.