A good luck call to the Queen, the true story of Meghan’s engagement ring change, and Archie’s musical classes have all been revealed in a new book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family is the long-awaited book about the couple’s life in the Royal Family, providing what some have said is their side of the story.
While there have been reports that courtiers in the palace are worried about the revelations in the 24 chapter tome, the duke and duchess have denied that they gave an interview to the authors, royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
The authors say they have spoken to two sources for every claim in the book, and conducted more than 100 interviews.
From settling some rumours to dropping new nuggets of information, here’s some of the things we have learned from the book.
Table of Contents
Harry called the Queen before her coronavirus message
As they settled into life in Los Angeles, albeit in lockdown, Prince Harry called his grandmother, the Queen, before she delivered her message to the nation about the coronavirus pandemic.
The authors say the prince called her “to wish her good luck”.
Harry, 35, also called his father, Charles after he found out he tested positive for coronavirus, and called Camilla regularly while she was quarantined.
Read more: Prince Harry’s friend ‘punished’ for ‘doubts’ about Meghan Markle ahead of wedding
Meghan took Archie to music classes in Windsor
With royal protection officers waiting outside, Meghan took her baby son Archie to the “Happy Clappy” babies and parents music class in Windsor, the book reports.
The other parents were “wide-eyed” when Meghan, 39, joined the group, with Archie reaching for the tambourine to play along.
Read more: Why is Meghan Markle suing the Mail on Sunday?
Harry had Meghan’s engagement ring altered – not her
After Archie was born, eagle-eyed watchers spotted Meghan’s engagement ring looked different, and that she had a new ring.
Meghan’s once simple engagement ring band had been replaced by one which had diamonds set in it.
Multiple outlets reported on the change, and indicated it was Meghan’s decision.
But Finding Freedom reports it was Harry who took it to be altered, at the same time as buying her a new ring to mark the arrival of Archie.
The book says: “On May 19, 2019, Harry also surprised his wife of one year with the gift of a ring that he had created with jeweler-to-the-stars Lorraine Schwartz, a favourite of Meghan’s.
“The conflict-free diamond eternity band paid homage to the family of three with Meghan’s, Archie’s and Harry’s birthstones (peridot, emerald and sapphire respectively) on the underside of the ring.”
It adds: “Harry also thought to have Lorraine resize and reset Meghan’s engagement ring with a new diamond band.”
Archie was eight days late
When Harry and Meghan announced she was pregnant, the couple said the baby was due “Spring 2019” but were not much more specific.
They also kept the news Meghan was in labour under wraps, only revealing she had gone into labour after she’d actually had Archie.
The book’s authors have now revealed Archie was actually eight days late.
One friend told the authors they were “the longest eight days of her life”, but the duchess was able to keep up with her yoga routines and regular dog walks despite that.
It was Harry who had a pre-wedding royal row
Previous reports have suggested that Meghan was left unhappy by the tiara she was lent from the royal collection for her wedding.
However, the book claims it wasn’t Meghan who had a royal rift over the sparkly headwear – but Harry did get into a bit of a spat with the Queen’s right-hand woman.
Angela Kelly, who is the Queen’s dressmaker, is said to have taken her time responding to the couple’s requests through Kensington Palace to arrange a tiara fitting with Meghan’s hair stylist, to ensure nothing would go wrong on the big day.
Harry is described as being “furious” at the delay with a reply from Kelly, and went directly to his grandmother to see if she could make the arrangement.
Meghan was upset by reports later that she had demanded a different tiara to the one she borrowed, saying she “loved” her headpiece.
Meghan thought Princess Michael of Kent’s brooch sent a message
The first time Meghan was invited to the Buckingham Palace Christmas lunch hosted by the Queen, her attendance was marred by the photograph of Princess Michael of Kent wearing a racist brooch.
Princess Michael, the Queen’s cousin’s wife, wore a Blackamoor brooch, a piece of jewellery popularised in 16th century Venice but seen as problematic nowadays.
Meghan’s thoughts on the matter haven’t been known until this book, but there was uproar online when the picture emerged, and Princess Michael did apologise for wearing the piece.
Finding Freedom claims “in the back of Meghan’s mind, she wondered if there wasn’t a message being sent in the pin of the torso of an African man wearing a gold turban and ornate clothing”.
It adds: “At the bare minimum it showed insensitivity to Meghan’s African American roots and the racism she had encountered since pairing up with Harry.”
Read more: Meghan Markle to take part in first interview since ‘Megxit’ – but this time she’ll be asking the questions
Meghan’s first gift for William was a spoon
The Royal Family’s Christmas traditions are a little different to most families, and one of those is that adults exchange comedy presents rather than anything of true value.
In Meghan’s first Christmas at Sandringham, in 2017, she gave William a spoon with the words “cereal killer” written in the bowl of the spoon.
It was “a huge hit”.
Harry’s romantic gesture showed he thought they would last
With Harry’s background in relationships, he may have been forgiven for not thinking Meghan would want to stay with him once the media attention picked up.
But Harry’s early presents for his girlfriend showed he had faith they would make it.
Harry bought Meghan artwork which came in two separate pieces – and held back half until they celebrated one year together.
“Just two months after they had started dating in the summer of 2016, Harry had given Meghan one half of a Van Donna diptych, which depicted a young boyfriend and girlfriend holding hands.
“He had picked up the $4,500 artwork during a private visit to the Walton Fine Arts gallery in Chelsea, London and kept the second piece, which simply featured the title of the work Everybody Needs Somebody to Love for what would be their first anniversary,” according to Finding Freedom.
She got the present as she marked her 36th birthday with Harry in Botswana.
What William said to her the first time they met
According to the book, Meghan was nervous the first time she met William in Kensington in November 2016, not because he was an heir to the throne, but because he was a protective older brother to her boyfriend.
But the first thing he said to her when she arrived to meet him was “I was looking forward to meeting the girl who has put that silly grin on my brother’s face”.
He also took them into the kitchen, rather the drawing room, where the three of them had tea.
She wouldn’t meet Kate, who was in Norfolk with their children, until January.
While there have been reports that the two women have never been close, the book claims Kate offered for Meghan to contact her if there was anything she needed.
A spokesperson for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex previously said: “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.”