Royals feared Meghan would 'create spectacle' after Prince Philip's death, book claims

25 August 2021, 18:29 | Updated: 25 August 2021, 20:57

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made claims about the royal family in an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made claims about the royal family in an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Several members of the royal family were "quietly pleased" the Duchess of Sussex was unable to attend Prince Philip’s funeral as they feared she would “create a spectacle”, an unauthorised biography has claimed.

The duchess was absent from Philip’s funeral in April after doctors refused her clearance to fly when she was pregnant with her second child, Lilibet.

Now there are claims some of the royal family were pleased by her absence.

The paperback edition of Finding Freedom, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, said Meghan had hoped to return with Harry but added: "In truth, several members of the royal family are understood to have been 'quietly pleased' that Meghan stayed in California because they 'didn't want a circus' or, commented a senior royal source, 'the duchess creating a spectacle'."

Read more: Updated book on Harry and Meghan to be released featuring Prince Philip 'heartbreak'

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The novel Finding Freedom was announced months after the couple left the royal family in 2020. It is believed to be informed by sources close to the couple, as well as some contributions from the Duchess herself via third parties.

The paperback's new epilogue tells how Harry and Meghan had no regrets over quitting their royal roles and that Meghan had found her Oprah interview "liberating".

Just weeks before the death of Philip, aged 99, the Sussexes told Oprah Winfrey an unnamed royal made a racist remark about their son Archie's skin before he was born.

The couple told Winfrey that the unnamed royal had expressed concerns to Harry about "how dark" their child's skin would be while the duchess was expecting her first child.

They also claimed the institution failed to support a suicidal Meghan.

Finding Freedom, which is being republished in paperback on August 31, also suggested Harry and Meghan felt courtiers were still trying to undermine them by leaking information.

It said: "What has continued to be troubling for the couple, more than a year after their decision, is knowing that courtiers inside the institution are still appearing to actively undermine Harry and Meghan by deliberately leaking information to discredit them."

The book pointed to allegations, which appeared in The Times in March ahead of the Oprah interview, from royal aides claiming Meghan had faced a complaint she bullied staff, driving out two personal assistants and undermining the confidence of a third member.

Read more: Royal racism rift reignited between Harry and Meghan and the Queen

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The duchess denies the claims and Scobie and Durand said the "attempt to discredit" Meghan by those who used to be in the couple's inner circle "served as a reminder" to the Sussexes that they had made the right decision to leave.

Buckingham Palace refused to comment on the claims, and lawyers for Harry and Meghan have distanced themselves from the Finding Freedom book.

They said the authors "seem to rely on unnamed sources".

Buckingham Palace said the Queen was "saddened" over Harry and Meghan's struggles which were revealed in the Oprah interview. It added that "some recollections may vary" over the other allegations.