Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family wasn’t written by the couple themselves. In fact, they had no part in the revealing book that went for sale in August 2020. Authors and former royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand conducted 100 interviews, including with close friends of the couple and palace aides, compiling details of one of the most famously private couples of the 21st century. If Harry and Meghan had written the book themselves, it would have read quite differently. Here’s what was revealed in the book about their lives.
They Didn’t Kiss On Their First Date
A source revealed details about Harry and Meghan’s first date, which made it into the book. The Brit and the American were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. Meghan flew to London and met Harry for dinner at Soho House’s Dean Street Townhouse.
Reportedly, they talked over drinks for three hours. When they said their goodbyes, there was no kiss. However, they decided to meet again, the very next night at the same location. This time, the future couple snuck in through the staff entrance and enjoyed a more private second date.
Harry Had A Secret Instagram Account
The authors of Finding Freedom also did a little digging to discover Prince Harry’s secret Instagram account. Since senior royals are forbidden to have their own social media accounts, Harry created on in secret, under the name @SpikeyMau5 – ‘Spike’ being his nickname and ‘Mau5’ in reference to the Prince’s favorite DJ, Deadmau5.
His profile photo featured a helmet that was in the shape of a mouse. Meghan began following the secret account within a couple of weeks of their first date.
Kate Didn’t Welcome Meghan Right Away
Many tabloids speculate that behind closed doors, Meghan and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge might not get along. Revealed in Finding Freedom, Kate doesn’t make new friends easily and had her guard up when she met Meghan for the first time at Prince William and Kate’s Kensington Palace home.
When Meghan entered the picture, it took Kate a while to warm up to her. The book describes Kate as an “extremely guarded person” who doesn’t make new friends often. Kate began warming up to Meghan after she gifted her a soft leather Smythson notebook for Kate’s birthday.
They Said “I Love You” Three Months In
Prince Harry and Meghan occasionally offer bits of their private life, but not as generously as the book on their lives has. Finding Freedom reveals that after three months of dating, the couple exchanged “I love you’s”.
Their transatlantic relationship had them traveling back and forth from Toronto to London. And during one visit Prince Harry told Meghan, “I love you” for the first time, to which she replied, “I love you too.”
Meghan Had Planned On Attending Pippa Middleton’s Wedding
Another big reveal in Finding Freedom is that Meghan had planned on attending Kate Middleton’s younger sister’s wedding in 2017. An inside source revealed that Meghan had selected a dress and Philip Treacy hat for Pippa Middleton’s wedding and was set to appear as Harry’s date.
However, at the last minute, an offensive story comparing Meghan and Pippa’s body types was scorched across the headlines of the British tabloids. Feeling defeated, Meghan decided it was best not to attend the wedding after all.
Meghan Wore A Necklace With Their Initials
Excited about her new relationship, while they were dating, Meghan fashioned a necklace with an “H” and an “M”. The necklace, designed by Ani + Wren, featured a 14-carat gold chain. Of course, when photographers spotted the necklace, it only fueled the fire of the public’s interest.
Finding Freedom reveals, “She was advised that wearing such a necklace only served to encourage the photographers to keep pursuing such images- and new headlines.” It was only the beginning of pressure Meghan began feeling, dating a member of the British royal family.
Harry Released His Statement About Meghan Without Warning
Once they began dating, Prince Harry grew extremely concerned about the negative attention and harassment that Meghan was receiving from the press. In reaction to her distress, Harry quickly put together a statement criticizing the British tabloids and prepared for its urgent release.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles was in Bahrain for an official trip. Finding Freedom revealed that Charles only heard of his son Harry’s intention of releasing the rare, bold statement 20 minutes before it was released to the world.
Harry Knew She Was The One Right Away
A source told the authors of Finding Freedom that Harry was smitten with Meghan from the get-go. Although he didn’t know anything about her before their first date, by the second date, he knew she was the one.
“Almost immediately they were almost obsessed with each other. It was as if Harry was in a trance,” said one friend. They also revealed that by the second date, “Harry knew they would be together at that point. She was ticking every box.”
Prince Harry Was Upset By His Brother’s Words
More tea was spilled on Prince Harry and Prince William’s discussions when Harry first began dating Meghan. According to a source close to the royal family, Prince William advised his younger brother, “Don’t feel like you need to rush this. Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.”
Very much in love, Harry took offensive to his brother dismissing Meghan as “this girl” as he was ready to fully commit to the relationship, even if it was early on.
The Brothers Had A Spat Over How Serious Harry Was
After Prince William referred to Meghan as “this girl” it took a while for Harry to cool off. As revealed in Finding Freedom, “Harry was pissed off that his brother would ask such a thing.”
They continued, “Some felt it was an overreaction. But then, this totally sums them up as people– William the calm and rational one, and Harry, who can’t help but take things far too personally.” From the get-go, Harry made it his mission to protect Meghan and come to her defensive no matter what.
Princess Eugenie Wasn’t Pleased When Meghan And Harry Stole Her Spotlight
It’s common courtesy to let the bride and groom be the stars on their wedding day, but Harry and Meghan stole the spotlight from Princess Eugenie. When Harry’s cousin Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank, Harry thought it would be a good time to announce their pregnancy, seeing as the family was already gathered together.
According to Finding Freedom, however, “It did not go down particularly well with Eugenie, who, a source said, told friends she felt the couple should have waited to share the news.”
Meghan’s Shirt Held The Secret
Traditionally, it’s an engagement ring that symbolizes a couple’s intention of getting married. However, with Harry being a senior member of the royal family at the time, his engagement to Meghan had to fall in accordance with a proper timeline and official announcement, consistent with Buckingham Palace.
So although Harry and Meghan were engaged in September 2017, Meghan couldn’t yet wear a ring. Instead, she playfully hinted that Harry was her future husband-to-be with the shirt she wore to the Invictus Games. The button-down shirt designed by her friend Misha Nonoo is named the “Husband Shirt”… but no one caught on!
The Family’s First Night Nurse Was Fired Immediately
British tabloids published a frenzy of articles describing Meghan’s difficulty finding the right nanny– and part of that is true. According to Finding Freedom, Meghan and Prince Harry hired a night nurse to assist with Archie, and fired her on her second day of the job.
The book reveals that the nurse was fired for “being unprofessional and irresponsible”. The second nurse was promptly let go as well, as the new parents decided that it was best if they took on the night shift themselves.
Meghan Considered A Home Birth For Archie
Living in London and anticipating the arrival of their first-born son, Meghan and Harry discussed their options for his birth. According to Finding Freedom, initially, Meghan considered giving birth to Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at their home. However, as her May 2019 due date neared, Meghan “was more and more nervous. All she cared about was having the baby in the safest way possible.”
The expecting couple chose American-owned Portland Hospital, located in an upscale building in London’s Westminster neighborhood. The place of birth was unknown until weeks later when his birth certificate became available.
They Knew They Were Expecting A Son
Traditionally, members of the British royal family don’t reveal the gender of their baby until their birth and first public showing. Meghan and Harry (sort of) followed this tradition.
According to Finding Freedom, the couple knew long in advance what their baby’s gender was, and selected his name early on. According to a source, whispers of the baby’s gender were passed around at their baby shower, but the couple held off on revealing Archie’s name until two days after his birth, when they were able to tell Queen Elizabeth first.
They Were Secretly Engaged By September 2017
This is perhaps one of the biggest reveals in Finding Freedom. In September 2017, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their first public debut as a couple, attending the Invictus Games in Meghan’s city of Toronto.
At this point, the couple had been dating for a year but most believed the transatlantic couple were still getting to know one another. Little did the world know, but Harry and Meghan were already secretly engaged!
Who Was Really Behind The Tiara Conflict
After Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding day, tabloids began circulating rumors that the Queen had denied Meghan’s tiara preference for the big day. This led to speculation that the Queen wasn’t pleased that Meghan had joined the royal family. However, as revealed in Finding Freedom, this wasn’t the case.
In reality, tensions rose between Prince Harry and the Queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly. According to a source close to the royal family, Harry felt that Kelly wasn’t paying proper attention to Meghan’s hair trial for her wedding, taking a long time to provide the bride-to-be with her chosen tiara. The Queen never had an issue with the tiara Meghan selected and ended up wearing on her wedding day.
The Book Revealed The Song Played During Their First Dance
The world watched as Prince Harry and Meghan said “I do” in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018. But their evening wedding reception that followed was held privately. Finding Freedom revealed some of the details of the reception, including the couple’s wedding song.
For their first song as a married couple, Prince Harry and Meghan chose. “I’m in Love” written by Bobby Womack and recorded by Wilson Pickett. Other songs played that night included hits from Stevie Wonder and “My Girl” by The Temptations.
Meghan Was Nervous About Meeting William
It’s understandable that anyone would be nervous to meet Prince William– after all, he’s the future King! After making plans to meet her new beau’s older brother for the first time, Meghan confessed to a friend that she was preparing to be “grilled” with questions.
William, on the other hand, said that he was “looking forward to meeting the girl who has put that silly grin on my brother’s face.” William certainly didn’t want to get in the way of his brother’s happiness.
They Rescued A Black Labrador Named Pula
After Prince Harry and Meghan were married, before they welcomed their son Archie, the couple adopted a black Labrador. While the Queen is known for her love of Corgis (Monty, Emma, Linnet, Willow and Holly, to name just a few) Harry and Meghan elected to keep their dog’s name private.
While tabloids guessed the name of the dog, the couple joked “people keep getting her name wrong.” However, her name was revealed in the book: Pula, meaning “rain” in Setswana. In that part of South Africa, rain is rare, and considered a great blessing.