Meghan Markle 'Hated' Tour That Harry Said Made the Royals Jealous of Her

Meghan Markle "hated" the royal tour which Prince Harry said was the royal family's first opportunity to see "how incredible" she was, according to Tina Brown.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took the world by storm during a showstopping tour of Australia and the South Pacific in 2018.

The couple announced Meghan was pregnant with their first child and U.K. tabloid The Sun nicknamed her the "Duchess of Success" across a double page spread.

However, Meghan "hated every second" of the visit and was more interested in backing specific causes than meeting ordinary Australians who counted Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state, according to Brown's biography The Palace Papers.

Brown wrote: "She apparently hated every second of it. She found the itinerary of engagements 'pointless,' a former palace employee told me."

The ex-staffer is quoted in the book saying: "She didn't understand why things were set up in that way. Instead of being excited when thousands of people showed up at the [Sydney] Opera House, it was very much like, 'What's the purpose? I don't understand this.'"

Brown added: "The 'this' being the representational role of the British monarchy and its traditional agenda, rather than the focus on causes she wanted to spotlight. Such engagements are old school, yes, but create classic royal ties that bind."

The account is significant because the tour is part of the turning point when royal relations inside Kensington Palace disintegrated at the end of 2018, with two competing narratives emerging from the Sussex and palace camps.

Meghan Markle During Tour of New Zealand
Meghan Markle, seen at the National War Memorial, in Wellington, New Zealand, during a famous tour of Australia and the South Pacific, on October 28, 2018. Tina Brown suggested Meghan interpreted the success of the visit as a reason to move up in the royal hierarchy. Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Narrative

Harry told Oprah Winfrey in March 2021: "My father, my brother, Kate and all the rest of the family, they were really welcoming. But it really changed after the Australia tour, after our South Pacific tour."

Meghan appeared to link the pivotal moment to their pregnancy announcement after she had already accused an unnamed royal of making racist remarks about her unborn child.

She said: "That's when we announced we were pregnant with Archie. That was our first tour."

Harry added: "But it was also the first time that the family got to see how incredible she is at the job. And that brought back memories."

Oprah noted how The Crown depicted Prince Charles being jealous of Princess Diana during a tour of Australia and asked Harry whether that was what he was referring to.

The prince replied: "Look, I just wish that we would all learn from the past."

The Palace Perspective on Harry and Meghan's Tour

The palace perspective is very different, however, with the tour forming part of the account of ex-staffers who accused Meghan of bullying.

Robert Lacey's biography, Battle of Brothers, suggested one aide was reduced to tears during the trip, as witnessed by royal reporters at the time. Meghan has strongly denied bullying her staff.

And it was at the end of the tour that U.K. newspaper The Times reported then Kensington Palace communications secretary Jason Knauf accused Meghan in a private email to a superior of bullying two PAs out of the household in October 2018.

A month later stories began emerging in the U.K. media accusing the duchess of bad behaviour and by December The Sunday Times ran a story with a now famous headline describing her as "Duchess Difficult" on the basis staff found her a challenging boss.

That January, Meghan told Harry for the first time that she was experiencing suicidal thoughts while pregnant, against the backdrop of negative media attention.

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Meghan's Australia Tour Compared to Princess Diana's

Brown, however, appears to fit at the very least in between the two accounts if not a little closer to the palace perspective.

Specifically, she suggests that Diana, while feeling there was jealousy within the royal family, came back from Australia a changed woman, quoting the princess's famous interview with BBC's Panorama in which she said: "When we flew back from New Zealand, I was a different person. I realised the sense of duty, the level of intensity of interest, and the demanding role I now found myself in."

Brown added: "For Diana that was an almost sacred feeling. Meghan appeared to draw a different conclusion from her first tour: that the monarchy likely needed her more than she needed them.

"She had starred in the equivalent of a blockbuster film and wanted her leading-lady status to be reflected in lights."

She also describes how Harry and Meghan's tour was more successful than one by Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Brown wrote: "Meghan seemed to interpret the success as a call for Brand Sussex to be elevated in the Palace hierarchy.

"Her aggrieved mood mirrored Harry's. He fulminated over the customary presence of the royal press pack, even though the copy they filed was overwhelmingly complimentary."

Meghan Speaks By Queen Painting
Meghan Markle speaks in front of a painting of Queen Elizabeth II during a reception at Government House, in Wellington, New Zealand, on October 28, 2018. Harry told Oprah Winfrey the tour of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific was a turning point. Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage