Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Get Apology From Tabloid Over Queen Criticism

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have received an apology from a British newspaper over unfounded claims they had personally criticized Queen Elizabeth II's "handling of their allegations of racism."

The biography Finding Freedom used quotes from a "close source" who said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were "not surprised" that "little accountability" had been taken by the royal family over the claims made in their Oprah Winfrey interview, which aired in March.

However, when an article about these quotes appeared on the Daily Express website, it suggested the comments had come from Meghan and Harry themselves.

An apology published online on Tuesday read: "We recently reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had criticised the Queen's handling of their allegations of racism.

"The allegation of criticism reported in the book 'Finding Freedom' did not come from the Duke and Duchess.

"The authors of 'Finding Freedom' do not speak on behalf of the Duke and Duchess.

"We are happy to set out the correct position and we apologise to the Duke and Duchess."

Omid Scobie, co-author of Finding Freedom, told Newsweek: "The book never claimed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex criticized the queen, so I'm glad to see outlets being held accountable for twisting the reporting."

During the Oprah interview, Meghan said a royal had expressed concern about how dark her unborn baby's skin might be. She did not reveal the name of the individual, but the couple later ruled out the queen and her husband, Prince Philip.

The queen's public response to the interview expressed sympathy and added that "some recollections may vary."

In an updated paperback edition of their biography, released in the summer, Scobie and his co-author Carolyn Durand wrote: "Those three words, 'recollections may vary,' did not go unnoticed by the couple, who a close source said were 'not surprised' that full ownership was not taken."

The book also quoted "a pal of Meghan's" who said: "Months later and little accountability has been taken. How can you move forward without that?"

Oprah With Meghan and Harry
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for a CBS Prime Time Special that was broadcast on March 7 in America. A friend of Meghan's told the authors of Finding Freedom full accountability had not been taken by the royal family. Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions

Meghan told Oprah: "In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of 'he won't be given security, he's not going to be given a title' and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born."

The newspaper's admission of fault is the latest win for the couple in a long line of scraps with the media.

Meghan won a resounding victory over the Mail on Sunday after suing for privacy and copyright infringement over a letter she had sent her father the summer after her wedding.

In it, she begged him to stop talking to the media months after he was caught staging pictures for money with the paparazzi.

The newspaper has lodged an appeal, which is due to be heard in London in November.

The new edition of Finding Freedom also revealed that Meghan and Harry were photographed by the paparazzi attending an appointment related to her miscarriage in July 2020.

The book read: "What should have been a deeply personal moment quickly became the top story on the Daily Mail Online, with a dozen photos of the masked couple getting into a Cadillac SUV."

Following the Oprah interview, a statement from the queen read: "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

Update 9/15/21, 6:30 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add a comment from Omid Scobie.

Harry and Meghan Biography Finding Freedom
Copies of 'Finding Freedom' are stacked up in Waterstones Piccadilly on August 11, 2020 in London, England. The Daily Express apologised for attributing quotes from sources or friends to Meghan and Harry themselves. Chris Jackson/Getty Images