How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Biography Compares to Press Reports

Meghan Markle claims "hundreds of thousands of inaccurate articles" were written about her but a new biography aims to set the record straight.

Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand claim in publicity material that their book Finding Freedom is about "dispelling the many rumors and misconceptions."

Meghan's lawyers recently said in her Mail on Sunday court case: "From the time of her engagement to Prince Harry, [Meghan] has not complained to media publications despite them publishing hundreds of thousands of inaccurate articles about her."

The book's authors revisit some of the big stories published in U.K. newspapers about the couple and present the other side of the story.

Here, we look at both accounts side by side to see how they compare.

Tiara-gate

The Claim:

The Sun reported Queen Elizabeth II had to "warn" Prince Harry over Meghan's behavior in the run up to the May 2018 wedding after an argument over which tiara she would wear.

A source told the newspaper: "Meghan had her heart set on this tiara with emeralds and Prince Harry hit the roof when they were told it was impossible for her to wear it.

"The provenance of the tiara could not be established. There were concerns it could have come from Russia originally. There was a very heated exchange that prompted the Queen to speak to Harry.

"She said, 'Meghan cannot have whatever she wants. She gets what tiara she's given by me.'"

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, New Zealand
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Abel Tasman National Park in Wellington, New Zealand, on October 29, 2018. Samir Hussein/Getty

The rebuttal:

Finding Freedom says the argument was actually between Prince Harry and Angela Kelly, the Queen's dresser, over Meghan's attempts to bring her hairstylist Serge Normant from New York to see her try the tiara on.

The book describes how Kelly did not respond to repeated requests to book a time when they could see the headpiece, prompting Harry to confront her.

The authors write: "What followed between the prince and Angela was a heated exchange that was far from the typical restraint expected.

"According to a source, Harry had no problem confronting the issue head on. 'He was fed up,' said the aide."

They add: "In the end, Harry had to speak to his grandmother about the situation."

Tears at a Bridesmaid Dress Fitting

The claim:

The Daily Telegraph reported that Kate Middleton was "left in tears following a bridesmaids' dress fitting for Princess Charlotte" in November 2018.

An insider told the newspaper: "Kate had only just given birth to Prince Louis and was feeling quite emotional."

The story then appeared on The Sun's front page and more recently a Tatler profile of Kate suggested there was an argument about whether the bridesmaids should wear tights.

The rebuttal:

Finding Freedom quotes a trusted confidant of Meghan who says the story "was ridiculous and so false."

A source who was at the fitting told the authors: "Some of the children weren't cooperating, and there was a lot going on.

"Everyone tried to help where they could, but it's never easy with kids at fittings. There were no tears from anyone. And in the end, the fitting was fine.

"Kate and Meghan were both a little stressed but professionals in the room, and there were other people there."

The Smell of St George's Chapel

The claim:

The Daily Mail claimed Meghan asked staff to spray her wedding venue, the 15th century St. George's Chapel, with air freshener before the ceremony.

However, the newspaper said she was told it had been a regular place of worship for successive monarchs since 1475 "and if it was good enough for them, it would be good enough for her."

A source was quoted as saying: "Meghan wanted staff to go around with these atomisers, like spritzer guns, and spray the chapel with scent before anyone arrived.

"Royal Household staff stepped in and told her office politely, but firmly, that this was the Queen's Chapel and it simply wasn't appropriate."

The rebuttal:

Finding Freedom reads: "One story had her demanding spray-bottle air fresheners for her wedding day to spritz around 'musty' St. George's Chapel (the Queen's regular place of worship, which contains the Royal Vault), horrifying Buckingham Palace officials.

"The truth was that the discreet Baies scented air diffusers for the chapel provided by Diptyque—much like the candles from the same brand that Kate chose to scent Westminster Abbey for her 2011 nuptials—had been okayed by all parties involved."

Finding Freedom, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Copies of Finding Freedom in Waterstones Piccadilly, in Londong, on August 11, 2020. Chris Jackson/Getty

Meghan's PA

The Claim:

The Daily Mirror reported Meghan's celebrity PA Melissa Toubati had left Kensington Palace just six months after the royal wedding due to the pressure of the job.

A source told the newspaper: "Her [Toubati's] job was highly ­pressurized and in the end it became too much. She put up with quite a lot. Meghan put a lot of demands on her and it ended up with her in tears.

"She is hugely talented and played a pivotal role in the success of the royal wedding. She'll be missed by everyone in the household."

The rebuttal:

Finding Freedom states: "Despite the glowing press accounts, the couple had grown dissatisfied with Melissa's work and were not disappointed when she left.

"Meghan wondered if someone at Kensington Palace, where Melissa had some good friends, was more interested in protecting one of their own than her."

Co-author Omid Scobie added in an interview: "It turns out that personal assistant was actually very unpopular with the couple through much of the things she'd done over the months before leaving."

Private Jets

The claim:

Criticism of Prince Harry's plane travels began near the beginning of August 2019 when he flew by private jet to that summer's Google conference to talk about climate change.

News stories across the British press point to the increased carbon footprint compared to taking a commercial flight.

By the end of the month, the couple were accused of taking four private jets in 11 days including for holidays in Ibiza, Spain, and at the home of singer Elton John in Nice, France.

The response:

After the stories ran, Elton John issued a strongly worded public statement denouncing the coverage.

He said: "I'm calling on the press to cease these relentless and untrue assassinations on their character that are spuriously crafted on an almost daily basis."

However, he also said the couple did fly out on his private jet.

Finding Freedom does not dispute the accuracy of the press coverage and says, "Harry regretted not heading the advice" of his head of communications.

Sara Latham had warned of a "potential media storm" over his use of private jets.

The authors add: "The earnest prince was the first one to admit when he made a mistake."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Melbourne
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend an event on South Melbourne beach on October 18, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. James D. Morgan/Getty

Royal Exit

The claim:

Prince Harry and Meghan announced they were stepping back from royal duties in January and uploaded details of their departure plans to their Sussex Royal website.

The move led palace insiders to brief the media that the couple had not told other members of the family in advance and the queen herself did not know.

The Daily Mirror ran the headline "They Didn't Even Tell The Queen," while the BBC reported the family were "hurt" and Buckingham Palace felt blindsided.

In court filings for her privacy and copyright case against the Mail on Sunday, Meghan's lawyers said "the decision to step away from official duties" had "been discussed in advance with both Her Majesty The Queen and the Prince of Wales (contrary to what has been falsely claimed by the [newspaper's publisher] in its reporting)."

The response:

Finding Freedom says the queen and Prince Philip were "devastated" by the way the Duke and Duchess of Sussex published their plans online without telling them.

A source told the authors: "The family is very private and bringing it into the public domain, when they were told not to, hurt the Queen.

"It was laying out what the Sussexes wanted in a statement without consulting with Her Majesty first—and she's the head of the institution."