Welcome to this week’s edition of Royalist, The Daily Beast’s newsletter for all things royal and Royal Family. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox every Sunday.
Meghan, the “narcissistic sociopath”
Things got so bad between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their royal staff that they called her a “narcissistic sociopath.” They also reportedly said on repeated occasions: “We were played.”
The fresh revelations are contained in the second extract from the London Times royal correspondent Valentine Low’s new book, Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown, in today’s Sunday Times.
The group of former staff even came up with a name for themselves, the “Sussex Survivors’ Club”; their key members were private secretary Sam Cohen, communications chief Sara Latham, and assistant press secretary Marnie Gaffney.
In the first extract published Friday, Low detailed the alleged bullying of staff undertaken by Meghan (and Harry)—denied emphatically by them—which reportedly left their staff “broken” and “shaking with fear.”
Part of the problem of dealing with Meghan’s alleged bullying, according to one source, was the supposed gentility and civility of palace staff (which Meghan would likely contest too). “When someone decides not to be civil, they have no idea what to do. They were run over by her, and then run over by Harry,” a source told Low.
Meghan had a bad relationship with Edward Young, the then-queen’s private secretary, and Clive Alderton, Charles’ private secretary.
“As things started to go wrong,” a source told royal biographer Robert Lacey, “Meghan came to perceive Young as the inflexible, bureaucratic figure who summed up what was [wrong] with the BP [Buckingham Palace] mentality, and the feeling was mutual. Young really came to dislike Meghan’s style.” Harry would send them “horrible emails.”
Former staff tell Low they believe Meghan manipulated and constructed the narrative herself of being rejected by royals to suit the later narrative she would tell after she and Harry had quit their roles as senior royals—including then claim she had considered suicide and been universally ignored when she sought help.
These staff, write Low, “came to be so disillusioned that they began to suspect that even her most heartfelt pleas for help were part of a deliberate strategy that had one end in sight: her departure from the royal family. They believe she wanted to be able to say ‘Look how they failed to support me.’”
Cohen particularly said it was vital that staff recorded the “duty of care” they had offered Meghan. When the duchess reported her concerns to HR, the staff were clueless as to why—HR was for staff matters, not members of the family. Meghan going to HR was seen as her “laying a trail of evidence.”
“Everyone knew that the institution would be judged by her happiness,” one former staff member told Low. “The mistake they made was thinking that she wanted to be happy. She wanted to be rejected, because she was obsessed with that narrative from day one.”
As reported by The Daily Beast Friday, sources indicate that King Charles will permanently “exile” Prince Harry, the “ruthless” blueprint being the total casting out by the royals of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.
“Panicked” Harry makes memoir changes
Prince Harry is making changes to his memoir in following the queen’s death, worried some parts may now seem “insensitive,” according to the Sun on Sunday. The paper says Harry has already received $20 million (of a deal worth $38 million), and that while he has contacted his publisher, the book is already “signed off” and expected to be on sale by the end of the year.
A source told the paper: “The publishers paid $20 million up front because they knew whatever was written would be huge for sales and exposure all around the world. But the first draft they received was disappointing as it was a bit too emotional and focused far more on mental health issues than they wanted.
“Eventually, the final draft has been finished and signed off and a lot of money and energy has been spent to make sure it comes out this year. But Harry has thrown a spanner in the works as he is desperate to get it refined in the light of the queen’s death, her funeral and his father Charles taking the throne. There may be things which might not look so good if they come out so soon after the queen’s death and his dad becoming king. He wants sections changed. It’s not a total rewrite by any means. He desperately wants to make changes. But it might be too late.”
“Meghan, in this family we don’t speak to people like that”
The queen was “surprised” that Meghan Markle, a divorcee, chose to wear a pure white wedding dress, never “truly understood” Harry’s decision to leave the family and was concerned when he began revealing aspects of his personal life to the media that it would only drive demand for more such revelations, according to The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown, a new book by Vanity Fair’s royal author, Katie Nicholl.
Nicholl quotes one of the queen’s friends, her cousin the late Lady Elizabeth Anson, as saying: “I don’t think the queen ever truly understood Harry’s decision to leave… Turning one’s back on duty is completely alien to the queen and she has been very hurt by it all.”
The book is serialized in the Daily Mail.
Lady Elizabeth also told Nicholl that the queen had reservations about Harry opening up to the media in a 2017 podcast when he said he had been “shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years.”
Anson is quoted as saying: “When I said to the queen, ‘I think it’s no bad thing he’s opened up,’ she replied, “I’m afraid I can’t agree with you. [The media] will want to know more and more.’”
Anson also said that “the run-up to the wedding was really very difficult for the queen. She was very upset by how Harry had behaved and some of his demands and the way he went about things his own way. I remember her being rather upset by how beastly Harry was being. Their relationship was quite badly damaged by it all.”
A source told Nicholl: “The queen was surprised that Meghan wore pure white on her wedding day. Perhaps it’s a generational thing, but she believes if you’ve been married before, you wear off-white on your wedding day, which is what the Duchess of Cornwall did.”
Nicholl says that the queen urged Harry and Meghan to meet Meghan’s father, Thomas, citing a source as saying: “It was the queen’s feeling that Meghan should sort things out with her father and that Harry should have met Thomas before the wedding. She thought the whole thing could have been better handled.”
Meghan was also said to have been told off by the queen after she got “upset” with caterers presenting vegan dishes for her wedding.
Nicholl writes: “Meghan was at the castle to taste some of the dishes, and told one of the caterers she could taste egg. She got quite upset, saying that the dish was meant to be vegan and macrobiotic, when suddenly the queen walked in and said: ‘Meghan, in this family we don't speak to people like that.’”
Nicholl also says the queen told a “close friend” after the couple had left the family: “I don’t know, I don’t care, and I don’t want to think about it any more.”
Subscribe here to get all the latest royal news and gossip with Tom Sykes and Tim Teeman.
Will King Charles stop “meddling”?
The Sunday Times reports that Charles will embark on an apolitical series of events over the next year designed to convince his subjects he will no longer be a “meddling” figure. As Prince Charles he was given to writing to government ministers seeking to influence policy.
Charles hinted in his accession speech that this would change, saying, he would no longer be able “to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply” and would uphold “the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.”
A source said of him and his advisers: “They will be looking for ways to show he is no longer a campaigning prince, and he is someone who respects the constitutional parameters of being a monarch. They will be looking for ways to highlight his changed role in relation to government. That will definitely be high on the agenda.”
Another source said: “He went out of his way to get that message [of his impartiality] across, to reassure those who thought he might upset the apple cart with his interventions. I don’t think we will see anything that will scare the horses.”
Meghan’s dad hopes for reconciliation
Thomas Markle’s son has expressed his dad’s hope that the show of royal unity in the wake of the queen’s death might extend to Meghan’s family of origin.
Thomas Jr.—Meghan’s half-brother—told the Sunday Mirror: “We both watched clips of the queen’s funeral together. I was overcome with emotion at how every person spectating was honored to be there and respectful.”
Meghan’s father is struggling to speak after suffering a stroke earlier this year. Thomas Jr, 56, said, speaking directly to Meghan: “Dad treated you like a princess your entire life and deserves the respect. You didn’t call him for his heart attacks or stroke, but it’s never too late.”
He added: “I’d like to send this invitation for her to do the right thing and make amends with her father. But she also has to make amends with our sister Samantha and myself. Everyone makes mistakes—it’s never too late to do the right thing.”
King Charles has not decided whether to allow Harry and Meghan’s children, Archie and Lilibet, to use their new titles of prince and princess, thus—according to the Sunday Times—“heightening tensions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Harry and Meghan are understood to fear the king may strip Archie and Lilibet of their titles, after his reluctance immediately to recognize their elevated status after the queen’s death.”
Their parents can’t be HRH since quitting as senior royals, but their kids could be; right now, they are still listed on the royal family’s official website as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor and Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.
The Times said Charles had asked Harry what he wanted for his kids in a “brief discussion” after the queen’s death.
“Harry is understood to have expressed his desire to let his children decide when they are older, and to have emphasized that would only be possible if they were allowed to retain their titles now,” the Times says. “The conversation is understood to have ended unresolved, and to have left the Sussexes dismayed.”
Andrew and Fergie “safe for now” in home
Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson are not in imminent danger of being asked to leave their home, Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, but could eventually be given the boot by King Charles, a report claimed this week.
The report in the Sun said that while the couple—who are able to happily co-exist in the same house despite being divorced, not hard given it has a reputed 31 bedrooms—still fear they will be asked to move somewhere more modest, they are “safe for now.” Fergie recently spent £5 million ($5.4 million) on a house in Mayfair, and the Sun says they have still not completed the sale of their Verbier chalet despite having accepted an offer a year ago.
An insider told the Sun: “They are no longer under the protection of the queen, but it would seem callous to throw them out so soon after she died. But if he’s doing no duties and rattling around a £30 million ($32.6 million) mansion during the cost-of-living crisis, then it’s a terrible look.” Andrew might get as much as £7 million ($8 million) compensation if ordered to leave—which is hardly a great look either.
Counselors of state: who’s in, who’s out
King Charles might not like to think about it, but the truth is, at 74, he is no spring chicken. So there was considerable consternation when it was revealed earlier this week that his counselors of state—the four individuals who can stand in for him in event of sickness or incapacity—included Prince Harry and Prince Andrew. The Daily Beast was told by a palace source that this was not a deliberate attempt to include Andrew, rather a consequence of the way the law was framed in 1937 to nominate the four adults next in line for the throne.
Now, the Sunday Telegraph reports, the king wants the law amended so that counselors are “working royals.” Kate Middleton, Prince Edward and Princess Anne are likely to be elevated to the role, with Beatrice, Harry and Andrew likely to be given the boot.
This week in royal history
The words are taking some time to get used to, but “God Save the King” is long in lineage. It was first sung on September 28, 1745, at the Drury Lane Theatre in London. As the royal family’s website explains: “In September 1745 Prince Charles Edward Stuart, defeated the army of King George II at Prestonpans, near Edinburgh. In a fit of patriotic fervor after news of Prestonpans had reached London, the leader of the band at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, arranged ‘God Save The King’ for performance after a play. It was a tremendous success and was repeated nightly. This practice soon spread to other theaters, and the custom of greeting monarchs with the song as he or she entered a place of public entertainment was thus established.”
Will Harry soften the memoir? Will Meghan respond to fresh allegations of bullying? Will Archie and Lilibet become HRH (unlike their parents)?
Love The Daily Beast’s royal coverage? Sign up here to get Royalist newsletters sent straight to your inbox.
@copyright 2022 The Daily Beast Company LLC I 555 W. 18th Street, New York NY, 10011
If you are on a mobile device or cannot view the images in this message, click here to view this email in your browser. To ensure delivery of these emails, please add email@example.com to your address book. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, or think you have received this message in error, you can safely unsubscribe.