The Queen extended an olive branch to Prince Harry before he left the U.K. in March, an extract of Finding Freedom has revealed.
On March 1, the Queen invited Prince Harry to a one-on-one lunch at Windsor Castle. At the time, the meeting generated headlines, and it was reported that the monarch had told her grandson that he and Duchess Meghan "will be welcomed back if they ever decide to rejoin the royals."
But now, we've learned a more detailed account of the meeting - and its sad yet touching specifics - as told in the first series of extracts from Finding Freedom.
Finding Freedom extract describes Queen and Prince Harry's lunch
Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand's Finding Freedom related an inside source's version of Harry and the Queen's March 1 lunch. The Sunday Times preview of the book paints the lunch as an informal and heartfelt discussion between the grandmother and her grandson. So much so that Queen reportedly proposed that it proceed as a "no titles" lunch, which a source described as just "granny and grandson."
"Sitting at the Queen's dining room in her Windsor Castle apartment, it was just like the old days," the Times extract reads. "While [Harry] had lost respect for parts of the institution, and even certain family members at points, the Queen was still one of the most important women in his life.
"As they tucked into a roast lunch, the Queen made it clear to Harry that she would always support him in whatever he decided to do.
"Though a 12-month trial period had already been promised to Harry earlier in the year, their conversation was also a reminder that should he and Meghan ever want to return to their roles, they were always welcome," Finding Freedom says.
Finding Freedom delivers on inside details in first extracts
The moving account of the Queen and Prince Harry's lunch was, however, one of few uplifting moments in Finding Freedom's first series of extracts. On the whole, it portrayed Harry and Meghan's Sussex experience as a distressing time of unrelenting tabloids, heartbreaking family conflict, and spiteful Palace relations.
On July 25, the first day of the Times extracts, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a statement through a spokesman refuting any involvement with the biography. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom," the statement read. "This book is based on the authors' own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting."
Nonetheless, the book is already shaping up to be a must-read for royal fans. The HarperCollins biography, fully titled Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, promises to deliver the "true story of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's life together." It hits shelves on Aug. 11.