Meghan Markle learned early on that a relationship with a royal came with newfound attention. But she didn't expect to be "blamed" for media scrutiny and fashion choices, says a new extract from Finding Freedom.
Today, People magazine exclusively released new sections of Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand's highly-anticipated biography of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan. One extract centres on the aftermath of Meghan wearing a necklace containing a sign of her love for Prince Harry in 2016. Here's how Kensington Palace handled Meghan's jewelry and her approach to the paparazzi.
Meghan Markle targeted by Palace aides over "H-M" necklace
In December 2016, Meghan was photographed wearing a gold necklace that subtly contained hers and Harry's initials. At the time, she and Harry were rumoured to have been dating for a few months, and had only confirmed their relationship the month prior.
Shortly after this occurrence, Finding Freedom says, Meghan was contacted by Kensington Palace aides, who informed her that her conduct was unacceptable. "She was advised that wearing such a necklace only served to encourage the photographers to keep pursuing such images — and new headlines," authors Scobie and Durand write, as previewed by People.
Meghan Markle was left "frustrated and emotional" by the call
In 2016, Meghan's personalized jewelry made headlines for its sweet confirmation of her and Harry's love. However, as Finding Freedom's source indicates, pre-royal Meghan felt "damned if she did and damned if she didn't." She was scolded both for wearing the necklace and for smiling for the cameras.
The new excerpt reads: Meghan "said little during the call, choosing instead to simply listen to the counsel. But after hanging up, she felt frustrated and emotional. While she knew the aide had good intentions, the surreal experience of having someone from her boyfriend's office tell her what kind of jewelry to wear or not to smile at a photographer was too much."
In retrospect, this early clash with Palace officials was a sign of what was to come. In her court battle with the Mail on Sunday, Meghan has made statements that reveal she felt "unprotected" by the royal institution, which also actively prevented her from speaking out against press attacks and misinformation.
Harry and Meghan released a statement confirming that they had no involvement with the writing of Finding Freedom. At the same time, and as this new extract shows, sources close to the couple are said to have quoted the Duke and Duchess's words for the book's authors.