The first excerpt of the highly anticipated “Finding Freedom,” a tell-all about Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, was published by The Times of London Saturday. The publication bills the book as laying “bare the bitterness and the infighting that Harry and Meghan feel drove them to quit the royal family.”
The book will capture “the real Harry and Meghan” and “finally present the truth of misreported stories” or so its authors, Harper’s Bazaar royal editor Omid Scobie and Elle magazine royal correspondent Carolyn Durand, claim. Publisher HarperCollins U.K. said the authors were given “unique access” and the cooperation of those closest to the couple.
When the book was announced in May, it appeared to be the first book in which the couple had cooperated with the intention of refuting their critics. But a representative for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex claimed otherwise more than two months later.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to ‘Finding Freedom,'” the Sussex media team in Los Angeles told USA TODAY Friday. “This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.”
The book hasn’t been endorsed by the couple and they never said they were involved in the first place. And the book’s authors are backing the claim.
“The book doesn’t claim to have any interviews with Harry and Meghan,” Scobie told the Times. “And nor do we.”
Nevertheless, the first excerpt exposes insider details about the couple’s struggles while still involved with the royal family including that Harry felt “unprotected” by his family.
It also underscored the hurt feelings caused by the decision of Harry and Meghan to go into self-imposed exile. Scobie and Durand highlight one moment in during Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in March where the two brothers and their wives barely spoke despite not having seen each other since January.
“Although Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate, the duchess barely acknowledged her,” the excerpt said.
The service marked a low point after months of palace intrigue that worsened when the couple surprised the Royal Household in January by making public their plans to be more independent. It capped frustration on the part of the Sussexes, who are portrayed by the authors as seeking more control after being shut out by the machinations of other actors in the Royal Household despite their public popularity.
“As their popularity had grown, so did Harry and Meghan’s difficulty in understanding why so few inside the palace were looking out for their interests,″ the excerpt said. “They were a major draw for the royal family.”
Scobie and Durand suggest that some palace officials were actually troubled by the Sussexes’ popularity and there were fears that more senior royals would be overshadowed. Harry is 6th in the line for the throne, behind his father, Prince Charles, his brother William, and William’s three young children, George, Charlotte and Louis.
“The Sussexes had made the monarchy more relatable to those who had never before felt a connection,″ they wrote. “However, there were concerns that the couple should be brought into the fold; otherwise the establishment feared their popularity might eclipse that of the royal family.″
The couple’s plan to be part-time royals fell apart during talks with the family, and in January the queen outlined how the couple in March would step away from royal duties, at least for a while, but always remain part of the royal family.
Much of the information included in the excerpt comes from “sources,” leaving some to doubt that Meghan and Harry weren’t involved.
Phil Dampier, a royal correspondent who has also written a book on the couple, took to Twitter to comment on the book.
“#harryandmeghan say they didn’t contribute to this book. But presumably if they don’t complain about any of the content – and they do like complaining – we can assume they are happy with it?” he asked in a Tweet, sparking debate on whether the couple did or did not contribute in the replies.
“Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family” will be available in Britain and the Commonwealth on Aug. 11. The book will be published in the U.S. the same day by HarperCollins-owned Dey Street Books.
It won’t be the first book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – at least a dozen have been published, many by British royal reporters.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Finding Freedom’: Meghan, Harry ‘did not contribute,’ Sussex says