Who could expect that it would be Meghan Markle’s Prince Harry necklace causing trouble with royals, of all the things? Considering everything that the Duchess of Sussex, 38, has been accused of when it comes to ruffling the wrong feathers, this strange transgression wouldn’t be the first to come to mind. But according to a forthcoming royal biography, Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family by Harper’s Bazaar royal expert, Omid Scobie, and Buckingham Palace correspondent, Carolyn Durand, the situation was bad enough to make Meghan feel “distraught.”
It seems Meghan’s British media feud has never had a chance to die down, and that’s as true now as it was even before her wedding to Prince Harry, 35, in September 2018. According to Finding Freedom, the Duchess was reprimanded by palace aides for unknowingly stoking the attention of U.K. tabloid paparazzi photographers, all because she wore a certain necklace. As for the necklace in question: It was a delicate 14-carat gold chain, bearing barely perceptible charms reading “H” and “M” on it to represent her and Harry. Seemingly something as simple as initials on a necklace was enough to draw the ire of the royal palace.
“She was advised that wearing such a necklace only served to encourage the photographers to keep pursuing such images — and new headlines,” Scobie and Durand write in their book. According to the authors, Meghan was eventually phoned by a senior Kensington Palace aide after photos of her wearing the necklace were published in tabloids. Meghan reportedly “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.”
The Duchess was apparently “distraught” by the whole exchange. “I can’t win,” she reportedly told a friend over a phone call. “They make out like I’m to blame for these pictures, that it looks like I’m encouraging them, that me even acknowledging the cameras may not be sending the right message. I don’t know what to say. It was only yesterday that people online were saying I look miserable in pictures, because I was trying to just ignore the [photographer].”
Meghan was in a bit of a bind, then, not knowing how to navigate an entirely confusing situation. Fast-forward to present-day, Meghan and Harry continue to battle paparazzi in their new home of Los Angeles—and it seems there’s still no winning. Following their final royal exit in April 2020, the couple faces new invasions of privacy when it comes to photographers sneaking photos of their son, 1-year-old baby Archie. At least here’s hoping that Finding Freedom will tell a version of their story that isn’t quite as difficult to maneuver.
According to a spokesperson for Meghan and Harry, however, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.”
Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family is out August 11, 2020, and is available for pre-order now.
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