Prince Harry may have proposed to Meghan Markle three months before their official announcement, a bombshell biography detailing the Sussexes’ dramatic departure from royal life has revealed.
According to Finding Freedom, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ‘became secretly engaged in August 2017’.
That same month, the pair took a trip to Botswana where they are said to have celebrated both Meghan’s 36th birthday and their first year as a couple.
During their engagement interview in November 2017, Prince Harry said he popped the question ‘earlier this month’ while the couple were ‘roasting chicken’ on a ‘cosy night’.
In the biography, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, a source says Prince William tried to ‘make sure that Harry wasn’t blindsided by lust’ in his relationship with Meghan shortly before they got engaged that August.
According to the book, which is being serialised by The Times and The Sunday Times, Harry took offence when William told him: ‘Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.’
Harry is said to have considered the choice of the words ‘this girl’ to be condescending.
In other explosive revelations revealed in the excerpts:
- Prince Harry was ‘p****d off’ with ‘snob’ William as he was warned to take things slow with ‘this girl’ Meghan;
- William questioned Meghan’s intentions and feared that Duke of Sussex was being ‘blindsided by lust’;
- Palace insiders referred to Meghan as ‘Harry’s showgirl’ and said US actress came with a ‘lot of baggage’;
- High-ranking palace courtier was overheard telling colleague: ‘There’s something about this girl I don’t trust’;
- Two couples hardly spoke at March Commonwealth service despite not having seen each other since January;
- The Sussexes felt their complaints were not taken seriously and believed other royal households were leaking stories about them to the press;
- Being told to operate under Buckingham Palace’s umbrella after splitting their household from the Cambridges was ‘a big disappointment’ to the Sussexes;
- The Sussexes even considered breaking protocol by springing a surprise visit on the Queen when they believed they were being blocked from seeing the monarch.
The 2017 trip to Botswana was not the couple’s first visit.
In their 2018 engagement interview, Harry recalled how he ‘convinced’ Meghan to fly out to Botswana to join him on a trip and said they spent a romantic five days camping out under the stars.
‘It was I think about three, maybe four weeks [after their first date] that I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana,’ he said at the time.
‘And we, we camped out with each other under the stars, we spent, she came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.’
The country has a special significance for Prince Harry, who first visited Botswana shortly after his mother Princess Diana’s death, when he travelled there with his brother and father.
Harry fell in love with the country on that first trip and has since returned regularly, getting increasingly involved with wildlife conservation efforts in Botswana.
When it came to finding the perfect engagement ring for Meghan, Harry even chose to source a diamond from Botswana – which he has previously referred to as his ‘second home’.
The stone was paired with two diamonds from a tiara that belonged to Princess Diana.
Finding Freedom provides an intimately detailed and personalised version of the events leading up to the Sussexes’ dramatic departure from royal life, with co-authors Scobie and Durand insisting ‘all information in this book has at least two sources’.
Harry and Meghan deny giving interviews.