Omid Scobie And Carolyn Durand Chart Harry And Meghan's Journey In New Book Royal beat reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand have written a sympathetic new book on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family.
NPR logo

Royal Reporters Chart Harry And Meghan's Journey In 'Finding Freedom'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/900603848/900603849" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Royal Reporters Chart Harry And Meghan's Journey In 'Finding Freedom'

Royal Reporters Chart Harry And Meghan's Journey In 'Finding Freedom'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/900603848/900603849" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Travel with me for a moment back to happier times. It's May 19, 2018.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRINCE HARRY: I, Harry, take you, Meghan...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: A live broadcast from St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Sixteen months after they first met, a handsome British prince marries a beautiful American actress.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MEGHAN: I, Meghan, take you, Harry.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: In a ceremony unlike any previous royal wedding. I mean, come on. They had a gospel choir.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHOIR: (Singing) Stand by me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, how lovely it all was, how sweet and happy they were. Within a year, there was a baby. Within two years, there was a rupture, a big one. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex decide royal life is not for them. It's a whirlwind story detailed in the new book by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand called "Finding Freedom." Both authors are with me now.

Welcome.

OMID SCOBIE: Thank you so much for having us, Lulu.

CAROLYN DURAND: We're really happy to be here. Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have to say this is a very sympathetic portrait of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I'll start with you, Omid. How did you come to write it?

SCOBIE: Well, I think both Carolyn and I having long been on the royal beats, you know, we're aware of the narrative and the coverage that we had seen of Harry and Meghan for some time. And I think time and time again, we felt that there were sides to the story that were often missing. The mission here was really to paint a different perspective of a story that many feel that they already know.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Carolyn, the Duke and Duchess say that they were not interviewed for your book and did not contribute to it. But many royal watchers, as I'm sure you've heard, don't believe it. You did not interview them.

DURAND: Harry and Meghan have made a statement about the book. I think that's quite clear.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. I mean, did someone else interview them for you or ask them to give their side of the story for the book?

SCOBIE: No, and I think one thing that's been really sort of the moment of freedom for Carolyn and I is to have some distance.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, let's dig in. And let's start with Meghan Markle. Before she married Harry, she was starring in the TV show "Suits." She was writing a lifestyle blog. She's a Californian. She's the child of divorced parents. She's divorced herself. She is biracial. Carolyn, how would you describe her personality?

DURAND: Meghan is quite driven. She's focused. She's absolutely passionate about her charitable and humanitarian work. She's someone that Harry had really found a kindred spirit in when they met and fell in love.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Once the two become a couple and as they're rapidly heading to marriage, there seems to have been this increasing intensity in how the tabloids were covering the relationship, especially what they said about Meghan - I mean, that she's straight out of Compton or writing about her rich and exotic DNA. Harry was not necessarily well-known for being woke, to put it mildly. Do you think that this was a wake-up call for him? I mean, where do you think his journey began with this whole issue of how his girlfriend and then his wife might be treated because of her background?

SCOBIE: Well, I think Harry's journey to wokeness has been very public. We sort of seen him learning and educating himself along the way. But, you know, hit this experience of witnessing Meghan face racist remarks and commentary would have been the first time that he ever saw someone in his life or someone that he was particularly close to affected by it in certain way. And, you know, we talk about some of the more obvious examples in some of the media coverage. But I think the things that have flown under the radar are some of the sort of othering of Meghan that we've seen. We've sort of seen it repeatedly that she's not one of us. And now, what do they mean by not one of us? And I think there are things like that which Harry's really had to become more attuned to and learn to see when it happens in front of him. And Meghan would have been the person that guided him on that journey.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I want to talk a little bit about the relationship between the royals themselves. You know, Meghan comes into the royal family. You talk about how Harry's brother reacted to their relationship. Can you talk about that a little bit and about some of the tensions there?

SCOBIE: Yeah, I think it's one of the early stories you saw come out of this book was this conversation that took place between Harry and William where William seemingly gives sort of brotherly advice to Harry about sort of perhaps watching the speed at which his relationship with Meghan was progressing. And I think there've been some people have commented that that might have been a moment where Harry was too sensitive. But I think we need to really look at the overall picture here and what led up to that moment. Harry was already aware of some of the murmurings that were taking place behind his back within the royal household about Meghan. He'd also experienced some of his own friends speaking about Meghan or making negative remarks behind her back that word had traveled back to him about. So when William sat down and had that conversation with him, that was the starting point.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Carolyn, William's wife, of course, is Kate Middleton. Is there any truth to that rivalry that has been played up so much in the tabloids?

DURAND: Well, I think that, you know, as women, we see this all the time - where we try and pit two women against each other. And certainly, that narrative of dueling duchesses was attractive to the U.K. tabloids.

SCOBIE: But, of course, what we did find along the way was a friendship between the two that never really progressed. It never reached a place of great warmth or depth. And I think that's something that Meghan really longed to have happen.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Carolyn, in your view, what led to the duke and duchess to decide to step back from being working royals? I mean, this was sort of a bombshell announcement when it came.

DURAND: Harry really was looking out for his family. His wife felt aggrieved, and they thought that the best decision that they could make was to step back, have a little bit more privacy but still be in a situation where they could carry on their mission, devote themselves to the causes that were so important to them.

HARRY: What are they up to today in LA? They're living in Tyler Perry's multimillion-dollar Beverly Hills mansion. I mean, how are they going to support themselves?

SCOBIE: I think it's quite funny when we hear people talking about, will they have enough money or not? Firstly, Harry is, of course, a very wealthy individual. He brings that to the picture, as well. Meghan already an accomplished actress - probably living very comfortably off royalties coming in from "Suits." It's still one of the most stream shows on Netflix. But, of course, they do have a proper working model laid out for them up ahead. We've seen them sign on as smart (ph) speakers with the Henry Walker Agency (ph). What's important to note is despite all the rumors or the reports about them cashing in on their royal titles, really, the work that they do continues as normal. Everything they do will continue to have that same social impact that it had before. And that's really the most important thing to them.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand - their new book is "Finding Freedom: Harry And Meghan And The Making Of A Modern Royal Family." a modern royal family. Thank you both very much.

SCOBIE: Thanks, Lulu.

DURAND: Thank you, Lulu.

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.