Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 November 2020

'Battle of Brothers': new book says royals 'failed to learn' from Meghan Markle

The book compares the actress to Princess Diana, but also says she has a 'dangerous level of self-belief'

Prince Harry and Meghan's allegedly fractious relationship with the royal family is laid bare in new book 'Battle of Brothers'. Reuters
Prince Harry and Meghan's allegedly fractious relationship with the royal family is laid bare in new book 'Battle of Brothers'. Reuters

Following on from the release of Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durant’s Finding Freedom, which claims to lay bare the truth about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s romance and shock departure from the British royal family, a new tome called Battle of Brothers takes on the American Suits actress and the royal family’s treatment of her.

Robert Lacey's 'Battle of Brothers' lays bare the ongoing tensions between Princes William and Harry. Supplied
Robert Lacey's 'Battle of Brothers' lays bare the ongoing tensions between Princes William and Harry

Due for release on Thursday, October 15, and written by British historian and royal biographer Robert Lacey, author of 2002’s Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II and a consultant on Netflix’s hit show The Crown, Battle of Brothers promises “a journey into royal life as never offered before … an unparalleled insider account of tumult and secrecy revealing the untold details of William and Harry’s early closeness then estrangement".

'They didn't know what to do with Harry'

“What you’ve got to realise is that the whole strategy of the monarchy was based on them [William and Harry] sticking together,” Lacey told the Daily Mail. “Meghan changed all that. She is difficult. She has an incredible and dangerous level of self-belief. But the Palace got this very wrong, as it always does with the second-born."

Lacey pointed to the precedents set by the treatment of Princess Margaret and Prince Andrew in the line of succession. "They always treat the second-born badly, not to say cruelly," he says. "It’s the classic heir and the spare thing. They just don’t know what to do with the spare. And they certainly didn’t know what to do with the spare’s wife.”

And although when Finding Freedom was released on August 11, a statement from Meghan and Harry declared: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom,” Lacey says he believes the Duke and Duchess had a hand in the book, insisting: “There are some descriptions that could only have come from the lips of Harry or Meghan.”

'The new Princess Diana'

Author, Robert Lacey, claims the royal family missed a chance to 'learn' from Meghan: 'The only self-made millionaire in the family'. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Author Robert Lacey says the royal family missed a chance to 'learn' from Meghan, 'the only self-made millionaire in the family'. Reuters

Lacey believes it was Harry, 36, who triggered the couple’s departure from the royal family and of the Duchess of Sussex, he says: “In her own way, Meghan walks through minefields like Diana did. Metaphorical minefields.”

There is only one self-made millionaire in the royal family and that is Meghan Markle

Robert Lacey

The author also revealed his fears that the growing rift between William and Harry could become a crisis that defines the monarchy.

Citing the abdication crisis of 1936, when Edward VIII gave up the throne in order to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson, and the death of Princess Diana in 1997, the aftermath of which resulted in public approval of the royal family dropping to its lowest levels, Lacey warned that Buckingham Palace is "not working" in the right direction.

Royals 'failed to learn' from Meghan

Lacey also says the Palace isn't heading towards "wokeness".

Criticising its failure to appreciate how Meghan's mixed-race ethnicity would have given an excellent global platform to demonstrate how multicultural Britain and the commonwealth is, he said: “Is it any wonder Barbados and Jamaica are now saying, ‘We are signing off. We can do without the Queen, thank you very much.’ To have failed to hold on to their mixed-race recruit was a mistake. They don’t do woke, but if they are to survive, the Windsors have to find their own way to do woke.”

Harry and William's tense relationship comes under scrutiny in 'Battle of Brothers'. AFP
Harry and William's tense relationship comes under scrutiny in 'Battle of Brothers'. AFP

And despite her “dangerous level of self-belief”, Lacey also says he believes Buckingham Palace missed an opportunity to learn from Meghan, 39.

“There is only one self-made millionaire in the royal family and that is Meghan Markle,” he said. “If they had sat down with her at the start and said, ‘Let’s talk about the things you are interested in,’ things might have been different. They just sent her off to watch the Queen opening the Mersey Bridge.

"There is nothing wrong with that, but they made the mistake of dealing with the spare’s wife thinking she was just a routine royal. She was never going to be a routine royal," Lacey added.

“Does Prince William want to go down in history as the king who couldn’t hold his family together? This thing has to be resolved, one way or the other.”

Updated: October 4, 2020 06:34 PM

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