What I learned from Finding Freedom
My pre-ordered copy of Finding Freedom arrived yesterday afternoon, and I started it around 8 p.m. By 10 p.m., I had torn through the pages, transfixed and spellbound by this easy to digest, titillating read. Omid Scobie – who I have long loved and considered a total expert on the Royals – and his writing partner Carolyn Durand really knocked it out of the park on this one. It’s a fair account of Harry and Meghan’s lives from 2016 to 2020, with possibly a slight bent in favor of the couple, who Scobie and Durand have met many times. If you’re a Royal Watcher, you absolutely must read this book.
Fortunately/unfortunately (fortunately because I was dying for tidbits, unfortunately because it was a total spoiler), the media had already released most of the bombshells from the book before my copy even arrived, so there weren’t many surprises I didn’t know about by the time I got my hands on the book of the summer. I’m about to share my biggest surprises from the book, so if you wish to read it and don’t want spoilers, please stop reading now! Massive, massive spoiler alert.
I thought I knew everything about this couple, but I was wrong. Here is what I learned from these 354 pages:
· Meghan didn’t want to leave the Family. Scobie, as he hugged Meghan goodbye for the final time at her last engagement, reports that Meghan said to him “It didn’t have to be this way.”
· Meghan’s first appearance on screen was in a blink and you’ll miss it appearance in Tori Amos’ music video for “1000 Oceans.” She appears at the 44-second mark on the left, wearing a black tank top. She earned $600 for this (!). Where can I sign up to start “starring” in music videos? Watch the clip here.
· The Tig wasn’t Meg’s first blog! She was the anonymous blogger behind the blog The Working Actress, where she wrote about trying to make it in Hollywood from 2010 to 2012.
· Harry loves to use the ghost emoji, which he often substituted for the smiley face emoji.
· By their second date, Harry knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Meghan. (He would later go on to say in their engagement interview that he knew she was the one the first time he saw her.)
· Harry had a secret Instagram account under the handle @SpikeyMau5, a nod to one of his favorite DJs, DeadMau5, and his pseudonym Spike Wells, which was the name of his secret Facebook account.
· Three months into their relationship, Harry said “I love you,” which Meghan promptly reciprocated.
· Meghan was nervous to meet William and “prepared herself for a grilling,” Scobie and Durand write. But the meeting went exceedingly well, with William saying “I was looking forward to meeting the girl who has put that silly grin on my brother’s face.”
· Meghan got reprimanded by Royal staff for wearing her “M” and “H” necklace.
· Meghan planned to attend Pippa Middleton’s wedding in May 2017 but, after an article appeared comparing Meghan’s ass to Pippa’s – you seriously can’t make this stuff up – she didn’t go to the ceremony. She did, however, go to the reception with Harry, which required Harry to drive from the ceremony in Berkshire to London to grab Meghan and then to the Middletons’ home in Bucklebury for the reception – some 150 miles of travel just to make sure Meghan was by his side.
· The genesis of the William and Harry feud? This comment: “Don’t feel like you need to rush this. Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.” William’s use of the phrase “this girl” set Harry into a rage, feeling that his brother was looking down on the woman he loved and being, as the book said, a snob.
· Kate did little to patch things up, siding with her husband William 100 percent, despite her formerly close relationship with Harry.
· My biggest shocker: Harry and Meghan got engaged a full three months before we thought they did, back in August 2017 after coming home from a return trip to Botswana, where they had fallen in love a year prior.
· When Meghan appeared alongside Harry for the first time at the Invictus Games in September 2017, she was wearing “the husband shirt” by her friend Misha Nonoo – a subtle nod to their already-engaged status.
· How sweet: When Meg moved into Nottingham Cottage with Harry, she would keep a box of disposable hand warmers she ordered from Amazon in the home, and whenever she went past security on a cold day, she gave some to the guards.
· To prepare her to become a Royal, Meghan was put through the paces, including a staged kidnapping, hostage situations, and terrorist attacks (!).
· Remember when Princess Michael of Kent wore that horribly offensive brooch to a pre-Christmas lunch? Meghan wondered if that was a jab at her – she definitely noticed.
· The Royals have a tradition of bringing gag gifts to one another at Christmas. Meghan was a huge hit when she gave William a spoon that was embossed with “Cereal Killer” (get it?) during her first Christmas at Sandringham.
· For the first time, the name of Harry and Meghan’s black Lab was revealed – Pula, named in honor of the name of Botswana’s currency.
· At their wedding reception, funnyman James Corden showed up dressed as Henry VIII.
· Their first dance as a married couple was to “I’m in Love” by Wilson Pickett.
· When Harry and Meghan visited friends George and Amal Clooney at their home on Lake Como, Harry rode one of George’s motorbikes.
· The rumor that Harry and Meghan told the Family about Meghan’s pregnancy at Eugenie’s wedding in October 2018 were confirmed – and Eugenie was pissed. (Apparently Eugenie is the cousin Harry is closest to, by the way.)
· Palace aides were so concerned about William and Harry’s feud that they thought it could possibly end the monarchy if it wasn’t resolved.
· After Archie was born, Oprah sent along tons of children’s books with personalized “Archie’s Book Club” stickers on them.
· Harry gave Meghan an eternity band for their first anniversary in May 2019. On the underside of the ring were Harry, Meghan, and Archie’s birthstones (sapphire, peridot, and emerald, respectively).
· They fired Archie’s first night nurse after just two nights for being “unprofessional and irresponsible.” They were so scarred by that experience that they let Archie’s second night nurse go and just did night feedings themselves.
· After Harry and Meghan’s stepdown, the one aspect Harry had to let go of that made him cry was when the Queen stripped him of his honorary military appointments.
The burning question – were Harry and Meghan involved in this project, much like Harry’s mother Diana was the secret source behind Andrew Morton’s book before them? Scobie and Durand say no, but the level of detail in the book leads one to wonder. Also, either Scobie and Durand just really like this couple, or they were involved. I'm prone to believe the authors, but with skepticism.
My overall review? Grab a copy of this book, and settle in for a great read. Well done, Omid and Carolyn!