Anything that happened before the UK went into lockdown in March 2020 feels like a lifetime ago. It’s fair to say that the pandemic has been pretty all consuming. However, the royal family hit the headlines in the first few months of the year as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved their family stateside. Now, a new book, Battle of Brothers is promising to reveal some of the details of what happened around that time.
Battle of Brothers: William, Harry, and the Inside Story of a Family in Tumult is written by the historian and biographer Robert Lacey. It’s the second book to come out in 2020 that details Prince Harry and Meghan’s move away from the royal family. However, unlike Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, Battle of Brothers focuses on the negotiations as Prince Harry renounced his royal title and the relationship between Prince William and Prince Harry.
Lacey has previously written a biography of Queen Elizabeth II and is known for his work as historical consultant to the award-winning drama The Crown on Netflix. So, to say he’s a royal expert would be fair. However, the Mail reported that he sent some of the chapters of his new book to the palace to offer them the chance to dispute anything but that his work was returned, unopened. In an interview with the Daily Mail he acknowledged, “They took fright over the title, probably.”
As the title would suggest, Lacey’s book focuses on the relationship between Harry and William but also the other events that lead up to Prince Harry and Meghan moving to Canada and then the U.S.. It’s out on Oct. 15 and available to pre-order now. Here are some of the key takeaway points from Battle of Brothers.
- The Queen has a soft spot for Prince Harry and Meghan — According to Lacey "Elizabeth II had always had a soft spot” for Harry and she liked Meghan too. He said that she was “delighted” when Meghan was welcomed into the family.
- The royal family reportedly only found out that Prince Harry and Meghan were leaving shortly before the press — It may have seemed like a coordinated response by Lacey’s book claims that the royal family found out about their plans just ten minutes before the press. An excerpt published in the Mail on Sunday said, “Prince Charles was only just getting himself organised after returning from an official trip to the Middle East — and out at Sandringham both the Queen and Prince Philip were said to be ‘devastated.’”
- The Queen reportedly suggested Harry and Meghan move to Africa — The royal family have kept the negotiations behind Prince Harry and Meghan moving to America very private. However, in Battle of Brothers Lacey claims that the Queen worked with former diplomats to try and work out a way that the couple could leave the country while things died down in the press. He said South Africa was suggested as there was a hope that the Queen could, “offer both honour and responsibility to the couple by handing them some role in her beloved British Commonwealth of Nations — a highly personal token of trust” while allowing Prince Harry and Meghan to live a more normal life. However, that didn’t work out.
- Prince William reportedly asked his uncle to speak to Harry about rushing into marriage — In an extract of Battle of Brothers it's said that Prince William asked their mother's brother, Charles Spencer to speak to Harry about rushing into a wedding with Meghan. According to the book, this enraged Harry.
- There was reportedly anger that they wanted to trademark Sussex Royal — Lacey reported that prior to Prince Harry and Meghan leaving their royal duties behind there had been annoyance that they’d wanted to trademark ‘Sussex Royal.’ The book said it was seen as “commercialising of the crown.”
- Kate and Meghan have mutual respect — Historically it’s been reported that there’s tension between the Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan. However, in an excerpt of the book Lacey said, “they might not be best-buddy material, but they found themselves, sister-outsiders in their extraordinary royal situation, and both of them cool professionals, treating each other with mutual respect.”
I have reached out to Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace for comment and will update this piece should any become available.