As we discuss Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s Finding Freedom, the British media will attempt to make the book into a referendum on whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were interviewed, on or off the record, for the book. There will also be a referendum on whether Harry and Meghan “authorized” their friends and aides to speak to Scobie and Durand. There will be many people hired by the Daily Mail, the Sun, and other outlets to theatrically perform their angst and anger at the Sussexes for this gauche melodrama, because it’s “simply not royal” to authorize a book or to give off-the-record interviews. Those people will be lying their asses off. The Duchess of Cambridge and the Middleton family have authorized many books and articles, and they’ve done so with implicit or explicit palace approval. Charles quietly authorizes books about himself and his family and he frequently authorizes articles too. Same with William, Anne, Sophie and everybody else.
The issue at the heart of Finding Freedom is not “did they authorize or participate in it?” But a lot of people will try to make that the issue. Which is why the Sussexes have tried to get ahead of that conversation, that performative outrage:
A spokesperson for the couple said in a statement, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.”
I mean… if the Sussexes didn’t take part in it and didn’t authorize anything, how do they know what the book is based on and what’s being reported? But whatever, this is how it’s gotta happen. It’s that way with the Duchess of Sussex’s lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday – MoS has turned the coverage into the lawsuit into a referendum on whether Meghan authorized her friends to speak to People Magazine. Meghan had to claim, on the record, as part of the legal proceedings, that she did not authorize anyone to do sh-t. Again, this is not the actual conversation, and it would not have been “wrong” or even unconventional for a royal figure to authorize their own narrative through media or a book.
The Daily Mail already has one “historian” on the record claiming Harry and Meghan “clearly” spoke to Scobie and Durand. Historian Kate Williams (THAT NAME!) told the Mail:
“Harry and Meghan have denied any involvement with the book, but it is clear that the authors of the book, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, have spoken to people who are close to Harry and Meghan because there are lots of reports about how Harry feels and some of them are really moving. A lot of this backs up what is already said, we know they were upset that’s why we had them leaving the Royal Family in January… So I think with this book, we don’t know exactly how much Harry and Meghan spoke with them or didn’t, but certainly it does seem that friends who are close to them did give them words.’
Yeah, and how. Just from the first excerpts released, we can see that Scobie and Durand have spoken to many people with an encyclopedic knowledge of what happened in many private meetings, private conversations and how Harry and Meghan were feeling in exact moments of crisis. It is what it is. Again, the conversation the British media *wants* to have is a process story about whether H&M lowkey authorized a book, which is something literally EVERY royal has done. And the fact that those other royals are now authorizing reaction-articles to the Finding Freedom excerpts is kind of hilarious too.
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