Meghan Markle’s magazine cover interview proclaiming she and Harry were “in love” triggered the “fury” of Buckingham Palace early in their relationship, it has been claimed in a new biography.
The Duchess of Sussex gave her first big interview about her burgeoning relationship with her future husband to Vanity Fair in September 2017, two months before they announced their engagement.
Meghan told the magazine: “At the end of the day, I think it’s really simple. We’re two people who are really happy and in love.”
However, biographer Tom Bower wrote in his new book Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors that, despite being a “blatant puff piece,” the coverage sparked a major dispute because Meghan had been asked not to mention her then-boyfriend.
An extract published in UK broadsheet The Times read: “Aware that Diana and Sarah Ferguson had destroyed themselves in interviews, Harry had ordered Meghan to maintain tight-lipped silence about sensitive subjects – Donald Trump, race, their relationship and especially himself. He was not to be mentioned.”
He added that when the magazine came out: “The front-cover photograph of Meghan was covered by the headline ‘She’s Just Wild about Harry.’ Meghan’s brazenness took Buckingham Palace by surprise and electrified the British media.
“The interview triggered sensational reactions: Meghan had used her relationship to promote herself. The Hollywoodisation of the royal family had sealed Meghan’s fate as Harry’s fiancée.
“Within hours, Meghan called [her PR representatives] Ken Sunshine and Thomas Morgan.
“Hysterically, she described Buckingham Palace’s fury at ‘Wild about Harry.’ [Hollywood PR agency] Sunshine Sachs, said Meghan, should have ensured that her comments about Harry were removed. Why wasn’t the focus on her philanthropy and activism?”
The palace’s reaction led to Ken Sunshine calling the magazine to complain about the coverage and, the book says, warning the editor he might be required to explain himself to Queen Elizabeth II.
If the account is true, and at least one aspect of Bower’s book has been disputed, it is testament to the naivety of the Meghan’s US representatives in their dealings with the palace.
The queen is famous for her “never complain, never explain” mantra and it is exceptionally unlikely she would ever call a magazine editor personally.
The book reads: “Sunshine feared that Meghan would fire his agency. Puzzled why Buckingham Palace was, he called the magazine’s angry editor to deliver what he imagined to be the ultimate threat.
“‘You’re going to have to deal with the Queen,’ he said. The furious monarch, he imagined, would pick up the phone and berate the editor.
“The editor was bemused. Meghan, Sunshine was told, ‘didn’t get the cover in her own name… but because of who she was likely to marry.””
Bower added that Meghan was unhappy enough that she too called Sam Kashner, the journalist who conducted the interview and said: “I thought this could have been an actual friendship. I don’t now think that can happen.”
Revenge also suggested the queen was relieved Meghan did not attend Prince Philip’s funeral, though a palace source suggested it was unlikely Elizabeth’s mind in the days before the service would have been on anything other than her husband.
Newsweek has approached Buckingham Palace and representatives of Meghan and Harry for comment.
Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsorsby Tom Bower, is due out in Britain on Thursday, July 21.
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