Finding Freedom excerpt 2 features The Rift

Finding Freedom excerpt 2 features The Rift

The Times released another excerpt from Finding Freedom, the biography on Prince Harry and The Duchess of Sussex. This one is all about the rift between Harry and William and how Meghan and Kate never really clicked.

Disclaimer (there’s a longer one in my first article): While commenting on this biography is fun, I don’t think we should take this as the definitive “source of truth” on the matter as the authors were not present for these events, and any retelling of them is colored by the biases of every party involved (including the reader). Additionally, I was not present for these events, my opinions on them are based on my own experiences.

Thankfully this second excerpt is shorter than the last one, but again I’m not going to quote the whole thing – you can read the full article at The Times. (ETA: You can read the PDF version of the article here) I will quote the parts I want to comment on.

The rift had begun when the Duke of Cambridge questioned the pace at which his brother’s relationship with Meghan was moving. […] Back when Meghan and Harry were dating, William, having met Meghan only a handful of times, wanted to make sure the American actress had the right intentions. “After all, these are two brothers that have spent their whole lives with people trying to take advantage of them,” the source said. “They’ve both developed a radar to detect that type of person, but as William didn’t know a whole lot about Meghan, he wanted to make sure Harry wasn’t blindsided by lust.”

Some members of staff were whispering words of alarm into the Duke of Cambridge’s ear. Meghan was totally foreign to this group of advisers, who could sometimes be even more conservative than the institution they guarded. This was the backdrop when William sat down with his brother to discuss his relationship with Meghan. “Don’t feel you need to rush this,” William told Harry, according to sources. “Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.”

In those last two words, “this girl”, Harry heard the tone of snobbishness that was anathema to his approach to the world. During his 10-year career in the military, outside the royal bubble, he had learnt not to make snap judgments about people based on their accent, education, ethnicity, class or profession.

There’s more about how Harry was sick of William treating him like he still needed protecting, and how courtiers didn’t like Meghan for reasons, and how Harry is very emotional and was super protective of Meghan. It’s a lot, so I don’t want to quote the whole section.

I see both sides here. I’ve been in a situation where I tried to warn my friend against the (abusive) man she was dating, and it caused a huge rift in our friendship, in part, because I didn’t know how to approach the situation correctly. I’ve also been in a situation where I didn’t want to hear the, now looking back on it, very rational advice I was given and lashed out. Without firsthand knowledge of the conversation, I can see a situation where William was expressing genuine concern and Harry reacted negatively because he just didn’t want to hear it and pushed William away. I can also see a situation where William was rude while bringing up the topic and that’s what Harry was reacting to. But I think bringing up the fact that a relationship is moving quickly and to be cautious isn’t wrong.

I’m not fully on William’s side here, but I’m not fully on Harry’s. At best, I think both parties probably share a good chunk of the blame for the rift.

Meghan would agree with the assessment that the duchesses were not the best of friends. Their relationship hadn’t progressed much since she was Harry’s girlfriend. Although Meghan might have understood Kate’s wariness to strike up a meaningful friendship, they were still no closer by the time she was a fellow senior working member of the royal family and the wife of William’s brother. Flowers for her birthday were nice, but Meghan would far rather have had Kate check in on her during the most difficult times with the press. But they were not at war with each other either. There were awkward moments, such as the day the women happened to cross paths at Kensington Palace (in early 2017, when Harry and Meghan were still only dating), and although both were heading out to go shopping — in the same street — Kate went in her own Range Rover. The truth was that Meghan and Kate just didn’t know each other that well. Although some aides claimed at the time that they “talked and texted regularly”, by the time of Harry and Meghan’s wedding the sisters-in-law had spent only a handful of occasions together.

I remember when that blind item came out about Kate not offering Meghan a ride to go shopping, and I defended Kate then and I stand by what I said. I don’t think Kate was obligated to offer Meghan a ride when Meghan seemingly didn’t ask for one, especially as they didn’t know each other very well; also, we have no idea what Kate’s schedule was and if that was her only stop.

Additionally, I think it’s interesting that all of this information is coming out that Harry and Meghan weren’t close to William and Kate, and that Meghan and Kate had barely spent any time together prior to the wedding, because in the engagement interview Harry and Meghan said that William and Kate had given fantastic support and they had spent time together quite a few times. I bring this up because I think it’s important to note that people can lie (or at least, misrepresent things to suit their narrative). We need to remember this; even our faves can lie to us/misrepresent things, and we shouldn’t take everything someone says as The Truth.

At the outset of her romance with Harry, Meghan had fully expected Kate to reach out and give her the lie of the land on everything an outsider to the Firm needed to know. But that was not how things turned out. Meghan was disappointed that she and Kate hadn’t bonded over the position they shared, but she wasn’t losing sleep over it. According to a source, Kate felt they didn’t have much in common “other than the fact that they lived at Kensington Palace”.

I find it very frustrating when people place expectations on you, don’t bother to tell you what they are, and then get upset when you don’t fulfill them. There are certain people in my life who have done this many times, and it’s so annoying. So I’m not fully on Meghan’s side here when she says she expected Kate to reach out and was disappointed when she didn’t. I can understand wanting something and having feelings when things don’t work out how you wanted, but if you don’t ask someone to do something you really can’t expect them to do it as they are under no obligation to.

Meghan felt as though some of the commentary and tabloid stories were more than a culture clash; they were sexist and prejudiced. If a man got up before dawn to work, he was applauded for his work ethic. If a woman did it, she was deemed difficult or “a bitch”. The double standard was exacerbated when it came to successful women of colour, often labelled demanding or aggressive

No. I’ve experienced several different men (bosses) calling and messaging at all hours of the night because they were selfish and thought that every tiny thought that occurred to them was worth bothering me over and that I should just take it (instead of just making a note and messaging me during normal business hours). If a male co-worker or boss is consistently messaging someone outside of work hours, that’s problematic.

Racism takes a different form in the UK from in America, but there is no mistaking its existence and how ingrained it is. A major theme of racism in the UK centres on the question of who is authentically “British”. […] While the columnist was criticising Meghan for her Vogue editorials, there was another way to read it, which is that to be British meant to be born and bred in the UK — and be white.

There has absolutely been racism at play in the way Meghan has been treated, and anyone who says the UK isn’t racist and that there hasn’t been any racism toward Meghan is either outright lying or just fooling themselves. It’s okay to take an inward look at yourself to see where your blinders are in order to change them, but a defensive reaction of refusing to even acknowledge the existence of racism in the UK is a disservice to yourself and everyone around you.

I also think sexism plays a large role in the criticism of Meghan, too. There is a lot of hatred toward Meghan now that Kate has experienced for years. The reasons people list for hating the two women are different (Meghan is too independent, while Kate is too much of a doormat), but both women experience a tremendous amount of hatred that William and Harry just don’t receive.

Final thoughts on this second excerpt: I’m still leaning toward no one looks great here. I think all parties involved share the blame for the way everything went down. No one party is the villain, and no one party is the victim.

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