Harry and Meghan had so much to offer. He was a popular and charming member of the royal family, with a drive and a sincerity that reached parts other royals could never reach. Meghan had glamour, intelligence, initiative and a fresh approach that could have transformed the monarchy. They could have done so much, which is why their departure was such a loss. They deserve a better account than this.
Whatever the truth is, you won’t get an objective account from this book. It lauds the “go-get-’em approach Meghan has had ever since, aged 11, she wrote a letter of protest to national leaders, including Hillary Clinton, over a sexist soap ad”. We hear about “Meghan’s willingness to help others and her drive to excel”. Like so many rich and famous people used to getting their way, they’re astonished when they don’t. Harry tells a friend, “I’m tired of people covering engagements and then going off to write some rubbish about what someone is wearing.”
Scobie and Durand write as closely informed acolytes. If the Sussexes were not interviewed, then they seem to have been very free with information about their story via intermediaries. A hitch with this approach is that it negates any distance from their subject matter. The account of Meghan’s formative years sounds like something from the Lives of the Saints hagiographies. Did she ever do anything unkind, ill-judged or plain wrong? Not here. It feels primarily like a book about how great Meghan is, with interstices on Harry’s trials in being the younger brother to the heir to the throne.
Writers Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie insist Harry and Meghan were not involved in the book. Given the deluge of personal minutiae – from Harry’s emoji habit to Meghan’s favourite hair highlight shades – as well as their litigiousness when it comes to undesired invasions of privacy... this seems about as credible as Diana’s similar protestations of innocence, all of which Morton scotched about 10 seconds after she died. But whereas Diana chose a tabloid hack as her Boswell, who knew a good story when he saw it, Harry and Meghan opted for two royal journalists. This means the reader is subjected to the Sylvie Krin style of writing that is de rigueur in the genre (I could just about stomach Harry and his “famed ginger locks”, but details of his and Meghan’s glamping trip to Botswana, on which “their days were spent getting closer to nature and their evenings, closer to each other” made me briefly furious that the book hadn’t come with a health warning). Less forgivable than the predictable fluff is how the authors fluff the tale. Because Harry and Meghan definitely have a story to tell, but it is not the story in this book.