Here’s your essential guide to books about the two important women in Prince Harry’s life – his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and late mother, Princess Diana.
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They’re constantly being compared to each other. It’s no surprise why. Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and his late mother, Diana, the Princess of Wales, have much in common beyond their love for the 36-year-old redhead.
Both were outsiders who married into the British royal family. Both were the subjects of intense media scrutiny, especially in the tabloid press. And now both have given gripping tell-all TV interviews that have delivered bombshell blows to the House of Windsor.
If you want to curl up with a book to delve deeper into the lives of these two women, we’ve selected three titles that are good places to start:
Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words, by Andrew Morton
It’s hard to convey how groundbreaking this book was. Even before it went on sale in 1992 excerpts from Morton’s book sent shockwaves across the globe when they were published in The Sunday Times in the U.K.
Then entitled just Diana: Her True Story, when it was published the princess was still married to Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles. Eleven years after their fairytale wedding, this book revealed the truth about their crumbling marriage and the future king’s infidelity. It also detailed the princess’s mental health struggles, her bulimia battle, and her belief that she was not supported by her royal in-laws.
At the time Morton claimed that his sources were Diana’s close friends. It was only five years later, after her untimely death at the age of 36, that he revealed the truth. Princess Diana herself was the source. She recorded her thoughts on cassette tapes that were given to the British journalist via a third party. Hence the book’s amended title, Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words.
Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, by Andrew Morton
Twenty-six years after his book about Princess Diana became a bestseller, Morton turned his attention to Prince Harry’s future bride. The journalist rolled up his sleeves to delve into the Suits star’s background, tracing her ancestry to American slaves on her mom Doria Ragland’s side, and her paternal line to 1300s England and the reign of Edward III.
Morton also tapped Meghan’s relatives, former classmates and childhood friends to try to paint a full picture of the then 36-year-old bride.
Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of Meghan: A Hollywood Princess is the treasure trove of old family photos of the future Duchess of Sussex as a little girl. Pictures of a curly haired Meghan performing in a school play at the age of 5 or wearing a party dress with puffed up sleeves at her BFF’s ninth birthday party, show a childhood much more down-to-earth than that of her future husband.
“She can boast a bloodline of slaves and kings, servants and swordsmen,” Morton writes in the book. “Hers has been a remarkable journey, a journey that began – where else – the city of dreams, Los Angeles.”
Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Royal Family, by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie
Published in August 2020, mere months after the Sussexes made their dramatic so-called “Megxit” from the U.K. and the royal family, Finding Freedom caused quite a stir when it was released. Written like a fly-on-the-wall account of the couple’s romance, it also recounts Meghan and Harry’s painful relationship with the British tabloids.
At times it almost reads like a romance novel, especially when painting the scene of the couple’s first date. “Meghan, however, threw him off immediately,” the authors write when describing the 2016 London evening. “It wasn’t just her charming freckles, perfect smile, or American accent. Meghan is someone who works a room very well.”
The detailed accounts of text messages, in addition to the couple’s purported thoughts and feelings have sparked speculation that they were among the writers’ sources. Meghan and Harry have denied those allegations. (Although in November 2020 court docs the Duchess’s legal team admitted that she “indicated to a person” the authors had approached that “the true position…could be communicated” about the letter she wrote to her dad, Thomas Markle, according to ITV News.)
Whoever Durand and Scobie’s sources were, Finding Freedom is an interesting behind-the-scenes account of the couple’s courtship and life as newlyweds and a fun read for royal fans.