Thursday Thoughts: book review – Finding Freedom

A new book on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Finding Freedom attempts to position itself as this decade’s Diana, Her true story, the 1992 book about Harry‘s mother, the Princess of Wales.

It fails on every count to be a worthy successor to the Diana book:

  • From its ridiculous title to its litany of petty grievances and perceived slights, cynically encased in woke allegations of racism and sexism to appeal to the gullible, the book does H+M no favours. Despite its sycophantic and sacccharine  narrative, the underlying jealousy of future king, Prince William and his wife Kate and resentment at having to play second fiddle to them springs off the page. This is the story of two people who have never had top billing and are petulantly angered by that fact.
  • Diana eventually admitted she had co-operated with the author of her book, Andrew Morton. Harry and Meghan say this new book isn’t authorised but despite several ongoing lawsuits , they have yet to take legal action against the writers who claim to report very private conversations and messages, even Markle’s lavatory habits  – is the current pope catholic? Does mama bear Rachel  Meghan Markle defecate in the woods? This book certainly leaves a bad smell. There’s a reason why it will be in the bargain bins very soon.
  • The book reveals little that is genuinely interesting or that hasn’t been hashed a hundred times in the tabloids.
  • It is, however, revelatory in unflattering ways about a self absorbed couple, none too bright,  lacking in self awareness and disgruntled that they are the eternal number two.
  • The Diana book was genuinely explosive. For the first time, the wife and mother of future kings, lifted the lid on her decades as a senior Royal. It also had the juicy draw of Diana’s confirmation that “there were 3 of us in this marriage “ – her husband, Prince Charles, was having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. She detailed her own unhappiness, attempts at self harm and eating disorders. The book sold 10 million copies around the world because Diana was extremely popular.  Many people had emotionally invested in her. She had come into the public consciousness as a shy 19-year-old and fairy-tale bride and went on to mature as a wife and mother in the public eye. When she was cast as the wronged woman, millions took her side.
  • By contrast, Harry is the spare, the supporting Prince. He married a minor, bit part actress, with an Instagram ‘influencer’ account. They simply do not have the personal gravitas or years of public duty behind them to make for a riveting biography.
  • Their engagement, wedding, baby, happened at breakneck speed. And in less than 2 years they were off, hurling accusations and lawsuits at all and sundry. No-one had time to emotionally invest in them as a couple or care.
  • Furthermore, what exactly are these two  finding freedom from? How exactly were they enslaved or impoverished? It’s a tone deaf, insulting title.
  • ‘Fleeing’ from luxurious palaces to luxurious mansions?  He’s been a pampered prince all his life. The palace PR machine protected his public image after he was caught on camera variously: referring to a soldier as a ‘Paki’, dressing as a Nazi for fun and jiggling his private parts playing naked billiards with several blondes. ‘Freedom’ for him now seems to involve taking himself terribly seriously making dead eyed videos lecturing us (laughably) on racism and equality.
  • She had a modest career as a small time actress and pushing 40, when most mature women get sidelined by the industry, she landed a prince, a paid for home in the grounds of a castle, millions for her wardrobe, constant security and a global platform. And yet, it’s still ’woe is me’.  Baubles are never enough to fill inner emptiness because there’s always a glitzier one that is out of reach – in this case, a bigger and better wedding tiara and most of all, what Kate, as future queen, has.
  • For all the hype about Meghan’s supposed huge ambition, what this book, inadvertently, actually reveals is the paucity of her ambition. Dreams and delusions are very different to ambition. She may have slavishly (and rather creepily) tried to position herself as another Diana (see pictures below – not sure who created it to credit them) but faced with the reality of the grandeur she had married into, she quickly bolted back to a level of fame she is comfortable with; that of an X Factor reject, always insisting she is going to have SO many big money projects coming in – one day.
  • So far, ‘ freedom’ for the couple has involved hopping from one vague idea to another. Are they eco-warriors lecturing others while they fly around in private jets themselves? Motivational speakers teaching peasants how to be born into royalty (him) or getting a small, supporting role in a cable show (her)? Or are they a ordinary citizens, except with titles they cling to, 24/7 security and a need to put out grandiose announcements? Who know? The book doesn’t tell us.

Little in the book actually makes sense:

  • The couple seek ‘freedom’/independence but cling to the glory and perks of his family.
  • The sniping, now, against the royal family contradicts their own interviews on video in which they gushed about how welcoming everyone was to Markle.
  • Big talk about ‘modernising’ the monarchy seems to come from being miffed at having to walk behind senior Royals. Do they expect to get a participation crowns?
  • Woke lectures on equality are undermined by constant references to their titles in their pompous press releases. (Not once have they suggested they would be willing to give up those precious titles. They know and we know that without the titles they have little to offer). 
  • Critical comment about Meghan is dubbed ‘racist’ . Yet it is Camilla who endured cruel press for years when she was routinely described as ugly and horse-faced. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenia are still mocked for their looks and Kate had it rough for years as, indeed did Diana until her early death sanctified her. In addition, it is ‘fans’ of the couple  (known as the Sussex Squad) who spew the most racist and vicious abuse against Kate, the Queen and even William and Kate’s small children.

In a world of Covid deaths, rising unemployment and recession it’s hard to see what terrible calamity has befallen these two and what the ordinary reader is supposed to sympathise with.

Ultimately, Finding Freedom  is essentially about two middle-aged toddlers having their bottoms wiped, publicly, after a particularly messy poo.

Avoid it.