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Personal relationships have 'improved' between Prince Harry and other royals – but he won't come back, say authors

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·5-min read

Watch: Harry and Meghan’s podcast trailer: Hear Sussexes in Spotify advert

One of the authors of a biography of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has revealed personal relationships between Harry and other royals have improved since the couple stepped back from being senior royals.

But Omid Scobie, who co-wrote Finding Freedom alongside Carolyn Durand, said he did not think it would be enough for the Sussexes to return to the royal fold.

Scobie was talking to CNN’s Max Foster in a streamed interview about the book, which was released in August and was seen as setting the record straight on many of the reports about the couple.

He said: “Personal relationships have definitely improved – there is a warmth there that wasn’t there before.

“With Archewell, that centres on the non-profit, but extends to rich storytelling with Netflix, but still has a social impact, they said they would uphold the values of the Royal Family, and I think we have seen that in the work they do.

“They aren’t veering that dramatically from the work of the Royal Family, they are doing it in their way.

“It would always be easy for them to slot back into a royal engagement, but I think that’s very unlikely.

“They are looking forward rather than back.”

Walt Disney Television via Getty Images NEWS - Walt Disney Television via Getty Images News special coverage of the royal wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle features an extended edition of Good Morning America hosted by David Muir and Robin Roberts on Saturday, May 19, 2018 (5:00  10:00 a.m., ET) on the Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Television Network.   ((Hazel Thompson/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images))  OMID SCOBIE
Omid Scobie, here in 2018, said he didn't think it would be enough for the couple to come back to royal life. (Hazel Thompson/Walt Disney Television)

Read more: Only 7% of Britons interested in listening to Prince Harry and Meghan's podcasts

While the authors said their book was unofficial and unauthorised, Meghan did admit she gave one friend permission to speak to them about one particular story.

Meghan’s lawyers had rubbished claims she co-operated with Scobie and Durand, calling parts of the book “creative licence”.

But as part of the court battle she is fighting with Associated Newspapers Ltd, the paper group asked to be allowed to use the book as evidence in their case. She then admitted she had allowed “the true position” over the allegation by her father that she had cut him off to be relayed to the journalists.

While Durand and Scobie did not touch on the court battle during the hour-long chat, they did offer background into how the book came together.

Durand said: “We were able to reach out to those closest to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan. We did not know at the outset that they were going to make that seismic decision to step back.

“Our first change was when they announced the joyful news of their child. Then we started to get some indication, [when] Prince Harry and Meghan did that now famous interview with Tom Bradby when they were asked how things were doing, and we sensed a shift and our direction changed.

“But that wasn’t what we planned at the outset.

“We had access to a number of people who were very kind to give their time and make sure we could reflect the historical record.”

Watch: Royals release candid Christmas card family pictures

Read more: 'Invasive and intrusive': Meghan Markle settles with news agency over long-lens pictures taken of Archie

Asked about the couple’s frustration with not being able to respond to some of the stories about them, Scobie said: “People came forward when they saw their friends and people who they worked for not able to set the record straight.

“It actually worked in our favour when the palace refused to set the record straight and we took it into our own hands.”

Durand also revealed she believes the couple ultimately left their roles because of their son.

She said: “Ultimately it was about their son, Archie. They felt that things were moving in a different direction, I’m not saying anything they haven’t said themselves, but everything they do they do for their son.

“Harry has difficult memories of what happened to his mother and he saw what was happening with the coverage.

“I know for a fact Harry was very torn. He is a decorated military man, he loves his country, but this is something he did for his family and what he thought would be best.”

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive to attend The Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in London on March 7, 2020. - The Festival brings together world-class musicians, composers and conductors of the Massed Bands of Her Majestys Royal Marines. This year, the performance will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the 80th anniversary of the formation of Britains Commandos. (Photo by SIMON DAWSON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SIMON DAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan at the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2020. (Simon Dawson/AFP)

Read more: Is this the picture that shows who will be in – and out – of the royal fold in 2021?

They agreed that Harry and Meghan had been particularly hurt by the decision to strip the duke of his military honours. At one of his final appearances in the UK, he received a standing ovation from veterans at the Royal Albert Hall – something Scobie said gave him confidence.

Of their future in production, with deals signed with Netflix and Spotify, Durand said Harry was “one of the most sophisticated people in terms of his understanding of the media”.

She added: “He is very interested in the news, in issues that are important to him, and in using his voice to make a difference.

“He did that with the Invictus games – we are going to see the couple get more involved, and [being a] producer is a natural role for Harry.

“He’s been working on a project with Oprah, one of most revered women in world, and I think we will see other projects in future that will show their brand.”

Harry and Meghan, who now live in California, confirmed they will be releasing a Christmas special of their new podcast ahead of the full series in the new year.