MEGHAN Markle rang her PR team and "hysterically" described Buckingham Palace's fury after an interview with her appeared in Vanity Fair with the headline 'Wild About Harry', a new book has sensationally revealed.
In 'Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors', serialised today in The Sun, biographer Tom Bower says Meghan had been "ecstatic" when she was first asked to appear on the front cover of the September 2017 issue.
It was Keleigh Thomas Morgan, a partner at Sunshine Sachs, her Los Angeles public relations agency, who broke the news.
Bower writes: "After the agency's years of struggle to get Meghan noticed, Vanity Fair's approach proved that her relationship with Harry was priceless.
"For Meghan, the news was electrifying."
At the time, Bower says, Keleigh didn't know that Meghan and Harry were secretly engaged and were waiting for the Queen's formal approval when she returned from Balmoral that autumn.
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And she responded to Vanity Fair saying Meghan would be delighted but didn't want a piece about her – it should represent Meghan as a major actor and especially as an activist and philanthropist.
A long standing contributing editor at the magazine, Sam Kashner, who was known for cover stories on Jennifer Lawrence, Nicole Kidman and Rosamund Pike, was assigned to the interview.
Bower writes: "Kashner arrived at Meghan’s home and told that his interviewee was under strict orders from both Harry and Keleigh Thomas Morgan.
"Aware that Diana and Sarah Ferguson had destroyed themselves in interviews, Harry had asked Meghan to maintain tight-lipped silence about sensitive subjects – Donald Trump, race, their relationship and especially himself. He was not to be mentioned."
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Bower says Kashner watched Meghan prepare lunch but, even before they sat down to eat, Kashner felt uneasy.
He adds: "Both knew that a lot was riding on the interview, and both understood that the critical issue of Harry had been vetoed. Meghan spoke, he realised, knowing that she had the winning ticket but avoiding giving an impression of triumphalism."
Bower says they spoke about her "speech to the United Nations" and her success as an 11 year old against Procter & Gamble where she wrote to the company's chairman and Hillary Cinton, then First Lady, to complain about an advertising slogan promoting washing up liquid that said 'Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans'. She urged that the slogan should be changed to 'People all over America.' Bowing to thousands of protests on the subject, P&G eventually changed the line.
Bower writes: "'Tell me about Harry,' said Kashner, not expecting an answer. 'We're a couple. We're in love,' Meghan unexpectedly replied into the recording device.
"Clearly prepared, she baulked when asked, 'What does love mean?' Instead, she asked Kashner about his marriage.
"Eventually she uttered, 'I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us. It's part of what makes it so special, that it's just ours. But we're happy. Personally, I love a great love story.'
"Bullseye. Kashner was quietly elated. Tellingly, she added: 'I'm still the same person I am. I've never defined myself by my relationship.'
"She was an independent woman who would not be defined by her relationship with Harry."
Bower says over the next few days Kashner called those who Meghan had recommended as her friends. Serena Williams denied she was Meghan's friend but just an acquaintance, saying 'You've got to be who you are, Meghan. You can't hide.'
Bower writes: "Meghan's interview took the Royal Family into uncharted waters.”
In early September pre-publication copies of the magazine were released to Sunshine Sachs and Buckingham Palace.
The stunning front-cover photograph of Meghan was covered by the headline 'She's Just Wild About Harry'.
Bower writes: "Meghan's unprecedented brazenness took Buckingham Palace by surprise – and electrified the British media.
"Like a thunderclap, the interview triggered sensational reactions: Meghan had used her relationship with Harry to promote herself.
"The Hollywoodisation of the royal family had sealed Meghan's fate as Harry's fiancée.
"Within hours, Meghan called Ken Sunshine and Keleigh Thomas Morgan. Hysterically, she described Buckingham Palace's fury at 'Wild About Harry'.
"Sunshine Sachs, said Meghan, should have ensured that her comments about Harry were removed. Why wasn't the focus on her philanthropy and activism?
"Ken Sunshine feared that Meghan would fire his agency. Puzzled why Buckingham Palace was angry, he called the magazine's editor to deliver what he imagined to be the ultimate threat. 'You're going to have to deal with the Queen on this,' he said. The furious monarch, he imagined, like Trump, would pick up the phone and berate the editor. The editor was bemused.
"Meghan, Ken Sunshine was told, 'didn't get the cover in her own name or as a feminist, but because of who she was likely to marry'."
Bower says that Meghan texted Kashner saying she was 'gutted and deflated'. She then rang him and said she was "disappointed" in him.
He writes: "Kashner was puzzled. How could she hate a blatant puff-piece? Then her feelings were explained. Of course, she hated the title 'Wild About Harry' because she was promoting her philanthropy.
"She was equally furious that her childhood battle with Procter & Gamble was omitted. Kashner resisted revealing that Vanity Fair's fact-checkers had raised questions."
Bower says Kashner felt 'manipulated and betrayed' and says Meghan complained because she wasn't presented in the way she wanted.
He adds: "As the anger subsided, Meghan reconsidered her fate. The producers and cast of Suits were 'awestruck' that an actor from their cult series with a mere 1.5 million audience had made Vanity Fair's cover.
"Their only disappointment was that the royal relationship did not improve the ratings. Not by a single per centage. On the positive side, Harry remained utterly loyal.
"Reversing the narrative was impossible. Unlike the other young women who married the Windsors it seemed Meghan would not remain silent.
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"In London, Harry's family and their senior advisors were subdued. This was not an issue, as some would later assert, about the Palace's handling or mismanagement of Meghan. Nothing could be done. “
© Tom Bower, 2022. REVENGE: MEGHAN, HARRY AND THE WAR BETWEEN THE WINDSORS by Tom Bower, to be published by Blink Publishing, on 21st July at £22
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