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15 secrets we've learnt from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal biography

Finding Freedom has unveiled some sweet details from the couple's romance

Danielle Stacey

A new royal biography about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has been released. Finding Freedom, written by royal journalists Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, has charted details from when the couple first met in 2016 to the Sussexes stepping back from royal life in March 2020. 

READ: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry actually knew their baby's sex before birth

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WATCH: A timeline of Harry and Meghan's relationship

A spokesperson for the couple previously told HELLO!: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. This book is based on the authors' own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting."  

HELLO! takes a look at what we've learned from some of the reports in the book. 

Harry and Meghan knew sex of royal baby 

The sex of a royal baby is never disclosed publicly before the birth, but it seems that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex knew they were expecting a boy, according to the biography. It also states that they had decided on the name Archie for their son during Meghan's final week of pregnancy. 

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Archie made his public debut two days after his birth in May 2019

At her New York baby shower in February 2019, the Duchess "quietly shared that she was expecting a boy with a number of friends at the fete, such as Amal Clooney, who hadn't already been told."

The royal biography also appears to confirm that Meghan went past her due date of 28 April, something which is also never usually disclosed with the announcement of a royal pregnancy. At the time, Kensington Palace had said that the couple were expecting their first child in spring 2019.  

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Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, £13.60Amazon

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Meghan's birth plan revealed 

In the lead-up to Archie's arrival, it was reported that the Duchess had always planned to have a home birth. However, the biography claims "while Meghan was originally interested in a home birth, as she entered her final trimester, she chose to deliver in a hospital." A source told the book's authors that all Meghan "cared about was having the baby in the safest way possible." The tot was born at 5.26am on 6 May 2019 at the Portland Hospital in London. 

MORE: Meghan Markle's 'nervous' first meetings with the Queen and Prince William revealed

Harry and Meghan's first date

The couple were set up by a mutual friend and enjoyed a first date at Soho House's Dean Street Townhouse London in summer 2016. According to the authors of the book, conversation between the pair flowed easily as they enjoyed drinks together – a beer for Harry and a martini for Meghan. Tellingly, they were so engrossed in each other, they ignored the nibbles that had been left out for them.

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Harry and Meghan's first public appearance at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto

That first meeting lasted three hours, and the next day the couple reunited at the same Soho establishment for dinner. This time, further efforts were made to keep their date private. They entered via the staff entrance and were served by just one waiter the entire night. "Harry knew they would be together at that point," a friend shared. "She was ticking every box fast."

Later that summer, Harry whisked Meghan away on a surprise trip to Botswana.

Harry and Meghan's secret UK getaway

In the first few months of the pair dating, Harry and Meghan also enjoyed a stay at Babington House in Somerset, which was discreetly organised by their close friend and consultant for Soho House, Markus Anderson. The book says: "Harry and Meghan's accommodations included a roaring open fire and a butler – another secret getaway the press never found out about."

Where Harry met Meghan's mother Doria Ragland

According to Finding Freedom, Harry's first meeting with Meghan's mother Doria took place in Los Angeles at the home of Arthur Landon, one of the Prince's closest friends. Arthur, who is the son of the late brigadier, Tim Landon, offered Harry and Meghan the use of his LA home for a week so that the Prince could visit his girlfriend's native city. 

The book says that "Harry also wanted to impresss Meghan's mother when he first met her. Not with gifts, but through his words and actions."

Meghan's first meetings with the royal family

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The Queen and the Duchess pictured in 2018

The book shares details about Meghan's first meetings with the Queen and members of the royal family. The former actress met Her Majesty in 2017 at her private apartments. An extract reveals: "Despite a very brief encounter with Her Majesty earlier in the year ("she and Harry literally bumped into her," a source laughed), Meghan was still nervous to meet his grandmother – it would be the first time she was sitting down with the monarch as Harry's fiancée."

How Meghan told her friends about engagement

The book claims that the bride-to-be shared her exciting news with a "handful of close friends by texting them a photo of the ring." Harry proposed with a three-stone engagement ring, which consists of two diamonds from his late mother Princess Diana's personal collection, as well as a large central diamond sourced from Botswana. The couple broke the news to the world in November 2017.  

How Meghan spent her wedding eve

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Meghan and mother Doria on the eve of the royal wedding

The bride-to-be stayed at Cliveden House the night before her wedding to Harry with her mother Doria Ragland. She relaxed by getting a facial from skincare guru Sarah Chapman and distracted herself from family problems by FaceTiming one of her friends while she was in the bath.

Harry and Meghan's first dance

While the royal wedding was televised, the wedding reception took place privately with family and friends at Frogmore House in Windsor. New details about the party have been unveiled in the book, including Harry and Meghan's first dance as husband and wife. It says that the couple "were joyful on the big day – with their first dance to 'I'm in Love' by '60s soul singer Wilson Pickett. Meghan also delivered her own toast at the reception."

American soul singer Wilson Pickett had a number of hits, including In the Midnight Hour, Mustang Sally and Funky Broadway.

The name of Harry and Meghan's dog finally revealed

After much speculation, the name of the Sussexes' rescue dog has finally been revealed in Finding Freedom. The couple adopted a black Labrador in August 2018 and the pup's name is called Pula! The name has a particularly special meaning for Harry and Meghan. Not only is it the currency of Botswana, it also means "rain" in Setswana, because rain is very scarce in the country and is therefore seen as valuable and a blessing.

MORE: Princess Charlotte: when will the royal wear her first tiara?

Harry and Meghan's sweet gifts for Prince George and Princess Charlotte

According to the biography, Prince Harry gifted Prince George an electric SUV and Princess Charlotte a tricycle while he was living close to his brother and sister-in-law at Kensington Palace, back in 2017. The Duchess of Cambridge, meanwhile, is said to have sent Meghan flowers for her birthday after she tied the knot to Harry.

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Meghan and Kate exchanged some sweet gifts

Meghan is also said to have bought a present for Kate during their first meeting. The book states: "The soft leather Smythson notebook helped to break the ice, as did Meghan's cooing over then 20-month-old Charlotte."

Harry's private Instagram account

The Prince is said to have had a secret Instagram account at the time he started dating Meghan. According to Finding Freedom, shortly after her very first meeting with Harry, the actress started following a mysterious-looking account by the name of @SpikeyMau5 – belonging to Harry. The profile itself had no photo, rather a mouse-shaped helmet. The name was inspired by Harry's love of house music, and adopted part of the name of one of his favourite DJs – DeadMau5.

Meghan is said to have secretly communicated with Harry through her public Instagram posts. Following the couple's first solo dinner date together, she shared a photo of a Love Hearts sweet with the inscription 'Kiss me' and the caption, "Lovehearts in #London."

MORE: The real story behind Meghan Markle's hospital birth plan revealed

Meghan and Harry's holiday with the Clooneys

George and Amal Clooney were among the star-studded guests at Harry and Meghan's wedding in May 2018. The book claims that shortly after the royal wedding, George invited the couple to his home on Lake Como, arranging for them to travel there on his own private jet.

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George and Amal Clooney at the royal wedding 

A source told the authors: "Meghan and Amal spent a lot of time relaxing by the pool and playing with the twins while George and Harry checked out George's motorbike collection. Harry took one of them out with one of his protection officers. George recently had an accident, so he wasn't back on his bike yet."

The book adds: "The duke and duchess weren't the only guests that weekend. Eugenie and her fiancé, Jack Brooksbank, were already at the villa when Harry and Meghan arrived, their visits overlapping briefly." Jack works as a brand ambassador for Casamigos, a tequila company co-founded by George in 2013. 

Meghan and Harry's secret trip to Turkey in 2017

It's widely known that Harry and Meghan returned to Botswana a year into their relationship and to celebrate the actress' 36th birthday, but the couple had also managed to take another trip in summer 2017. The book reports that earlier that summer, "the couple escaped, completely undetected, to Turkey for a five-night stay at a private villa over-looking the Yalikavak Bay and surrounding mountains in Bodrum." 

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Meghan's Kismet by Milka 'Hamsa' ring

During their getaway, the biography shares details of their visit to a jewellery store that carried a designer that Meghan liked - Kismet by Milka. It adds that Harry later went back to the boutique to buy two pieces for his then-girlfriend, the Hamsa ring and yellow gold seed dots bracelet, which have been seen on the Duchess for her public engagements. 

Meghan questioned over personalised necklace

When the couple were in the early months of their romance, Meghan stepped out wearing a £164 delicate 14-carat gold chain bearing the initials "H" and "M" in December 2016. This piece of jewellery is an important piece of history in their relationship as at the time it confirmed to the world that the couple were indeed dating – and it was serious.

Whilst these pictures of the former actress excited fans, it seems it caused a bit of worry amongst palace aides, Omid and Carolyn write.

"She was advised that wearing such a necklace only served to encourage the photographers to keep pursuing such images — and new headlines," the duo reveal in their book.

The excerpt continues that Meghan "said little during the call, choosing instead to simply listen to the counsel. But after hanging up, she felt frustrated and emotional. While she knew the aide had good intentions, the surreal experience of having someone from her boyfriend's office tell her what kind of jewellery to wear or not to smile at a photographer was too much."

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