Tom Bower’s Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors continues to be excerpted in the British media. The excerpts were everywhere this weekend, as were the receipts blasting many of the lies and false claims Bower put in his book. Everything from “Meghan’s not really friends with Serena Williams” to “Meghan doesn’t have a history of activism” have been widely dismissed as factually inaccurate, just blatant lies. Unlike other royal books – like, say, Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers or Robert Lacey’s Battle of Brothers – Bower’s book feels much more decentralized to the royal courts. I’m sure aides in Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House all leaked to Bower, but so much of what I’ve seen from Bower’s book just sounds like highly selective tabloid fictions being dressed up as historical revisionism. One of the stories making the rounds is about how Prince Harry’s friends hated Meghan immediately because she… didn’t like their sexist, misogynistic and transphobic “jokes.”
Soon after Harry and Meghan’s relationship was revealed, Harry invited Meghan to join his weekend shoot at Sandringham. With the Queen’s permission he had invited 16 friends to arrive for dinner on Friday night, shoot on Saturday and leave after lunch on Sunday. Most of the guests were old friends from Eton with their wives or girlfriends. All of them were employed by international banks and auction houses or were estate owners and racehorse trainers. All were bonded by common assumptions, principles and loyalties.
Like other shooting weekends, Harry was looking forward to endless banter, jokes — and a lot of drinking. He had not anticipated Meghan’s reaction. Their jokes involving sexism, feminism and transgender people ricocheted around the living-rooms and dining-rooms. Without hesitation, Meghan challenged every guest whose conversation contravened her values. According to some of Harry’s friends, again and again she reprimanded them about the slightest inappropriate nuance. Nobody was exempt. Harry’s world would not be her world.
Beyond Harry’s hearing, some friends questioned Meghan’s “wokery”. Meghan was a dampener on the party, they concluded. She lacked any sense of humour. Driving home after Sunday lunch, the texts pinged between the cars: “OMG what about HER?” said one; “Harry must be f***ing nuts.”
A seminal moment occurred during the couple’s trip to Jamaica in March 2017 to celebrate the marriage of Tom “Skippy” Inskip, Harry’s Etonian friend who had been present in Las Vegas during Harry’s nude romp. Harry flew premium economy from London; Meghan arrived from Toronto in a friend’s private jet.
About 40 guests, including Harry’s oldest friends, gathered for the three-day party at the Round Hill Hotel in Montego Bay. Some of the parents in attendance fondly remembered giving Harry cottage pie and comfort during his teenage years. The close-knit group keenly anticipated meeting Meghan. They were quickly disappointed. Not only did she quibble about the food, but behaved “princessy”, refusing to engage with Harry’s friends, some said. “She wasn’t interested in us,” said one mother.
Since this was the first important event Meghan and Harry had appeared at together, there was certain to be media interest. Secluded in the resort’s most isolated villa, Harry spotted a photographer in the bushes. He became incandescent. Harry’s friends were puzzled by his violent outburst considering the frequency of similar previous incidents in his life. Their suspicion of Meghan increased; the sentiment was mutual. Meghan disliked Inskip and his crowd. Their jokes and their attitude towards the world seemed unacceptable to her.
“All of them were employed by international banks and auction houses or were estate owners and racehorse trainers…” And they, the future leaders of Britain, gathered together to make crass, offensive jokes at the expense of women, feminists, trans people? Meghan probably shuddered, thinking about how if she wasn’t there, they would also be making racist jokes as well. In fact, I bet they did, even with her there. I bet she was the only person of color there and it must have been awful for her. So she was just like “f–k it, I’m going to tell these people off whenever they say sh-t.” I mean, that’s if you believe this version of events. It’s well known that Harry did cut off some of his old friends when he fell for Meghan. It was widely assumed that the friends who were cut off said sh-t about Meghan publicly or privately. Maybe this shooting party was the moment, or who knows.
Photos courtesy of WENN.