There’s someone named Gyles Brandreth and he’s written yet another royal book, this one called Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait. Brandreth was apparently close friends with Prince Philip, and I’m sure we’ll have many excerpts from his book in the coming days. Some of the first headlines from the book are about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and what Queen Elizabeth II apparently thought of their comings and goings. This isn’t the most significant part, but it is hilariously British, so enjoy:
Whenever the names of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex come up in court circles, courtiers flinch and change the subject or refer to them as ‘persons who live overseas’. If Harry and Meghan are mentioned to members of the Royal Family, they simply smile briefly and say ‘we wish them all the best’ and nothing else.
“Persons who live overseas,” please – these people are so salty. Courtiers can’t even pay lip service to “the PRINCE who lives in AMERICA.” I bet that’s not all the courtiers call the Sussexes either. I’m sure there are any number of racist slurs thrown around all the time.
Anyway, Brandreth also claims that Harry heard that his grandmother’s health was declining earlier this year, and that’s why he delayed the publication of his memoir (there is no evidence for that, but sure). He also claims that QEII wasn’t mad that Harry decided to write a book at all. Which I believe – Charles, William and their staffs are the ones freaking about Spare, it was never QEII. Brandreth also wrote about the Sussexes’ choice to name their daughter Lilibet:
The Royal Family found it “bewildering” and “rather presumptuous” when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry called their daughter Lilibet, a book has claimed. But the Queen said the name was “very pretty and seems just right”, biographer Gyles Brandreth suggested.
He wrote: “According to the Sussexes, Harry sought his grandmother’s permission to use her family nickname as the Christian name for her 11th great-grandchild. The Queen’s recollection was a little different. According to the Queen, Harry told her the Sussexes wanted to call the baby ‘Lilibet’ in her honour and she accepted their choice with good grace, taking it as the compliment it was intended to be. Others in the family found the choice ‘bewildering’ and ‘rather presumptuous’, given that ‘Lilibet’ as a name had always been intimately and exclusively the Queen’s. Later, the Queen said: ‘I hear they’re calling her “Lili”, which is very pretty and seems just right.’”
He added that the Queen was “devoted” to Harry and “she truly wished him well in his new life abroad”.
But he also wrote in his book: “The only concern the Queen let slip in the early days of the Sussexes’ marriage was to wonder to a friend if Harry wasn’t ‘perhaps a little over-in-love’. This was as far as she came – to my knowledge at least – to ever uttering a word against the new Duchess of Sussex.”
He makes a point of saying “Recollections may vary” about Lilibet’s name and then proceeds to admit that the Sussexes absolutely told QEII about the name choice ahead of time and she thought it was a sweet tribute? I always believed that Harry did tell his grandmother about his daughter’s name ahead of time and she said “oh, that’s nice” and didn’t tell her courtiers about it. I still think the courtiers were the ones having the freakout and they didn’t want to admit that QEII hadn’t informed them. As for QEII worrying that Harry was “a little over-in-love” – I can actually see that being a concern within the family. That Harry fell hard and fast with Meghan and he was making “rash” decisions. But for Charles and William, that concern quickly morphed into “the Sussexes’ relationship is based on mutual respect, loyalty, true love and passion and it doesn’t resemble our marriages at all, ATTACK!”
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red,Cover Images, Misan Harriman for the Sussexes.