'Finding Freedom': Biggest Bombshells From the Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Tell-All

The new book documents the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's romance and exit from the royal family.

From the start of their whirlwind romance in 2016 to their decision to exit their roles as senior members of the royal family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's journey has been documented in the new tell-all book, Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of the Modern Royal Family. 

The book, written by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, provides an in-depth look into the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's royal courtship and the struggles they've faced in the spotlight.

Scobie recently told ET's Nischelle Turner that he spoke with 100 sources and friends of Harry and Meghan who were upset with how they were being treated in the media. 

"Harry and Meghan didn’t take part in the process or do any interviews," Scobie said to ET. "But my co-author and I found that many of the friends who agreed to speak were so frustrated of the coverage of their friends. They felt the people they were seeing on these pages were not their friends, the people they knew. This was a unique chance for us to put aside the story that wasn’t out there for others who want to hear it."

A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan released a statement ahead of the book's publication on Tuesday, saying, “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."

Here's a look at the most stand-out moments from Finding Freedom.

Meghan and Harry's First Encounter 

The two met in June 2016 on a blind date in London. Prior to the meeting, Meghan attended Wimbledon to cheer on her pal, Serena Williams. The authors said the former Suits actress noticed British actor Dominic Cooper in the VIP bar area at the sporting event and joked that she had a small crush on him. Meghan deliberated going over to Cooper but ultimately decided not to speak to him. Though many reported that Meghan's pal, Violet von Westenholz, set up her blind date with Harry, the book says it was designer Misha Nonoo and Markus Anderson who arranged their date. 

Meghan's First Marriage 

Before Harry, Meghan was married to producer Trevor Engelson for almost two years. The pair had dated for seven years prior to getting engaged. The book claimed Meghan felt Trevor wasn't always supportive of her acting career.

“He was used to being the breadwinner. The one Meghan needed for introductions in the industry,” a friend said of Meghan and Trevor's early courtship.

The two got married around the time Meghan landed her role on Suits. “Suddenly the dynamic was changing,” the friend continued. “And he didn’t like that.” 

Harry's First Impression of Meghan

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The 35-year-old royal was dazzled by his future bride. “Wow,” he later confessed to a friend, according to the book. “The most beautiful woman I’ve seen in my life.” 

As soon as Meghan got back to her hotel after first meeting the prince, she received lots of texts from him, which were short and full of emojis. His favorite seems to be the ghost emoji, which he often uses instead of a smiley face.

“He definitely didn’t hide the fact he was keen,” said one of Meghan's friends. “He wanted her to know he was very interested.”

The day after their date, Meghan reportedly called a friend, asking, “Do I sound crazy when I say this could have legs?”

Prince Harry's Secret Instagram Account 

Meghan began following an account called @SpikeyMau5, which featured just a mouse-shaped helmet for a profile pic. According to the book, this was Harry's private Instagram account. Harry reportedly named it after one of his favorite DJs, DeadMau5, and Spikey came from his previous supposed Facebook alias, Spike Wells.

Botswana Trip

For their third date, Harry and Meghan took a secret trip to Botswana, where they were mostly at a $1,957 per night deluxe tent. Harry was impressed that Meghan was able to rough it, camping under the stars some nights, only bringing one backpack, and going to the bathroom in the woods.

“Technically the getaway was just their third date,” said a friend to the authors about their trip to South Africa. “But by then, they were each already dancing around the idea that this just may be a forever thing.” 

First "I Love Yous"

A friend told the authors that the couple started saying "I love you" just three months into their relationship. Harry said it first, but Meghan quickly replied with, "I love you too." 

Their Romance Revealed

Harry and Meghan attended a Halloween party at Soho House with his cousin, Princess Eugenie, and her then-boyfriend, Jack Brooksbank. That evening the couple learned that The Sunday Express was planning to run the first story about their relationship and were rumored to have been tipped off by an employee of Eugenie and her father, Prince Andrew. The couple packed their things and went to hide at the home of Meghan's then-pal, Jessica Mulroney, the book noted. 

Meghan's First Meeting With Prince William

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She came prepared to be "grilled" by her boyfriend's brother, but instead, William reportedly said, “I was looking forward to meeting the girl who has put that silly grin on my brother’s face.”

Prince Harry's Statement

After news broke that Meghan and Harry were dating, the actress is said to have received lots of criticism in the press and stalking in her daily life. The authors wrote about how Harry was very upset by this and chose to put out a very personal statement, unlike any before.

At the time his father, Prince Charles, was on an official trip in Bahrain, but Harry refused to wait until he got home to release the statement. Charles was informed of the news 20 minutes before it went out and it dominated the news cycle, washing away any press surrounding his trip.

At the time, the book says Meghan asked, "Shouldn't we just ignore it?" Harry insisted on releasing the statement. 

Meghan's Accessory Mistake

According to the book, after Meghan was spotted wearing a necklace with the initials "H" and "M," a Kensington Palace aide called her, advising her against the decision as it would only encourage photographers.

"After hanging up, she felt frustrated and emotional" the book said. "While she knew the aide had good intentions, the surreal experience of having someone from her boyfriend's office tell her what kind of jewelry to wear or not to smile at a photographer was too much."

Meghan and Kate Middleton's First Meeting

Meghan and Kate's introduction took place in January 2017, and according to the authors, the Duchess of Cambridge "had seemingly not shown much interest in finding out who this woman was who had made her brother-in-law so happy." 

A friend described Kate in Finding Freedom as "extremely guarded," noting that any perceived coldness might not have had anything to do with Meghan. During their first meeting, Meghan gave Kate a soft leather Smythson notebook as a belated birthday gift and was "cooing" over the then-20-month-old Princess Charlotte.

"The meeting ended with Kate letting Meghan know that she was always welcome to contact her if she needed anything," the authors write. 

Harry and Meghan's Private Moments Photographed

The couple attended the Jamaica wedding of Harry's friend, Tom Inskip, in March 2017 at Montego Bay’s Round Hill Hotel. When paparazzi were discovered, the book revealed, "They were promptly tossed out of the resorts but not before capturing the couple in a steamy embrace on their private balcony and Meghan in her tiny swimsuits frolicking in the water with the prince."

"While Meghan was horrified by the intrusion, Harry was apoplectic. During a heated call to the palace, he laid out his instructions in no uncertain terms. These photos were not to see the light of day. 'Do whatever needs to be done,' the prince said."

Ultimately the photos were never published, but Harry was upset for days. "Although Meghan had never seen this side of Harry before, she wasn’t put off by it. Instead she was sad to see him so affected," the book noted. 

Pippa Middleton's Wedding

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Meghan had planned to attend the 2017 ceremony as Harry's date, even carefully picking out an outfit and Philip Treacy hat, the authors claimed. However, on the day of the wedding, a tabloid ran a story titled, "It’s Meghan v Pippa in… the Wedding of the Rears” comparing each of the women’s backsides. So they decided to not have Meghan attend and cause a media circus. Meghan quietly attended the wedding reception instead. 

Prince Harry Is Confronted by Prince William About the Speed of His Romance 

After some of Harry's close friends spoke out warning him of the speed of his romance, William also confronted his brother. “Don’t feel like you need to rush this,” William told Harry, according to sources in the book. “Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.” 

“Harry was pissed off,” another source said. “Pissed off that his brother would ask such a thing. Some felt it was an overreaction. But then this totally sums them up as people -- William the calm and rational one, and Harry who can’t help but take things far too personally.” 

The incident prompted a rift between the brothers. The book noted they went from always making time for each other to barely seeing one another. 

Meghan's Novelty Gift to Prince William:

The royals exchange whimsical gifts on Christmas Eve at Sandringham and Meghan was nervous at her first Christmas with the family. According to the book, "At least one of her gifts was a huge hit -- a spoon for William that had 'cereal killer' embossed on the shallow bowl end of the utensil."

Meghan's Faith

Though not widely discussed in public, the duchess' relationship with religion and her faith is revealed in this book. 

“Her relationship with God and with the church is extremely important to her,” a close friend told the authors. “That’s something most people don’t know about her. It plays a central role in her life, as an individual and as a woman.” 

Meghan didn’t grow up religious but rather found religion on her own. 

“Her relationship with God, her spirituality, is born out of her own individual experience,” said a friend in the book, who noted they have often prayed with Meghan. “When I talk about her faith being a part of her life, it’s her faith in God. It’s her faith in her family. Her faith in the people closest to her.”

The source also added that Meghan would gather the cast of Suits in a prayer circle before starting work. 

“It’s prayer and conversations with God that have gotten her through the darkest moments,” a source said. “That’s something that plays a significant role in her life and her relationship with Harry. The two have been on a journey of faith together.” 

Doria Ragland's New Friend, Oprah Winfrey

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When Meghan's mother was struggling with the sudden press scrutiny, she found a new friend in media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

“Oprah has been a friend and a help to someone [Doria] who’s been in a pretty extraordinary situation,” a source close to Meghan said in the book. “There are not many people who can understand the situations that Doria’s found herself in, so it’s great to be supported by someone who understands the pressure of being in the public eye.”

The authors wrote that Doria was able to turn to Oprah without fear of being used for an interview. "A senior palace aide had an honest conversation with Oprah before the wedding, where she assured them, 'That’s not what any of this is about." 

Harry and Meghan's Wild Second Wedding Reception

After a day of formality, the couple was ready to let loose. James Corden came in for some comedic relief dressed as Henry VIII. The couple's first dance song was to Wilson Pickett's "I'm in Love," and an American Southern band played hits including "My Girl" and "Soul Man." DJ Sam Totolee played for the A-list crowd, and Idris Elba took over for a one-hour set. 

Meghan and Harry’s Trip to Visit George and Amal Clooney

The couple enjoyed a three-day visit to the stars' Lake Cuomo home the summer after their wedding, with Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank also in attendance.

"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," the book noted. "Harry took one of them out with his protection officers. George recently had an accident, so he wasn’t back on his bike yet.” 

Meghan Never Made Kate Cry

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There were rumors that during the wedding dress fitting with the bridesmaids and pageboys, Meghan caused Kate to burst into tears. Finding Freedom claimed this never happened. A source, who was at the mid-May fitting, said those in attendance found the stories of tears to be "puzzling." 

“Some of the children weren’t cooperating and there was a lot going on. Everyone tried to help where they could, but it’s never easy with kids at fittings. There were no tears from anyone. And in the end, the fitting was fine," the source said. "Kate and Meghan were both a little stressed, but professionals in the room."

Aides from both royal households confirmed to the authors of the book that there was no tearful dress fitting. 

Brotherly Qualms

A lot of the issues between Harry and William stem from money, the book claimed. The brothers had to try to get their father, Prince Charles, to fund their projects and endeavors as well as expenses, like Kate and Meghan's wardrobes.

“While Charles may be a father to Harry, he’s also their boss, and that makes their relationship complex for a number of reasons,” a source said in the book. “Where you are born in this family dictates your position of power, and because of that, Harry has always come second to his brother, especially when it comes to funding. There were times in the past when Harry wanted to take on bigger projects and do more work, but he couldn’t get the money to support it. William was always the priority. A lot of their quarrels have been over budgets.” 

Charles' 70th Birthday Photos Did Not Go As Planned

Apparently William and Harry weren't keen on getting together to take a family photo with their dad for his 70th birthday in 2018. “The boys can be hot and cold with their father,” disclosed a source, who gave the example of planning the photo session for Charles’ 70th birthday, which they called, according to the book, “an absolute nightmare.”

“Neither William nor Harry made much of an effort to make themselves available,” the source said. 

Hacked Photos of the Royals Are Released on Tumblr

A computer programmer in Russia hacked a storage account of unseen photos by photographer Alexi Lubomirski of Harry, Meghan and the royals, including Queen Elizabeth II, from the couple's engagement session and their wedding reception. The "unflattering" images were released on Tumblr and most people thought they were fake.

Harry and Meghan were “alarmed to hear that it was so easy to get such personal files of theirs,” a source close to the couple said in the book. “The whole situation was a wake-up call for them.” 

Meghan's Reaction to Beyonce and JAY-Z's Praise

When the Duchess of Sussex learned that Beyonce and JAY-Z had honored her at the BRIT Awards by posing in front of a portrait of her in a crown, she shared her excitement with her makeup artist, Daniel Martin.

“I think all I wrote was, ‘Girl,’” said Daniel, who attached the video of the Carters in front of the regal portrait of Meghan in a crown by illustrator Tim O’Brien. “She wrote me back, like, the big-eye emoji.” 

Archie's Birth Plan

Though Meghan had originally considered a home birth, she ended up giving birth at a hospital in London.

“I know there were stories about a home birth, and it was certainly something that was discussed early on, but Meg knew it would be a hospital birth for a few months. All she cared about was having the baby in the safest way possible," a source said in the book. "She was more and more nervous as she approached the due date, so I would say in some ways it was a relief for her to be doing it in a traditional hospital.” 

Meghan's First Reaction to Becoming a Mother

The new mom was over the moon about her little guy. “Archie was alert as soon as he arrived -- eyes wide open,” a friend said in the book. “Meghan described the moment she first held Archie as ‘ecstasy… total bliss and contentment.’”

Despite what they told the press and well-wishers, the couple had known all along they were having a boy and had the name ready. It took several days for the public to know Archie's name for a special reason. The couple wanted to tell the Queen first and get her approval. "This wasn’t out of ceremonial necessity but simply because Harry was respectful of his grandmother," the authors wrote.

Thomas Markle Learns of His Grandson

Meghan asked her mom, Doria, to message her estranged father about the birth of Archie so he would find out before the rest of the world. But she didn't want to know if her father ever replied to her mother's text, according to the book. 

Archie's Night Nurse Scare

The couple hired a night nurse but fired her in the middle of her second night on the job for "being unprofessional and irresponsible." They hired a second night nurse who did well, "but because of the incident with the first nurse, neither found themselves comfortable sleeping through the night without going to check on Archie regularly," Finding Freedom claimed. 

They ended up tending to the night feedings and wakings themselves and hiring a nanny during the day.  

Royal Exit

When Harry and Meghan released their statement that they were stepping down from their roles as senior members of the royal family, it was their website detailing their departure that caught Queen Elizabeth and palace aides off guard after they had coordinated the announcement.

According to the book, "Flustered Buckingham Palace aides ditched their original statement and put out a short media release 15 minutes after the Sussexes released theirs."

Prince Harry's Hardest Pill to Swallow

The toughest part of his departure from the royal family for Harry has been being stripped of honorary military appointments.

“That’s been a tough pill to swallow, and one that has been the most painful for Meghan to witness him go through,” a source close to the couple said. “It’s the one that made Harry emotional.”

Harry is later quoted as saying he's "devastated" when talking to a major. 

“It was so unnecessary,” Meghan later told a friend of the decision to strip Harry of his military titles, according to the book. “And it’s not just taking something away from him; it’s also the entire military veteran community. You can see how much he means to them, too. So why? The powers [of the institution] are unfortunately greater than me.” 

For more from Harry and Meghan, watch the clip below.