How Meghan Markle's Vanity Fair Cover in 2017 Mentioning Prince Harry Sparked Royal Outrage

The tale's part of royal biographer Tom Bower's new book, 'Revenge: Meghan, Harry, and the War Between the Windsors.’

Meghan Markle's excitement about gracing the cover of Vanity Fair for its October 2017 issue dissipated almost immediately after it hit newsstands, sparking outrage and disdain from the actress and the royal family.

This tale is part of royal biographer Tom Bower's new book, Revenge: Meghan, Harry, and the War Between the Windsors, and in excerpts published by The Times of London, the British author explains that Markle was given explicit instructions on what she could and could not mention for the high-profile story.

Bower, a prominent investigative journalist in the UK, claims the Duchess of Sussex was given strict orders to steer away from several sensitive subjects: Donald Trump, race and her relationship with Prince Harry. In fact, Bower claims it was Harry's public relations team that insisted Harry not be mentioned in the interview. 

The interview, instead, was to focus on Meghan's philanthropy and the celebration of the 100th episode of her hit USA show Suits. But, inevitably, she was asked about her relationship with Harry, prompting Meghan to say, "We're a couple. We're in love."

When the magazine came out, the headline that read over Meghan's photo read, "She’s Just Wild About Harry! Meghan Markle and the Sudden Glare of the Spotlight That comes with Being Prince Harry’s Girl."

Vanity Fair

That headline apparently triggered anger from Meghan and brought chaos inside Buckingham Palace. Bower explains in the book, out July 21, that Meghan unleashed her wrath on her U.S. public relations company, Sunshine Sachs, which had also made its demands to Vanity Fair crystal clear. But there was one problem.

"Sunshine Sachs had demanded that the magazine satisfy Meghan's requirement that she be presented as a philanthropist and activist, without considering one problem: Vanity Fair's scrupulous researchers could find no evidence of her global philanthropy and activism," Bower writes in the book.

As far as the royals were concerned, Bowers writes that the interview all but sealed how they felt about Meghan.

"The interview triggered sensational reactions," Bower writes. "Meghan had used her relationship with Harry to promote herself. The Hollywoodisation of the royal family sealed Meghan's fate as Harry's fiancée."

In another excerpt, also published by The Times of London, Bower describes Queen Elizabeth II as relieved when she found out Meghan would not be attending Prince Phillip's funeral service in April 2021. Meghan, at the time, was seven months pregnant with daughter, Lilibet. 

According to Bower, Her Majesty told her most trusted aides, "Thank goodness Meghan is not coming." What's more, Bower claims Elizabeth expressed exactly how she felt "in a clear voice."

The published excerpts come just days before Harry and Meghan visit New York City on Monday for the grand celebration at the United Nations building and join the UN General Assembly to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day on July 18.