Royal reporters Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie's new book Finding Freedom has provided the most intimate portrait yet of what Meghan Markle and Prince Harry went through during their years dating and as newly-married working royals. The authors also managed to get some new, intimate details about their son Archie and how the couple's first year with him went.
Here, the biggest revelations.
Meghan and Harry knew Archie's gender before he was born.
In fact, Meghan quietly revealed to her friends at her baby shower that she was expecting a baby boy. In February 2019, ELLE.com learned from sources close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that Harry and Meghan had found out the sex of their newborn, but the couple has elected to keep it a surprise from the public.
Meghan was eight days overdue with Archie and had planned on a hospital birth for months.
A friend called them "the longest eight days of her life! But her patience and calm were amazing during that time—she just said, 'The baby will come when it comes.' And that was that."
A source told the authors that Meghan "knew it would be a hospital birth for a few months" despite discussions of home birth early on. "All she cared about was having the baby in the safest way possible," the source said. "She was more and more nervous as she approached the due date, so I would say in some ways it was relief for her to be doing it in a traditional hospital."
Meghan additionally never considered giving birth at Lindon Wing, opting to give birth at Portland Hospital instead. Meghan had an "uncomplicated" birth and did not deliver by C-section. She "took the advice" of the doctors, source said.
Meghan's first moments with Archie were "total bliss."
A friend told Durand and Scobie that "Archie was alert as soon as he arrived—eyes wide open. Meghan described the moment she first held Archie as 'ecstasy…total bliss and contentment.'"
A trusted confidant added that "like any new mother, you can’t fully know what to expect until you have been through it."
Meghan and Harry chose Archie's name during the final week of her pregnancy.
A source revealed that Meghan and Harry knew days before Archie's birth what his name would be. "They thought about Archibald for all of one second," a friend of the couple said with a laugh. “He was always going to be little Archie.” His nicknames over his first year alive were "Arch" and "Bubba."
Meghan called her first day with Archie a "pinch-me moment."
Meghan texted friends after Archie's birth, calling their first day a "pinch-me" moment and marveling over how well-behaved he was. "He’s barely cried. He’s an angel," Meghan said.
Archie was also a quiet baby, with Meghan telling a friend that Archie slept so quietly she sometimes wanted him to make noise so she knew he was okay.
Meghan was not amused by the British press's demands to see her son.
"The same people who have been abusing me want me to serve my child on a silver platter," she told a friend, according to Scobie and Durand, around the time of his christening. "A child who is not going to bed protected and eons’t have a title. How does that make sense? Tell that to any mother in the world."
Archie is already a tall baby.
While Meghan and Harry were in Canada, Meghan told friends that her son, “he’s in the ninetieth percentile for height."
Archie loves being read to and secretly went to baby-and-me classes with Meghan.
Durand and Scobie report that Archie’s favorite book back in October was Is Your Mama a Llama? While Archie lived with his parents at Frogmore Cottage, Meghan took him to classes, like the Happy Clappy music class in Windsor. "All the moms, and two dads, in the room were wide-eyed as the Duchess of Sussex joined their circle with Archie, who went straight for a tambourine and, according to his mom, 'loved it,'" Scobie and Durand wrote.
The authors also reported that in the summer of 2019, Archie was already taking baby swimming classes. During the couple's October tour of South Africa, Archie was "mimicking the sound of animals during their stay at the high commissioner’s residence in Cape Town," the authors wrote.
Meghan sent Harry photos and videos of Archie to lift his spirits while he was negotiating their royal exit.
Back in January 2020 when Harry was in England negotiating his and Meghan's stepping back from their senior royal family roles, Meghan remained in Canada with their son Archie. She would send him photos, Durand and Scobie reported, to try to cheer Harry up, including a video of the first time Archie saw snow.
Harry was focused on “making things right for his own little family,” a source close to the couple told the authors. “This is tearing him apart. He loves the Queen, but his wife feels aggrieved, and he adores his son. Harry’s whole world is Archie. He’s the most amazing father.”
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