Omid Scobie: We wanted to tell the other side of the story
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The latest edition of Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s book “Finding Freedom” has drawn criticism from royal fans, after it was released on the 24th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. Radio host and royal commentator Julia Hartley-Brewer claimed the book was “really cynical” and alluded to the allegation that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had collaborated with the authors on the unofficial biography. The Sussexes have denied having any role in the book and have distanced themselves from the latest edition, saying its authors, who rely on unnamed sources, do not speak on their behalf.
Finding Freedom was first released in August 2020, and detailed the journey of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from their courtship to their eventual departure from the Royal Family.
An updated version was released on August 31 of this year, which included information about the couple’s Oprah interview and their current strained relationship with their royal relatives.
Julia Hartley-Brewer told Palace Confidential: “It’s incredibly calculated and I think it’s really tacky.
“Anyone who has lost a close family member will remember the date that they died. The idea that somehow no one could recollect what day Diana died to mark the publication of the book, I think it’s really cynical and really, really tacky.
“I think they keep doing things like this and allowing things like this to happen and I think this is really digging away at the foundation of their claims to be victims themselves.
“They are looking like rather conniving, sort of users at the moment.”
Following the book’s release last year, it emerged that close friends of the couple had been given permission to co-operate with the authors.
However, the couple have denied any involvement with the latest edition, which includes details about Prince Philip’s funeral, their Oprah interview and their organisation Archewell.
Kate Mansey, the assistant editor of the Mail on Sunday and royal expert, said: “You do wonder what’s going on within the Cambridges household at the moment, I suspect it’s exasperation at the Sussexes.
“Who knows whether the Sussexes had any hand in it, and it’s probably the publishers just rubbing their hands together and thinking this will be a good hook to re-release the new Finding Freedom.
“It does seem cynical, certainly from the publishing money-making point of view, but this is the whole problem with the Sussexes – it’s all about making money and establishing their brand.”
While the couple have denied involvement in Omid Scobie’s updated book, Prince Harry is set to release his own memoir in the autumn of 2022.
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The memoir promises to give an “accurate and wholly truthful” account of his life, covering his childhood, military career, public life and his new role as a father.
It is being published through Penguin Random House, and proceeds from the book sales will be distributed amongst the Duke’s charities.
Royal sources have suggested that the book will place a heavy emphasis on the death of Princess Diana. Prince Harry has spoken on numerous occasions of the deep impact his mother’s sudden death had on his mental health, telling Oprah there was “no justice” in what happened to her.
Princess Diana was killed in a car accident on August 31, 1997, at the age of 36. She and her new partner Dodi Fayed were being pursued by the paparazzi in Paris when their vehicle eventually lost control.
At the time of her death, Prince Harry was only 12 years old.
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