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Revenge: Meghan, Harry, and the War Between the Windsors
Revenge: Meghan, Harry, and the War Between the Windsors
Revenge: Meghan, Harry, and the War Between the Windsors
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Revenge: Meghan, Harry, and the War Between the Windsors

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This instant #1 internationally bestselling “explosive tell-all” (Daily Express, London) reveals the inside story about Meghan Markle’s journey from minor actress and attempted activist to the woman powerful enough to drive a wedge within the British Royal Family.

After a childhood spent on Hollywood film sets, Meghan Markle fought hard for stardom. But even when she landed her breakthrough role on Suits, her dream of worldwide celebrity remained elusive until she met the man who would change her life—Prince Harry. Their whirlwind romance culminated with Meghan’s ultimate fairy tale ending: their 2018 wedding at Windsor Castle. Finally, the world was her stage.

It seemed that the dizzying success of the wedding between the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex marked the beginning of a fresh era for the British Royal Family. Yet, within one tumultuous year, the dream became a nightmare. In the aftermath of the infamous Megxit split and their Oprah Winfrey interview, the increasingly toxic relationship between the two Windsor sides seemed forever ruptured.

What does the future hold for Meghan and Harry? And can the rest of the Windsors restore their reputation?

Now, with extensive research and exclusive insider interviews, Britain’s leading investigative biographer unravels the tangled web of courtroom drama, courtier politics, and thwarted childhood dreams to reveal this “bombshell” (The Mirror, London) story of love, betrayal, secrets, deceit, and revenge.
LanguageEnglish
PublisherAtria Books
Release dateAug 25, 2022
ISBN9781668022108
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Author

Tom Bower

Tom Bower has a distinguished reputation as an investigative historian, broadcaster and journalist and is the author of several ground-breaking books about tycoons. His most recent works are ‘Conrad and Lady Black’, ‘The Squeeze’ and his biographies of Simon Cowell and Bernie Ecclestone. Among his other much-debated biographies are those of Mohammed Fayed, Richard Branson and Robert Maxwell.

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Rating: 3.3076923076923075 out of 5 stars
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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Listened to most of this narrated with his own sharp asides by H.G. Tudor on YouTube before it was taken down. Fast-paced, well-researched gossipy biography of Meghan, exposing her lies, narcissism & shameless self-promotion. A fascinating read about a woman with a total lack of conscience, whose self-centredness enjoys telling her ‘truth’ and has no problems with that bearing no reality to the truth or what she has espoused 5 minutes before. Fascinating character study.

    1 person found this helpful

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Very very well written account of Meghan Markle- from indulged child and teen to seriously shallow but utterly self important social climber. And then the fateful hook up with the gullible Prince..I guess we already knew a lot of this, but Tom Bower collates all the snippets, interviews those around her - and, indeed, gives us a good picture of her pre-Harry. Doria Ragland had a more troubled past than I'd realised. Meghan (and Harry)'s incandescent rage at OTHERS using the media to tell their story (while they themselves do so constantly); the "racism" card being - tediously- employed, when anything stands in her way, and the pair's delusion that they have Something Useful to share with the world (from their ivory tower of "mental illness" and virtue-signalling twaddle ) REALLY became evident.Others have commented on Bower's saying little about the children. But there is a question of whether he might write a sequel as more facts emerge...

    1 person found this helpful

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Revenge - Tom Bower

Cover: Revenge, by Tom Bower

The Instant #1 International Bestseller

Revenge

Tom Bower

Meghan, Harry, and the War Between the Windsors

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Revenge, by Tom Bower, Atria

To Tom Mangold

Preface

She had arrived. She was in the spotlight. The excited crowd cheered – and some screamed. Dozens of lenses zoomed in – and shutters clicked. Dignitaries bowed and some fawned. Helicopters buzzed overhead. Bodyguards hovered. Police were everywhere. Unexpectedly, Meghan-mania exploded. Finally, Meghan Markle was idolised. Her lifelong ambition was being fulfilled.

On a frosty morning on 1st December, 2017, the television star glowed. Just as her new fiancé promised, she had inherited the iconic mantle of his mother, Princess Diana. From the moment she stepped out of the gleaming black Range Rover at 11:05am, the British showed their love for the 36-year-old American actress.

Nottingham is a city 130 miles north of London, famous for its associations with the Robin Hood legend. It was an unusual choice of location to introduce Meghan Markle as the Royal Family’s latest member. The East Midlands city could not rival California’s sun-kissed beaches, but that was a temporary irrelevance for the citizen from Los Angeles during her slow 400-yard walk through the Lace Market towards the civic centre.

‘It’s warmer over there,’ she laughingly agreed with Cori Burns, one of a thousand people who had waited for two hours. From her pocket, Meghan thrust a handwarmer to an Australian student who had complained of the cold.

Nearby, Harry’s smile was irrepressible. Meghan’s hand frequently rubbed his back and squeezed his elbow. Her constant smile and animated greetings were examples of Hollywood at its best. A brief kiss by the couple sparked hysteria. Theirs, agreed the onlookers, was a match made in heaven.

Flowers, cards, a teddy bear, chocolates, two fridge-magnets and bags of local memorabilia were thrust at the visitors. ‘Meghan came over and I just put my arms around her,’ swooned 81-year-old Irene Hardman, a royal super-fan. ‘It’s so lovely to meet you,’ Hardman told the future duchess. ‘I’m sure you are going to have a lovely life with him. Look after him for us.’

‘You’re so sweet,’ replied Meghan, unaware that her hugs and poses for selfies were banned by royal etiquette. ‘I cried afterwards,’ admitted Hardman. ‘She’s wonderful. They’re so genuine.’

‘She’s seems like such a lovely, lovely person,’ Sian Roberts gushed to a NBC News camera. ‘I think she’s going to be a really good thing for the Royal Family.’ Close by, an ABC News reporter was babbling about ‘pop-star frenzy’. Unsurprisingly, many Americans were fascinated by their new association with the Crown.

Even Raushana Nurzhubalina, a student from Kazakhstan, was mesmerised. She had set her alarm-clock for 6am to get a prime spot. ‘It’s such a honour to see the royals,’ she told BBC TV. ‘I’m also a fan of Suits, so it’s a chance to see a star of that, too.’

‘We need magic at the moment,’ an admirer shouted at a journalist as the confident American and Harry greeted the Acting Lady Mayoress, Bell Edis. ‘I’m sure you could be the People’s Princess,’ said the 70-year-old civic leader. ‘Harry’, Edis noticed, ‘chuckled and smiled with his cheeky grin. I’d said the right thing.’

‘Congratulations!’ shouted a group of women. Four days earlier, the couple had announced their engagement. Breaking tradition, the Queen had agreed Meghan should be fast-tracked into ‘The Firm’. ‘This is the country that’s going to be her home now,’ said the prince’s spokesman, Jason Knauf. ‘That means travelling around, getting to know the towns and cities.’ The visit to Nottingham was the beginning of a six-month tour of Britain.

Britain’s tabloid journalists noted Meghan’s trendy clothes: a Canadian navy-blue cashmere coat, an Austrian black turtleneck, a British beige chino skirt and boots, and a Scottish tote bag. ‘Just how you would imagine a modern princess to look,’ swooned a fashion aficionado. Hours after the list of her outfits was published, their manufacturers reported a sell-out of stocks. That news pleased Jessica Mulroney, Meghan’s Canadian stylist and friend. And a creative director of a London designer said ‘Meghan’s personal style has an effortless ease that personifies her character’. Inevitably, commentators compared Meghan with the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate came off unfavourably.

During that day, all the boxes were ticked. Visits to an HIV centre, an institute giving health information to local Africans, a group providing advice on nutrition, and Nottingham Contemporary, a centre for ‘love, life and health’. The itinerary foreshadowed the routine life Meghan could expect as a member of the Royal Family. AIDS sufferers, Meghan was reminded, were a particular target of Diana’s charity work. Following in Diana’s footsteps was particularly important for both Harry and Meghan.

After nightfall the couple were back in Kensington Palace, sleeping in Harry’s home, which was appropriately called Nottingham Cottage. Meghan voiced no regrets or foreboding about her new life. On the contrary, she was thrilled. For years, her destiny had been to be distinct from the crowd. Repeatedly frustrated after leaving college, she was never deterred by failure. Now her tenacity had been rewarded. Her lucky break had miraculously materialised. Marrying an English prince was an unexpected prize for someone seeking the American Dream – to rise from obscurity to respectable prosperity.

An essential ingredient of her trajectory had been that her story should be told on her terms. Controlling the narrative was essential to her success. As Oscar Wilde wrote, ‘The truth is rarely pure, and never simple.’

The Royal Family would soon discover that Meghan Markle’s expectations and ambitions might be rather different from what they, and the enthusiastic British public, were anticipating. During those first blissful weeks only hardened cynics asked whether it might even be possible that the thousand-year monarchy could be jeopardised by this unknown American actress.

CHAPTER 1

Thomas

‘It was love at first sight,’ Thomas Markle said after Rachel Meghan Markle, his youngest daughter, was born on 4th August, 1981 at the West Park hospital in Canoga Park, Los Angeles. The 37-year-old father proudly held the newborn baby, who he repeatedly called Flower.¹

Doria Markle, his 24-year-old wife, was sleeping, comatose after her anaesthetic for the Caesarean birth. Once Doria awoke to discover she had a daughter she pronounced her name should be Rachel. Thomas preferred Meghan. As a compromise, she was called Rachel Meghan. Within days Rachel was forgotten. In Celtic Irish, Meghan means Brave Warrior; in Welsh it means pearl.

During Meghan’s first weeks her father redecorated the family bathroom in their comfortable three-storey house in Woodward Hills with angels and fairies. ‘The look on his face was priceless,’ recalled Tom Junior, his son from a previous marriage. Watching Thomas hold Meghan, Tom Junior could see his father was smitten: ‘My dad was more in love with her than anyone else in the world and that included Doria. She became his whole life, his little princess.’

While Thomas endlessly photographed his daughter, he agreed with Doria that baby Meghan should get everything she wanted. Even as a baby, any sign of her displeasure should be instantly placated by gifts. Worshipped, their daughter would be endlessly reassured that she was special. Her parents’ unconditional love inevitably shaped Meghan’s character and personality.

Thomas and Doria had met in 1977 at the ABC film studios in Los Angeles. Thirty-three years old, Thomas had just been nominated for an Emmy as the lighting director of the daytime TV soap General Hospital. Unsurprisingly, he spotted Doria, a slim, beautiful, Black 21-year-old trainee make-up artist with a nose-stud.

After a few weeks, Doria moved into Thomas’s untidy family home. ‘I’m not the neatest of men,’ Thomas admitted. Among papers, memorabilia and furniture, he was bringing up two adolescent children from a previous marriage, Tom Junior and Samantha. Doria found the set-up challenging. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was good. Tom Junior recalled how the Markles celebrated Thanksgiving with Doria’s grandfather, mother and half-brother. ‘It was really warm and inclusive,’ Tom Junior recalled. ‘The kind of family I had always wanted.’²

Their decision to marry on 23rd December, 1979 was unusual. At the time fewer than one white American man in a thousand was married to a Black woman. ‘When I married Doria,’ recalled Thomas, ‘people asked, What colour will your baby be? I said, I don’t know and I don’t care.³

On reflection, Thomas became aware that in mixed-race marriages, their child’s colour becomes an issue of self-identity for the parents. And the issue is discussed before the birth.

Thomas promised Doria kindness and stability, especially after she did not qualify as a make-up artist. All was set for Thomas to start a new life. ‘I like to think,’ Meghan wrote in 1990 aged eight, ‘he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques.’

From the outset, however, the prospects of a long, happy union were uncertain. Twelve years younger than Thomas, Doria lived in her own world. Immersed in the teaching of a Hindu yoga guru and mystical religions, she insisted on being married by a Buddhist priest, Brother Bhaktananda in the Self-Realisation Fellowship Temple, a replica Indian temple on Sunset Boulevard. Thomas happily went along with his wife’s choice. ‘I loved Doria,’ Thomas said. ‘I didn’t think how long it would last. I gave it a go because I wanted a child. This was the first child I could afford. I didn’t have enough money for the other two.’

To make life easier, Thomas rented a big house in a quiet cul-de-sac in Woodward Hills, a white middle-class residential area lined with eucalyptus trees near the Bell Canyon parkland. Photographs taken soon after Meghan’s birth recorded a happy family. Sitting at a table of food cooked by Doria, Thomas held Meghan surrounded by Tom Junior and Samantha.

Their happiness was short-lived. Once Thomas resumed working 18-hour shifts, cracks in his relationship with Doria appeared. Meghan’s parents were clearly incompatible.

Before arriving at the ABC studios, Doria had helped her father sell bric-a-brac and then she moved around California trying to be a travel agent, an importer and finally a clothing designer before finding a permanent job. Thomas says she was employed by a boyfriend to prune marijuana plants in Humboldt County. After stripping the leaves and stems, her boyfriend supplied customers across Los Angeles. As Thomas ruefully recalled, everyone in Hollywood at that time, including himself, was smoking and taking drugs, not just at home but also in restaurants and even at the Academy Awards.

In Thomas’s absence at work, Tom Junior smoked cannabis with his friends in the house. Doria also regularly smoked cannabis with women friends and sometimes Jeffrey, a friend from her high school days. Doria sympathised with Tom Junior’s particular problem. As part of California’s integration policy he was bussed, without choice, one hour across Los Angeles to an all-Black school. Regularly, the ginger-haired boy was beaten up by other pupils. For one year Doria urged the local education authority to accept that he experienced sufficient diversity at home. Eventually his anguish was ended, but the damage to his education was beyond repair.

There was no similar rapport between Doria and Samantha. Doria had begun to sell jewellery. Her new company, Three Cherubs, irked Samantha. The ‘three’ represented Doria, Thomas and Meghan. ‘Why isn’t it the Five Cherubs?’ Samantha asked. Increasingly jealous of Meghan and already frustrated about the difficulties of becoming an actress, Samantha, now 13, told Thomas that Doria’s housekeeping was unsatisfactory.

Doria was, according to Samantha, ordering her stepdaughter to clean the house. Samantha’s resentment grew as Doria increasingly partied in the family home with girlfriends or drove back to Humboldt County to smoke marijuana.

‘Doria changed after we married,’ admitted Thomas Markle. ‘I didn’t realise she would still smoke so much weed.’ Even when Samantha returned home in the afternoon with schoolfriends, she found Doria sitting in a dressing-gown on the front lawn smoking a joint. Doria, Thomas and Samantha Markle agreed, was neither gentle nor loving. Thomas also discovered that Doria found caring for Meghan alone in the house difficult. And there was more.

Samantha recalls seeing photographs of Doria with women taken by Thomas on the walls of their home. Thomas was also aware that Doria was sleeping with other men.

‘You’re being used by Doria,’ Samantha told her father. The angry teenager moved out of the house.

At first, Thomas refused to intervene, then he too became angered by Doria’s lifestyle. ‘We just were on different paths,’ he recalled without rancour. ‘I was also married to my work,’ he admitted. In Thomas’s version, Doria’s fondness for marijuana, her sex life and her antagonism towards Samantha, who had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, ended the marriage.

The amicable settlement, negotiated by one lawyer, split Thomas’s limited savings. The couple also agreed that in exchange for no alimony, Thomas would always support Meghan. The absence of any rancour was inspired by Thomas’s delight to have a young daughter. Until then his domestic life had been troubled.

Born in 1944 in Newport, Pennsylvania, his parents, Gordon and Doris, could trace their American roots back to the Great Migration from England in 1632. One branch of the Markle family went back to the reign of King Edward III, who died in 1377. Other forefathers arrived in the eighteenth century from Germany and Holland to work as farmers, miners and craftsmen.

Before the Second World War, Thomas’s father Gordon had owned a petrol station and then worked in a shoe factory. After military service in Hawaii during the war, he became a printer at an airforce base in Harrisburg. At the end of the daily 52-mile round-trip commute to work from Newport, he returned home miserable. After dinner with his three sons – Thomas was the third child after Mick and Fred – Gordon went to his room to read pornographic magazines.

Despite her sullen husband, Doris Markle encouraged her three sons to enjoy the best of New England’s outdoor life – fishing in the river and picking food in the fields and woods. She was also determined that her sons would have a good education. Mick joined the foreign service and Fred the church as a priest.

Thomas, however, was a risk-taker. Tall, thin and known as a ‘cool cat’, he chased local girls. Every Sunday, as the last in the line of altar-boys at the Episcopalian church, he waited for the priest to pour the last drops of wine into his mouth. Regularly, he staggered out of the building. He was unsuited for college after leaving school.

Starting as a stagehand in a local theatre, Thomas chose lighting as his speciality. Moving to Chicago he worked as a junior technician in a TV station and in a theatre. In the midst of his hectic teenage social life, he met unemployed Roslyn Loveless at a party. Within days, Roslyn was pregnant and Thomas ‘did the right thing’. They married in 1964. Both were 19 years old. Born the same year, their baby daughter, Yvonne, who would later rename herself Samantha, was the elder sister of Tom Junior, born in 1966. Samantha would years later describe her mother as ‘promiscuous’.

Thomas Markle worked and played hard. At the end of a long day on the set he preferred to party around the clock rather than return home. Family time was limited to taking his children to a baseball match at weekends or to the TV studio while he worked. ‘They were always arguing,’ Samantha recalled about her parents’ fractured marriage. Thomas moved out, divorced and headed for Hollywood. After scraping a living in restaurant kitchens, he finally made a breakthrough.

Living in Santa Monica and earning a good income from lighting at ABC, Thomas heard that his two children were struggling. Roslyn was partying with a series of men and her hippy friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their mother, the children complained, was not spending the money he sent for them.¹⁰

To escape their mother, Samantha moved to live with Thomas in Santa Monica and was followed by Tom Junior. Their ‘safe haven’ was unstable. Sometimes working 18 hours a day, Thomas Markle struggle