The Duchess of Sussex called her PR team in a panic because the piece – headlined Wild About Harry – angered Buckingham Palace and failed to focus enough on her activism and philanthropy, according to Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors.
The book, by investigative author Tom Bower, says that Meghan and her LA publicists Sunshine Sachs were “ecstatic” when, after “years of struggle to get Meghan noticed”, they landed the interview for the magazine’s September 2017 edition.
But the ecstasy turned to disappointment after Buckingham Palace received pre-publication copies of the magazine in early September, Bower claims. Its front cover featured a photograph of the duchess alongside the headline “She’s Just Wild About Harry”.
Bower writes that Harry, wary after interviews given in the past by his mum Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson had caused controversy, was keen for Meghan to avoid sensitive topics like Donald Trump, race, their relationship and particularly himself.
The book claims that Vanity Fair’s long-serving contributing editor Sam Kashner asked Meghan about Harry during the interview but hadn’t expected an answer. It states he was “quietly elated” when Meghan, who at this point was secretly engaged to the prince, responded: “We’re a couple. We’re in love.
“I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.”
The interview sparked sensational reactions across the world. In his book, which has been serialised in The Sun, Bower says that Buckingham Palace was taken by surprise by “Meghan’s unprecedented brazenness”.
Bowers book says that “within hours”, Meghan had called her PR firm’s bosses demanding answers. He writes: “Hysterically, she described Buckingham Palace’s fury at ‘Wild About Harry’. Sunshine Sachs, said Meghan, should have ensured that her comments about Harry were removed. Why wasn’t the focus on her philanthropy and activism?
“Ken Sunshine feared that Meghan would fire his agency. Puzzled why Buckingham Palace was angry, he called the magazine’s editor to deliver what he imagined to be the ultimate threat. ‘You’re going to have to deal with the Queen on this,’ he said. The furious monarch, he imagined, like Trump, would pick up the phone and berate the editor. The editor was bemused.”
Bowers says that the PR chief was told Meghan secured the interview because of who she was likely to marry and not based on her feminism.
Meghan’s PR team had reportedly told the magazine before agreeing to the interview that, while she would be delighted to speak to them, the piece would need to represent her as a major actor and highlight her activism and philanthropy.
Bower claims that Meghan talked about her “speech to the United Nations” during the interview. He also says she told Kashner how, as an 11-year-old, she wrote to the chairman of consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble and then first lady Hillary Clinton in protest about an advertising slogan for washing up liquid stating that “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans”.
She said she had called for the word “women” to be replaced by the word “people”, something that the company eventually changed after thousands of protests over the wording.
Bower says that, after the story was published, Meghan had told Kashner by text that she was “gutted and deflated” and later called to tell him she was “disappointed” in him. He writes that Meghan was particularly upset that her Procter & Gamble anecdote was not included in the article.
Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors by Tom Bower, will be published by Blink Publishing on July 21.