Harry and Meghan: Why 'tell-all' book will do Royal couple no favours - Christa Ackroyd

More than 30 years ago I sat in the bar of the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds and pressed an author to tell me how he could prove all he had written about the Royal family was true. Or at least one side of the truth.

Andrew Morton, a son of Yorkshire, looked me in the eye and said: “I can’t tell you, Christa. You will just have to take my word for it.”

That book, Diana: Her True Story, had just been published to include accusations about the sad state of the Wales’s marriage, which had, it was written, led Diana to throw herself down the stairs while pregnant, confront her husband’s lover and much more.

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The claim being made was, to put it simply, that it was all a pack of lies and had all been made up to make money. What Andrew could tell me was that he had never sat down with the Princess for an interview.

Harry and MeghanHarry and Meghan
Harry and Meghan

I couldn’t press him further. He remained, as is the parlance of journalists, tight-lipped.

The evening before publication had seen newspapers tipped off that at such and such a time Diana would be visiting one of the contributors to the book, a friend.

It was taken as a sign that they hadn’t fallen out and showed she still supported those who had spoken to Morton about her unhappy marriage.

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Morton had agreed to be interviewed, by Calendar, for one simple reason – he wanted his parents still living in West Yorkshire to know that although he couldn’t even tell them how he had come to write his book, it was above board. He hadn’t made it up.

Just a few short years later and in circumstances no one could have ever foreseen, he was able to tell us why he was so adamant that what he had written was the truth, or at least Diana’s truth.

She had recorded her thoughts, even made notes in the margin when those tapes, delivered by a member of staff to Morton in a London cafe, were transcribed into words. He had promised her that her involvement would never be made public while she was alive.

And so he had deposited the ‘truth’ in a bank vault never expecting that the tragic events in Paris would mean he could divulge how he had got his information so soon … and why the book could be reprinted and retitled Diana.. In her Own Words.

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My point is Andrew Morton had told the truth that he had never once sat down to interview the lost and lonely Princess. He had never spoken to her in person about the contents of that book.

But on her untimely death he was free to explain how he had come to know the deep unhappiness of Diana.

This incident has been back on my mind this week as the contentious subject of ‘tell-all’ Royal books is back in the headlines.

Omid Scobie has this last week sworn on his life and the life of his family that he didn’t deliberately leave in his latest Meghan and Harry tome, Endgame, the names of two members of the Royal family it is alleged expressed ‘concern’ over the colour Archie’s skin would be at birth.

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He also categorically says he never met with either Meghan or Harry to write this book but instead spoke to their people or the palace people, because that is what journalists do.

I am not saying at all the same thing happened with the Sussexes as with Andrew Morton.

I am merely saying that someone, somewhere leaked those names knowing it would cause the distress and anger it has.

And by them appearing in the Dutch version of the book it has reignited the racism row. Wh at a sorry state of affairs we find ourselves in now.

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Harry and Meg han have always been very careful, right from when the claims were first made in the infamous and cringing Oprah interview, to never use the word ‘racism’.

Harry adamantly refused to name names.

Instead he later clarified their understanding of events, if indeed it happened, as akin to ‘unconscious bias’.

The inference being that whoever said what ever it was, knew no better.

In the first few days since publication of this latest book they made no comment whatsoever while Meghan’s dad was once again called upon to add his unhelpful ‘two penneth’.

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While I do not know what was said, and I fully accept that words can both hurt and be misconstrued, I will not weigh in with more.

Except to say it is all so unnecessary.

Right from the start when the Sussexes announced they were leaving the country for a life in the States I defended the decision as their choice. I wished them well.

I even understood why Harry who had witnessed so much obsession with his late mother would have been concerned history, as he said, might repeat itself.

But they haven’t helped themselves. And this book will do them no favours either.

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I am a great believer that actions speak louder than words. And my goodness there have been words in abundance and very little proof that they are devoting themselves to the good causes they claim they sought their freedom to do.

As an outsider it seems to me if there is a buck to be made, a high profile event to attend they are there like a shot, be it a Beyoncé concert or a gala dinner.

Where are they now feeding the homeless? Where are they now donating so of their much publicised millions to those who could be boosted and buoyed by their patronage? Where are they campaigning for anything which will genuinely make a difference to the lives of those less fortunate than themselves?

Of course they could be doing so under the radar and if they are good on them.

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But if they are then all their good deeds are being overshadowed by a family rift played out in the full glare of world wide publicity.

Publicity which we must remember they claim they fled the UK to escape but was fueled by books and interviews given freely (well actually for huge sums of money) that sounded more like whinging and whining instead of an advert for living their own lives unencumbered by royal duties.

I do not know whether the Sussexes will set foot in these shores again. And I don’t really care now. I have lost interest and patience.

Too much has been written about two people, no matter if their hurt is real or imagined, who seem unable to live as they claim they want to do, quietly and out of the spotlight – if that really ever was their End Game.

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