Omid Scobie: We wanted to tell the other side of the story
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Omid Scobie joined Alison Hammond and Rochelle Humes on Wednesday’s This Morning to discuss the new 25-page epilogue to Scobie and Carlyn Durand’s Finding Freedom. The royal biographer discussed the unauthorised biography and put straight any claims the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had any input in the book. He did note however there were points in the book the royal couple “might not agree with”.
Humes began: “I always wonder how biographies work. Harry and Meghan were unable to release their own biography so that’s where you come in. How do you get to find out so much about their life?”
Scobie replied: “I’ve been covering royals since William and Kate got married so over the years you get close to the palace staff and people working around members of the Royal Family.
“That’s how it started with the Sussexes, you build that relationship but my background is also in entertainment news so I knew a lot of people who knew Meghan as well.
“The idea for this book really came around when we started to see that a lot of the papers were creating this caricature of Harry and Meghan that I wasn’t seeing in front of me.”
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“There was this opportunity to tell the other side of the story,” he noted.
“But what’s been really frustrating throughout this process, the tabloids constantly refer to me as the friend of the couple, the cheerleader, the mouthpiece of the couple.
“They claim that Harry and Meghan were behind the book and quite frankly that’s just not true.
“The reality is that this was a book written by two royal correspondents that felt that relying just on palace sources wasn’t enough because there was clearly another side to the story.”
“So it’s something you are prompted to do yourself it’s not something you get asked to do,” Humes asked.
“No you do it and it’s unauthorised so really whether Harry and Meghan liked it or not we wanted to tell the other side of the story,” Scobie answered.
“So have you not heard from Harry and Meghan whether they like it or if they’ve read the book?” Hammond asked.
Scobie replied: “Well the couple were aware obviously what the journalists are doing around them as they’re working and I was there every step of the way throughout their lives as working members of the Royal Family.”
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“They’re aware of what’s going on but obviously they have no control over it,” he said.
“So there are certain things in the book that do challenge some of the decisions they’ve made that maybe the couple won’t agree with.
“I would imagine that like most sane people in the public eye they stay away from reading this sort of thing.
“But obviously the book was dragged into a very high profile court case where Meghan was taking on the Daily Mail and this book was dragged into that.”
“It sort of forced the couple to be aware of pretty much what was on every single page,” he added.
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Humes noted if she wrote a book about co-host Hammond there would be a “level of approval” to it and questioned whether this was the same for royal biographies.
Scobie remarked: “There’s a courtesy call that comes into play when you’re a royal correspondent you’re around the palace staff, you’re going to write a book about a member of the Royal Family and this has happened with every biography unauthorised over the years.
“You tell the palace what you’re doing, you tell the palace roughly what your hopes are with the book and they can choose to either sort of play along with that, or they can keep you at arm’s length because they’re worried about the contents of it.
“What we found is that although the palace wasn’t particularly keen to always be involved throughout the process, friends of the couple who saw a pair that were constantly being written about, talked about and couldn’t defend themselves because of that famous palace mantra, ‘Never complain never explain’ they felt that perhaps there was an opportunity for them to set some of the record straight on some of the really damaging things that we’ve read about Meghan.”
This Morning airs on ITV on weekdays at 10am.
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