This year's must-read royal biographies, from Harry and Meghan's 'real story' to feuding princes

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
Harry and Meghan are the subjects of several royal biographies this year. (Getty Images)

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In a year that has rocked the Royal Family, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of biographies set to be released in 2020 charting some of the biggest moments.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s shock decision to step back as senior royals will be examined in at least five books released throughout the year, including in one which is said to be causing particular concern for courtiers.

But the Sussexes were not the only royal hitting headlines, and Prince Andrew’s handling of his friendship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein is also the topic of one book.

Read more: Why are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping back as senior royals?

Yahoo UK has rounded up some of this year’s must-reads for royal fans.

Meghan and Harry: The Real Story

Pre-order: Meghan and Harry: The Real Story | £24.99 from Amazon 

Lady Colin Campbell, best known for her 1992 book Diana in Private, has written a “balanced account of game changes, conflicts and ambitions”.

The book looks at the “fall from popular grace of the previously adulated brother of the heir to the British throne as a consequence of his marriage to a beautiful and dynamic Hollywood starlet of colour” calling it “an extraordinary story”.

Lady Campbell was born in Jamaica and says the time she has spent living between Britain and America is what gives her a “breadth of insight” when it comes to royal matters.

She says she has spoken to “friends, relations, courtiers, and colleagues” in putting the book together.

Revelations which have already emerged are claims that Meghan wants to become president of the US, and that Meghan was given greater privileges than any other royal fiancee.

Release date: 25 June, 2020.

Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family

Pre-order: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family | £13.60 from Amazon 

Written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, this book is one said to be causing concern among royal courtiers.

It’s said Harry and Meghan were relaxed about who the authors had access to as they wrote it, and the publishers say it was “written with the participation of those closest to the couple”.

The book’s synopsis reads: “For the very first time, Finding Freedom goes beyond the headlines to reveal unknown details of Harry and Meghan's life together, dispelling the many rumours and misconceptions that plague the couple on both sides of the pond.

“As members of the select group of reporters that cover the British Royal Family and their engagements, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand have witnessed the young couple's lives as few outsiders can.”

In recent weeks, Scobie, who is royal editor for Harper’s Bazaar, has had to bat away claims that the book’s manuscript has been rewritten.

Release date: 11 August, 2020.

Battle of Brothers: William and Harry, the Friendship and Feuds

Pre-order: Battle of Brothers: William and Harry, the Friendship and Feuds | £14.40 from Amazon 

Much has been speculated over the alleged rift between two brothers who were once the best of friends, and author Robert Lacey is to lay it out in a book due out in the Autumn.

The book’s synopsis claims “the last 18 months has seen a devastating breakdown of their once unbreakable bond”.

Lacey, who is also a consultant on Netflix’s The Crown, said of writing the book: “I have been astonished and sometimes moved to tears by the fresh details and insights I have discovered in researching this story of family conflict. It has been both enthralling and painful to trace this drama through the memories of close witnesses and some of the people most intimately involved.

“We have seen conflicts between heir and spare in every recent generation of the royal family — but nothing so profound as this.”

Release date: October 2020.

Meghan Misunderstood

Pre-order: Meghan Misunderstood | £9.99 from Amazon 

Sunday Times bestselling author Sean Smith turns his attention to Meghan in a new biography which explores her life from childhood to marriage.

The book calls itself a “pioneering book that sets the record straight on the most talked about, unfairly vilified and misrepresented woman in the world”.

Of his inspiration to research and write about Meghan, Smith said: “Last November, I watched the TV documentary in which Meghan Markle confided it was not enough to survive something, that was not the point of life.

“I immediately wanted to know how it had come to this: why was the most charismatic member of the Royal Family clearly so upset? Meghan Misunderstood is her story, her amazing journey.”

Smith has also written about Tom Jones and Kate Middleton, so his are safe hands.

Release date: 12 November 2020.

Read more: Things you never knew were on the Queen's land - from fast food chains and shopping centres

Prince Philip: A Man of His Century

Pre-order: Prince Philip: A Man of His Century | £20 from Amazon 

Ingrid Seward adds another royal biography to her collection, turning her focus to Prince Philip, the man who has been the monarch’s strength and stay for decades.

Seward charts the prince’s life from birth into Greek and Danish royalty, to spending his time walking two steps behind his wife.

She looks at how Philip modernised the monarchy, campaigned on the environment and encouraged children outside with the Duke of Edinburgh award.

The biography explores “major influences on his life... [and] is packed with revealing behind-the-scenes details and great insight”.

Seward has written plenty of other royal books, mainly on the women of the family, including Sarah Ferguson, the Queen and Princess Diana.

Release date: 1 October 2020

The Windsor Diaries: A Childhood with the Princesses

Pre-order: The Windsor Diaries: A Childhood with the Princesses | £20 from Amazon 

Alathea Fitzalan Howard may not be a household name but in the Second World War she was a name well-known in the royal house of Windsor.

Howard was sent to live with her widowed grandfather, a distinguished statesman, Viscount Fitzalan of Derwent, at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park during the war and spent a lot of her time with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose.

She also knew the future queen from London, as she was in Guides and dance classes with her.

When she died, she left her personal diaries and letters to her nephew’s wife, who has now given permission for them to be published.

The diaries “are said to shed a new light on the princesses and contain detail which is ‘not to be found in royal biographies’” according to The Bookseller.

It will show what life was like for the teenagers, with details of “regular Saturday films at the castle, balls, parties for Canadian soldiers, pantomimes with local school children and evacuees and lessons with their governess, Crawfie”.

The book also promises to show a glimpse of the late Queen Mother and the former King - including how much Elizabeth loved her father.

Release date: 8 October 2020.

Diana: The People’s Princess

Pre-order: Diana: The People's Princess | £20 from Amazon 

Nicolas Owen’s biography promises to be a “dignified and unexploitative celebration” of the late Princess Diana’s life, from birth to her tragic death.

Originally released in 2017, the updated edition includes new material in the aftermath of her death, including how Princes Harry and William have sought to maintain her legacy.

The synopsis adds: “The book is brought right up to date with the marriage of Harry to Meghan Markle, who some compare to the Princess of Wales. Diana: The People's Princess is a respectful, sensitive and poignant tribute to this elegant, charming and sympathetic symbol of our times.”

Release date: 23 July 2020

Read more: Chocolate cake and a cheeky Nando's: Surprising foods the Royal Family loves

Royals at War: The Untold Story of Harry and Meghan's Shocking Split with the House of Windsor

Pre-order: Royals at War: The Untold Story of Harry and Meghan's Shocking Split with the House of Windsor | £13.98 from Amazon 

Dubbed an “explosive exposé”, this book by Dylan Howard and Andy Tillett promises “revealing interviews with royal family insiders, friends, aides, historians, royal watchers, and others with intimate knowledge”.

Howard answers questions including whether Harry ever “recovered” from the death of his mother Diana, and why Meghan “refuse[d] to conform to royal conventions” unlike Kate.

He will also look at accusations of racism toward Meghan.

Howard has previously written on Diana as well as Jeffrey Epstein.

Release date: 30 June, 2020.

Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace

Buy it: Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace | £18.79 from Amazon 

The royals’ “greatest fear” is how this book refers to the arrest and charge of Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew’s former friend, who died awaiting trial for sex trafficking offences.

This book “investigates the story of the key players, allegations and counter-allegations in this unique, high-stakes royal drama”.

Cawthorne said: “Prince Andrew, Epstein and the Palace is the first book on the relationship between the Queen and her favourite son, and his disappointing life.”

The Sunday Times said the book was not teeming with new details, but the scandal of Andrew’s friendship with a convicted sex offender is “laid out in what will be excruciating detail for the palace” and that it “still hit hard”.

Release date: 4 June, 2020