When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry blazed through their final week of royal engagements, they appeared so confident and effortlessly cool it was almost perceived as flaunting their newfound freedom from the royal family. But beneath the timeless fashion and endless photo ops, emotions were running high for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And while we’d largely believed Meghan was relieved (and only relieved) to be leaving the royal family behind, new details from royal bio Finding Freedom reveal this life change hit the duchess hard. Moments before her final royal appearance, Meghan had an emotional breakdown that left her in tears as she said goodbye to people in her old life and work she wouldn’t be able to continue. We knew that Harry was saying goodbye to the only life he’d ever known, but we hadn’t known quite how much these two years of being a royal had affected Meghan herself.
Royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand detail Meghan’s private moments right before her final royal engagement, the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, noting that one of the authors was present in the room for the Sussex royal’s rare emotional moment.
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) August 11, 2020
“After the meeting it was time to move on…that was when Harry quietly slipped through the door of the 1844 Room to say hello, and the reality — and the emotions — finally set in,” the book explains. “Meghan turned around to hug goodbye the last remaining people in the room, including an author of this book. With the state room almost empty except for a few familiar faces, the tears the duchess had been holding back were free to flow.”
”’I can’t believe this is it,’ [Meghan] said, hugging one of the young female aides she had become close with.”
Her final meeting had been with a group of students who received scholarships from the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), of which Meghan had been named royal patron by the Queen herself. As a former scholarship student, it was an appointment that had always meant so much to Meghan, and a title she was genuinely sad to leave behind, even if her championing of the organization continued.
Still, in classic Meghan fashion, she pulled herself together and even made a final joke on her way out the door: “The last hat for a while, guys!”
Click here to see Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s complete relationship timeline.