Meghan Markle is focused on the future and her family with Prince Harry.
While the Duchess of Sussex, 42, has “moved on” from the royals, Harry “still has unfinished business,” author Omid Scobie, whose new book Endgame is out Nov. 28, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.
“Quite early on in the [book-writing] process, some of those Meghan sources that I really leant on in the earlier years this time were like, ‘You know what? She doesn’t want anything to do with it,’ ” says Scobie, who has covered the royal family for more than a decade.
“For Harry it’s different. He still has unfinished business when it comes to his battles with the press. His challenge will be to find something that balances that out so we can see him working in a space that isn’t connected to the ties that bind from the past,” he says.
Still, Meghan and Harry have kept an open line of communication with King Charles — and reached out to the monarch to wish him a happy birthday on Tuesday.
“With Harry, there’s a reluctant acceptance that this is just who his father is. He would rather have that in his life than to cut it off completely. Hence, when they talk it is often [Harry] reaching out,” says Scobie. “And I was surprised to learn that even Meghan has some sort of correspondence with Charles, sending over photos of the children, although they’re not directly to him. So there is a willingness there.”
In May, Harry made a brief appearance at the coronation of his father King Charles and Queen Camilla, but was not invited to join the royal family on the palace balcony. Meghan and their children Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2, stayed home as they celebrated Archie’s birthday.
Scobie chronicles both the breakdown of the royal family and the weakening of the modern monarchy in Endgame. According to the author, Harry “is in the rearview mirror” for his brother Prince William.
“William’s so far forward in his journey that what is important today is very different to what was important 10 years ago,” Scobie says.
“You really feel this when you talk to people working at the palace, that they really consider what Harry and Meghan, but mostly Harry, say as just irritating noise. The feelings of this man are not worth anything anymore. That’s sort of typical of any big corporation. I know it’s different because they’re family. But as we’ve known for a long time, the meaning of family is very different to them,” he says.
The royal family, of course, is not known for its focus on feelings. But in Endgame Scobie writes that perhaps more than at any other point in history, the family is ignoring its internal fractures at its own peril, because “part of the buy-in from the [British] public is that the royal family is the nation’s family.”
And yet, Scobie says, heir-to-the-throne William, 41, has prioritized his loyalty to the monarchy, even quietly cooperating with the U.K. press to undermine Harry, 39. (Kensington Palace had no comment when reached by PEOPLE about the allegations.)
Nearly a year after Harry laid bare the painful rift between himself and his family in his memoir Spare and the world learned the extent of the division between the two brothers, “absolutely nothing has changed,” says Scobie.
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The hurt and anger between William and Harry — one, the Prince of Wales and future King and the other, the Duke of Sussex and Californian — has now hardened into something colder and more immovable, Scobie says: indifference.
“I saw Harry’s release of Spare as his last attempt at telling his family how he’s felt for years,” he says. “Because clearly there’s never been an open enough forum to have these conversations or share these feelings.”