The eight key bombshell claims in The Palace Papers

Author Tina Brown recounts scandals, love affairs and betrayals that have plagued royal family over past three decades in new book The Palace Papers

Holly Bancroft,Kate Ng
Sunday 24 April 2022 14:12 BST
Jeffrey Epstein described Prince Andrew as 'an idiot,' book claims
Leer en Español

A mammoth new book on the royals from former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown will make bumpy reading for Buckingham Palace.

Packed with eye-opening details, the author of The Diana Chronicles picks up from where she left off in her last book - the death of the People’s Princess - and documents the next 25 years of the Firm’s history.

Covering all the senior royals in equal measure, Brown leaves no stone unturned and has interviewed over 120 sources for the project.

Here are the key claims from the book:

Prince Charles is ‘too needy and vulnerable’ to secure his mother’s full approval

Prince Charles is “desperate for his mother’s approval” but will never get it because of his “needy, vulnerable” character, one acquaintance of the future king told Brown.

The Prince of Wales is “the wrong sort of person for her”, the source said. “Too needy, too vulnerable, too emotional, too complicated, too self-centered.”

They continued: “Arts, charitable causes that aren’t wrapped in a rigid sense of duty - it’s all anathema to her.”

Prince Philip too didn’t think that Charles was “King material”, according to The Palace Papers.


Charles insists on bringing his own bed and toilet seat with him on trips

Prince Charles has some very particular travelling requirements, according to accounts in The Palace Papers.

The future king would apparently send a truck to his friends’ country houses the day before he was due to arrive to unload his “bed, furniture and even pictures”.

This included his “orthopaedic bed, lavatory seat and Kleenex Velvet lavatory paper”, as well as landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, Brown wrote.

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

His former aide Michael Fawcett - who was recently embroiled in a cash-for-honours scandal involving The Prince’s Foundation - was in charge of ensuring that Charles’ childhood teddy bear would travel everywhere the prince went in a plastic shirt bag, she claimed in the book.

Prince Harry thought he should marry Meghan quickly so she could get police protection

When Prince Harry started dating Meghan Markle, the whirlwind romance worried Prince William, Brown wrote.

The Duke of Cambridge was worried that Meghan would be under unique pressure if she became a full-time member of the royal family and was concerned that she had not had long enough to put roots down in the UK.

However Harry quickly brushed off his brother’s worries. According to the book, Harry’s response to William’s fears was that the most effective way to protect Meghan would be to marry her “as quickly as possible” so that she would receive the same police protection that he did while he was still a working royal.

(ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Palace admit not ‘taking race seriously enough’ amid Meghan’s allegations

One of the biggest allegations from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah was that there were “several conversations” within the Royal Family about how dark Meghan and Harry’s baby might be.

Meghan told Oprah: “In those months when I was pregnant [there were] concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born.”

Though the Palace hit back at the allegations with the infamous phrase “recollections may very”, a source told Brown that they made a mistake and “didn’t take race seriously enough”.

She quoted a source as saying that there were barely any black people working in the royal household, let alone holding senior positions. “We made a mistake as a household, not a mistake in the family,” the source said.

(Getty Images)

The Queen thought Prince Andrew’s car-crash Newsnight interview would be about his entrepreneurship projects

Many have wondered how much the Palace knew, or didn’t know, in advance about Prince Andrew’s car-crash interview with BBC Newsnight at the end of 2019.

In the astonishing interview, Andrew defended his relationship with convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, said he couldn’t sweat, and said he had been at a Pizza Express in Woking on the night that Virginia Giuffre alleged she had sex with him at the age of 17.

The Duke of York has vehemently denied ever meeting Giuffre. In February, he reached a multi-million-pound settlement over Giuffre’s claim, including damages to her and a donation to a charity “in support of victims’ rights”.

According to The Palace Papers, the Queen thought the BBC interview was going to be “a discussion about his official duties and his success with Pitch@Palace, his entrepreneurial initiative.”

(Getty Images)

Pitch@Palace, the Dragons’ Den-style initiative set up by Andrew, connected start-ups with potential investors. Andrew has now stepped down from his role as the head of the enterprise following the fall-out from the Newsnight interview and the civil case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre.

The Queen, according to Brown, watched Andrew’s excruciating interview alone in a room in Windsor “after enjoying a light dinner on a tray.”

Virginia Giuffre (second from left)
Virginia Giuffre (second from left) (REUTERS)

Jeffrey Epstein and Robert Maxwell had a ‘deep business relationship’

Earlier this month a new BBC series, House of Maxwell, claimed to have unearthed a hidden detail about the relationship between Jeffrey Epstein and former media proprietor Robert Maxwell.

Maxwell died in 1991 after falling from his yacht in the Canary Islands. Weeks later, a £460million hole was discovered in the pension funds of his companies and mystery still shrouds the missing money.

(US District Court for the Southe)

The BBC documentary alleged that Maxwell employed Epstein to hide the hundreds of millions he stole. One former friend of his daughter Ghislaine Maxwell, Vassi Chamberlain, told the programme: “I was in the City and I had some friends who worked on Wall Street during that time and they heard that Jeffrey Epstein and Robert Maxwell had entered into an agreement before Robert Maxwell’s death, whereby certain funds had been siphoned off.

“That is what Jeffrey Epstein was doing at the time, he was helping very rich people park their money offshore, to avoid tax.”

Now, details in the book seem to corroborate these claims. A former business partner of Epstein’s, Steven Hoffenberg, who has served 18 years in jail, told Brown that Maxwell got to know Epstein after he left Bear Stearns and “the pair ‘entered into a deep business relationship’”.

Meghan ‘raged’ at staff in the lead up to her wedding

Just days before Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was broadcast, The Times revealed that Meghan had faced a bullying complaint made by one of her closest advisers during her time at Kensington Palace.

Now the new book has given her own account of Meghan’s behaviour, focusing on the period before her wedding when she allegedly had a bust-up with staff about using one of the Queen’s tiaras.

In Brown’s telling of “Tiaragate”, Meghan’s repeatedly asked to use a tiara - which was being loaned to her by the Queen for the wedding - for her hairdressing rehearsals. This was reportedly blocked by the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly, allegedly causing Harry to step in and “fire off like a missile”.

Many Palace aides were allegedly growing tired of Meghan’s apparently insistent wedding demands, she wrote, and a Palace source told her “there was a lot of raging” from the bride-to-be. They described Meghan’s behaviour as “in person shouting in front of other members of staff”.

Prince Harry and Meghan announce their engagement
Prince Harry and Meghan announce their engagement (PA)

In a later incident, also recorded in the book, Meghan allegedly yelled at a junior employee for holding a wedding announcement back because it clashed with something in the diary of another senior royal.

“I wouldn’t say it was bullying behaviour but I’ve certainly never heard of a member of the Royal Family talking like that to a member of staff,” an insider told the author.

Meghan has always denied any allegations of bullying behaviour. When The Times published their story about the complaint, Meghan’s lawyers claimed it was the paper was “being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative.”

Prince Andrew’s lunch with future PM Boris Johnson

There are many cringe-worthy anecdotes about Prince Andrew in Brown’s book, but in one particularly memorable example, the now-disgraced prince tried to persuade then-mayor of London Boris Johnson to reduce the number of red traffic lights in the capital.

Brown wrote: “Andrew made a muddled pitch for such city improvements as fewer traffic lights so that there would be fewer red lights, and a larger Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.


“(‘If it’s too small it’s your mum’s fault,’ Boris allegedly said.) After Andrew was escorted from the lunch, Boris turned and apparently commented, ‘I’m the last person to be a republican but f**k, if I ever have to spend another lunch like that, I soon will be’”.

(Tina Brown (c) Brigitte Lacombe.jpg)

The Independent has contacted Buckingham Palace and representatives for the Sussexes and the Duke of York for comment.

The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor - The Truth and the Turmoil is published by Century on 26 April at £20.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in