Prince Philip's funeral in April ended up being a chance for Prince Harry to make amends with his family overseas after his shocking interview with Oprah Winfrey. He reunited with brother Prince William, father Prince Charles and grandmother Queen Elizabeth after more than a year apart.
Yet, Meghan Markle didn't attend, because of medical precautions surrounding her pregnancy with daughter Lilibet. At the time, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson shared, "The Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her physician not to travel. So the duke will be attending."
And it seems that suited the royal family just fine, according to the new epilogue of the Sussex biography Finding Freedom obtained by E! News.
The book, by royal experts Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, explains why the family didn't actually want the former Suits actress, 40, there at all.
"Despite the difficulties Harry and Meghan faced in the aftermath of their interview, there was never any doubt that Harry would race back to England to be with his family," they write. "Meghan also hoped to accompany Harry, but as she was heavily pregnant with their daughter, her doctors wouldn't give her medical clearance to fly."
However, the authors say, "In truth, several members of the royal family are understood to have been ‘quietly pleased' that Meghan stayed in California because they ‘didn't want a circus.'"
One apparent senior royal source says they were afraid of "the Duchess creating a spectacle." (The palace has not commented on the claims.)
The Queen, of course, was glad to be reunited with her "beloved" Harry, per the new epilogue. He, in turn, wanted to support his grandmother, knowing she felt a "huge void" after her longtime husband's death.
A source says the funeral was "surreal" for Harry, in part because of the pressure of having the world watch both the funeral and his family drama unfold.
One source explains that the family ultimately "put on a unified front" at the funeral, per Finding Freedom, "out of respect for Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh," regardless of any recent tension.
"Where we are today versus where we were six months ago, versus where we were 12 months ago… there is actually progress. There are efforts on all sides," a royal family source tells Durand and Scobie.
One of Harry's friends agrees that the gathering for Philip's funeral helped put the family on the right path. "While there's so much work to be done, this visit has broken the ice... pushed a closed door slightly ajar," the friend says.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who recently said they are "heartbroken" over the current state of the world, have denied involvement in Finding Freedom. The couple's rep previously told E! News that they "were not interviewed and did not contribute," adding, "This book is based on the authors' own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting."
Among the other revelations from the new pages: Harry and Meghan "considered" actually naming the family member that allegedly wondered "how dark" son Archie's skin would be. Meghan didn't name the person on camera, saying, "I think that that would be very damaging to them." Read more about their decision to protect the relative's identity.