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One of the co-authors of a new book about Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, says the whirlwind romance between the couple created a gap between Harry and older brother Prince William that widened after Harry and Meghan stepped back from their royal duties this year.
Carolyn Durand, who wrote "Finding Freedom" with fellow royal insider Omid Scobie, spoke exclusively to TODAY on Monday about the tension in the relationship between the brothers and a touching moment between Harry and Meghan ahead of their 2017 engagement.
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"I think that we have attempted to correct a lot of the misperceptions that we've seen over the last several years," Durand told Joe Fryer. "I think that the book hopefully tells their honest story from their perspective."
The book details the quick courtship between Harry and Meghan, which the authors say concerned William, who told Harry not to rush it.
"He expressed to him, maybe he wanted to take some more time getting to know Meghan," Durand said. "It wasn't because people didn't trust Meghan. This was simply because the boys had watched our for each other since they were young children."
The two "hardly spoke" in the months after that conversation and the gap only widened after Harry and Meghan got married in 2018, according to the book. Durand said the tension was further exacerbated this year when Harry and Meghan decided to step back from their royal duties and start a new life in Los Angeles.
"As we write in the book, it wasn't anger," Durand said. "It was hurt."
However, a source close to Prince Harry told NBC News that the pandemic has brought the royal family closer, particularly after the brothers' father, Prince Charles, tested positive for COVID-19 in March.
"Like in any family, there have been some ups and downs, but the brothers are making their way back to each other," Durand said. "And that will take some time."
The authors spoke to more than 100 sources for the book, which will be released on Tuesday. They did not speak with Harry and Meghan, but royal expert Victoria Arbiter said on TODAY Monday that the book bears their influence.
"There were a lot of very personal texts that are mentioned in this book, personal feelings, personal accounts that really only could've come from Harry and Meghan," Arbiter said. "So though not directly, there's a suggestion here really that their friends were given permission to talk. I don't think anyone that's a close friend to Harry and Meghan would want to talk without permission, so yes, I say that Harry Meghan's fingerprints are on this, just not directly."
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to ‘Finding Freedom,'" a spokesperson for the couple said in a statement to TODAY. "This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting."
"Finding Freedom" also reveals that before Harry and Meghan officially got engaged while they were roasting a chicken in Nottingham cottage, he pledged make her his wife during their second trip to Botswana.
"They actually made a promise to each other in Botswana initially underneath the stars," Durand said. "And when Harry got back to London, then he did propose over a roast chicken."
The two are now focused on their humanitarian work from their home in Los Angeles as they raise their 1-year-old son, Archie.
"When they do video-conferencing calls with their team and with members of the community, you will often see Archie pop into the camera," Durand said. "He's now walking a bit. They're very, very hands-on parents."