Among the innumerable fascinating traits I uncovered when researching Meghan Markle’s life story was her fondness for homespun mottos.
She seemed to have an aphorism to suit almost every eventuality. One was recited to her friends whenever she embarked on some landmark venture, such as a career move or a new relationship.
‘Never give it five minutes if you’re not prepared to give it five years,’ she would declare (omitting to say this mantra was originally coined by her first husband, Trevor Engelson).
That it has taken Meghan considerably less time — just 20 months — to decide she cannot adjust to the rigours of royal duty may have shocked the British public.
This week, however, I have canvassed many of my sources for the biography of the Duchess that I wrote for the Mail, including her oldest friends, maternal grandmother and relatives of the now happily remarried Mr Engelson.
None of these people — who know how Meghan conducts herself and the strategies she employs — is surprised that this free-spirited and untameably headstrong woman has so prematurely jumped the royal ship, and ‘cut and run’ (as one friend put it) for a new life in Canada.
Of course, she has not taken this momentous decision, which amounts to abdication, unilaterally. Prince Harry, who spoke so enthusiastically of the work he and Meghan would do together when their engagement was announced, has since become so disillusioned that his mental health is said to have been affected.
Yet friends feel sure Meghan will have been the prime instigator of their hasty escape.
Indeed, their official resignation statement drips with the laidback phraseology of surfside California — they are not resigning but ‘stepping back’ to ‘transition’ into a ‘progressive new role’ — and friends believe it was penned by Meghan herself.
‘I saw this coming — it was just a matter of time,’ one of Meghan’s oldest confidantes told me yesterday. ‘With Meghan, it has always been her way or the highway. She is always the centre of the relationship, regardless of Harry’s title. She wants to be in the limelight, but under her own terms.
‘Now she will get to make her own rules. It’s perfect for her. Meghan likes to flee when things get heavy, and observe from afar what she has done. I’m sure she wanted to get back to her inner circle (in Canada); her new creative team who are behind these plans.
‘She has been able to move fast because this has been planned for months. She is running a campaign. This is not just an exit. It is a long-game strategy that has been set in motion for some time.’