As a young actress on the cusp of Hollywood fame, Meghan Markle would return from long days on set and spill out her thoughts into a blog.
She shared everything on her online diary The Tig – from her diet and exercise routine to advice on work and love.
And three million Instagram fans, 800, 000 Facebook and 350, 000 Twitter followers all hung on The Suits star’s every word.
Then Meghan met Harry – and The Firm closed around her love of keeping a diary.
On royal aides’ advice, her social media was wiped clean in January 2017, two months after the royal engagement. The Tig followed in April that year.
But now it’s feared that The Tig was simply replaced – by a potential ticking time bomb.
Because Meghan, 38, reportedly kept writing private diaries during her two tempestuous years inside the Royal Family after her marriage.
And as a controversial biography of the renegade royal couple is released – allegedly with their cooperation – palace sources think it could just be a taste of more explosive revelations.
Meghan and Harry, 35, are desperate to earn a living outside the Royal Family.
They have no royal subsidies and are said to be paying back Sh320 million (£2.4 million) at Sh2.4 million (£18,000) a month over 10 years for renovations to Frogmore Cottage which was to be their Windsor home.
The pair – now renting a Sh1.9 billion (£14.5 million) LA villa from a film producer pal – have already appeared at a star-studded private gala in Miami for the bank JP Morgan in February this year.
And Meghan has returned to showbiz, voicing a Disney nature documentary released in March.
It’s believed any memoirs of Meghan’s years inside a monarchy rocked by a rift between William and Harry and Prince Andrew’s damning Epstein sex scandal links and damaging BBC interview could fetch up to $150 million in a bidding war.
One insider said: “The fact they may exist and could contain material to embarrass the Royal Family is enough to make anyone feel uncomfortable, even though right now there is no reason to believe she has plans to publish.
“Meghan has always been a tremendous self-publicist. Her account of some of the more difficult times would worry everyone in the royal household.”
Royal biographer Ingrid Seward believes the new biography – Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family – could just be testing the water.
“My feeling is it won’t be nearly as revelatory as we think,” she said. “There might be a few tidbits in it – but what would be the point in the Sussexes giving away too much in this book when Meghan could write her own story?
“Michelle Obama got £48 million for her book deal, and Meghan could double or triple that. I think she’ll hang out to write her own – making the royal household far more nervous.”
While some worry the diaries could fall into the wrong hands despite the couple’s new Sh2.6 million (US £20,000) security detail, for others, Princess Diana’s catastrophic marriage revelations in her interview with BBC’s Panorama still loom large.
Meghan has often been compared to Harry’s mother because of her outspokenness and dislike of tradition.
In a carefully choreographed interview during a royal tour of South Africa last October, Meghan told broadcaster Tom Bradby she was “existing, not living” under intense royal scrutiny, while Harry admitted he and his brother had “grown apart”.
When they announced they were quitting Britain in January, Bradby warned the couple could give a no-holds-barred interview, adding: “I don’t think it would be pretty.”
Meghan may have written about her perceived rivalry with the Duchess of Cambridge, who allegedly fell out with the American when she shouted at her staff.
And her own family problems are almost bound to be in her diaries – such as her devastation over dad Thomas not being at her wedding.
Meghan is suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing extracts of a letter her estranged dad handed over to the newspaper. In it, she begged him to end his “painful attacks” on her “kind, patient” husband.
The strain first emerged when Thomas was exposed for staging paparazzi photos shortly before the wedding.
From the moment she stepped into the Palace, Meghan rang alarm bells for staff.
Sources have often claimed Meghan had no regard for stuffy royal protocol. The signs were subtle at first, from stepping out in public with bare legs to signing an autograph and showing Harry open displays of affection in public.
At first, she seemed like the breath of fresh air the monarchy needed. But rumours emerged that “demanding” Meghan was sending staff 5am emails and caused her PA to quit in tears.
Then came the wedding preparations furore. It’s said Meghan wanted air fresheners as 15th century St George’s Chapel smelled “musty” and that she was hurt when the Queen refused her first pick of a tiara from the royal collection.
All seemed forgotten the day they tied the knot. It was the fairytale ending the country wanted, but the magic was short-lived when her dad gave a TV interview claiming he had been shunned by his daughter.
Meanwhile, as Meghan’s confidence grew, so did her disregard for The Establishment.
After falling pregnant, she was determined to do things her own way, breaking a four-decade tradition of royals giving birth at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London.
The couple courted further controversy by refusing to reveal the names of baby Archie’s godparents.
Then last Christmas they declined an invitation from the Queen to spend the festive season at Sandringham for a break in Canada. It was the beginning of the end.
A royal source said of the couple: “They made the decision to set upon the path they did. The way this played out could have been handled so differently.”
Now all that remains of Meghan’s The Tig is a home page with the message: “Above all, don’t ever forget your worth – as I’ve told you time and time again: you, my sweet friend, you are enough.”
There is no question Meghan knows her own worth, and the worth of her personal thoughts.
The Firm can only hope she never sees fit to cash them in.