Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's son gave them bravery to weather "major consequences" from exiting royal life, says Omid Scobie, whose new Finding Freedom epilogue is excerpted in this week's PEOPLE

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Harry, Duke of Sussex; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry with son Archie in 2019
| Credit: DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP via Getty Images

For Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the birth of their first child helped concentrate their minds about their future — and instilled a new resilience in them to change course.

The arrival of their son, Archie, in May 2019 gave the Duke and Duchess of Sussex "that energy to stand up for what was right for them, regardless of what the consequences were," Omid Scobie tells PEOPLE in this week's issue.

Adds the co-author of Finding Freedom; Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family: "As we have seen, those consequences have been pretty major."

Some of those consequences — and the conflicts underlying them — were previously been chronicled in the book Scobie co-wrote with fellow longtime royal reporter Carolyn Durand, the paperback edition of which comes out on August 31 and features a new epilogue excerpted in this week's issue of PEOPLE.

8/30/21 cover

For more on the lessons that the couple has learned in a tumultuous year, pick up a copy of the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands on Friday.

Speaking with the couple's friends and close associates, Scobie and Durand wrote about the couple's whirlwind courtship and the mounting tensions that ultimately led Harry, 36, and Meghan, 40, to leave the U.K. and carve a groundbreaking path outside of royal duty. Where that path would lead, no one knew — not even the couple themselves.

Says Scobie, "They were quite afraid of the consequences of stepping away and challenging the system."

Archie Meghan Markle Prince Harry Duke Duchess Sussex
Archie, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

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Since settling in California, the Sussexes have welcomed daughter Lilibet Diana in June and are "really excited" not only to step up their public appearances on behalf of their Archewell Foundation, but also to deliver some of the projects planned with the multi-million dollar streaming and book deals.

"They say that the proof is in the pudding," Scobie tells PEOPLE, "and what we are about to see is that pudding."