Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have sparked a publishing spree — but the Royal Family have always shifted books
There are not many hardback, non-fiction books that can generate 170 separate newspaper articles in the space of a week. But Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand has done just that.
In case you have been living in Tuvalu, the book is a biography of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, due to be published on 11 August, which has been serialised across The Times and The Sunday Times. It has prompted another bout of what has become a regular feature of the British press since at least 1870, when the Prince of Wales stepped into the witness box in a divorce case: intense speculation over the private lives of our Royal Family.
According to Scobie, his book is different from the usual tittle-tattle. “For the first time we get to hear what’s been going on in their minds,” he has said. It is a bold claim and one that has fuelled the belief that the Duke and Duchess have given interviews to the authors, even though this has been hotly denied by the authors and the Sussexes themselves.
“That’s crazy. Everyone will raise their eyebrows that there’s been no contribution,” says Mark Borkowski, a public relations expert, who advises celebrities. “Maybe they haven’t sat down and given a formal interview, but there’s been amazing access. It’s what we in PR call ‘putting your own story forward’.”
Royals rarely emerge with dignity from airing their dirty linen in public. But those who do the laundry can end up winners.
Mark Borkowski points out that the real beneficiaries of this summer’s publishing bonanza are unlikely to be Harry and Meghan, but their biographers, Scobie and Durand. “It’s going to make two relatively young journalists megastars, just as Andrew Morton became a megastar. There isn’t the money in publishing that existed in the 90s, but there’s a lot more opportunity to take your content and make money out of it.”