The Royal Family will be ‘very concerned’ after it emerged Prince Harry’s controversial memoir will be called Spare, an expert said today – as the publisher promised ‘raw, unflinching honesty’ in the book which will be released on January 10.
The eye-catching title is a nod to Harry’s nickname as a ‘spare’ prince – in contrast to his brother William, the heir to the throne. The Spanish language version is even more pointed, having been given the subtitle En La Sombra, or ‘in the shadow’.
Harry was reportedly paid a $20million (£18.4million) advance for the book as part of a three-title deal worth £36.8m. Today, publisher Penguin Random House said the duke had donated $1.5million (£1.3million) to children’s charity Sentebale and £300,000 to WellChild, a charity for disabled children for which he serves as patron.
Spare’s title page shows Harry staring sternly at the camera in a brown T-shirt and a black string necklace. An unabridged audiobook will be read by the prince himself.
The 416-page autobiography – which some retailers have cut to half-price for pre-order copies – was expected to hit bookshelves this autumn but there has been speculation that the date was pushed back as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, and, it is rumoured, to make changes to the publication and remove potentially damaging material.
However, it appears the tone of the book has darkened since it was first announced in July last year. While the memoir was then-described as an ‘inspiring, courageous, and uplifting human story’, today’s promotion calls it a ‘personal journey from trauma to healing’.
Royal author Richard Fitzwilliams suggested the Royal Family would be ‘very concerned’ by how the book was being promoted.
‘It is a sensational title and implies that the writer was not valued or certainly that he did not feel at the centre of events,’ he told MailOnline. ‘When the blurb speaks of ”raw, unflinching honesty” the Palace will be very concerned, especially since these are the early months of King Charles’s reign.
‘There will undoubtedly be interviews, serialisation and endless speculation about this memoir, which in my view should have waited many years. Even Edward VIII, by then the Duke of Windsor, waited until 1951 before A King’s Story was published. The consequences of this will be far-reaching and may be highly destructive.’
The Royal Family has not been given a chance to see the manuscript before publication, so will be unable to respond to any of its claims through their lawyers.
The publication date was announced in a press release today, which referred to Harry as a ‘husband, father, humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate and environmentalist’ who ‘resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his family and three dogs’.
‘Spare takes readers immediately back to one of the most searing images of the Twentieth Century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow — and horror,’ the release said.
‘As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is his story at last. With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.’
The memoir, which is available to pre-order, will cost £28 hardcover, £13.99 as an eBook, £20 as an audio download and £25 as a CD. It will be available in English in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and Canada, while the book will also be published in 15 additional languages, including Spanish, Italian, German and Chinese. Representatives for the King and Kensington Palace have declined to comment.
Spare will be released two days after the three-year anniversary of Harry and Meghan’s official exit from the Royal Family.
Harry’s relatives could be faced with damaging newspaper headlines if the prince chooses to delve into the most controversial elements of royal life from the past decades.
He could reveal which member of the monarchy he claims made a racist comment about the potential skin colour of his then unborn son Archie, or shine a light on his strained relationship with his father and troubled times with his brother William, the Prince of Wales.
Random House CEO Markus Dohle said today: ‘We are honoured to be publishing Prince Harry’s candid and emotionally powerful story for readers everywhere.
‘He shares a remarkably moving personal journey from trauma to healing, one that speaks to the power of love and will inspire and encourage millions of people around the world.’
The description appears to be more negative than Harry’s description of the book in July last year. Then, he said: ‘I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become.
‘I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story – the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned – I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think.’
Today, Mark Borkowski, an author and publicity expert, said there was plenty of time to significantly edit the book between the Queen’s death in early September and the January 10 publication date.
‘An advance is paid on a certain premise – the publishers would have seen the manuscript and got excited by it,’ he told MailOnline.
‘So there’s always going to be a battle over the content. But could they have made substantial edits in time for January?
‘Yes, in the modern world it’s very easy to get things changed and printed.
‘The key period for selling books is Christmas. So they’ll be missing a lot of sales. January doesn’t strike me as an optimum time for a release, so that is significant – it would suggest there’s been a bit of a dispute over the content and Harry may have got his way.’