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Marie Claire reported recently that Prince Harry’s forthcoming and much-anticipated memoir may finally have a release date, and the book—due out by the end of the year—apparently has royal courtiers understandably on edge, specifically surrounding how he’ll address his stepmother Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and his brother Prince William.
The Daily Mail’s Richard Kay writes that there is anxiety in Palace circles that Harry will use the book to settle scores; Harry, for his part, calls the book “intimate,” “heartfelt,” and “accurate and wholly truthful.” It comes 30 years after Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, cooperated with Andrew Morton on the bombshell Diana: Her True Story, though it was not known until after her death in 1997 that she was the primary source. That book “tore away a carefully curated image of royal happiness to reveal that the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales was a sham,” Kay writes, and three decades later “Diana’s son is set to follow in his mother’s footsteps with a memoir that is poised to shock the world, just as hers did.”
“Understandably, there is considerable anxiety in Buckingham Palace circles that Harry will use the memoir to settle perceived scores with family members and senior courtiers,” Kay continues. “They are particularly nervous about his attitude towards his stepmother, the Duchess of Cornwall, the wom[a]n who many of the late Princess’ supporters still blame for the collapse of the Charles-Diana marriage.”
Kay writes that five years ago, “long before he had thought about writing a book,” Harry asked friends of Diana’s to share memories and private photographs of her. “Initially, he said it was because his own recollections were a little shaky,” Kay writes, adding that Harry was especially interested in the breakdown of his parents’ marriage. “One at least had a lengthy discussion with him about Camilla,” Kay writes.
“It was pretty clear that he did not have a high opinion of her,” that friend later told Kay. “He wasn’t very complimentary about her, and I very much doubt he forgot what we talked about that day.”
It was these meetings with Diana’s friends that convinced Harry of his mother’s ill-treatment, not just at the hands of the media, but also by the royal institution.
“Of course, what are certain to be the most sought-after passages in the book will be when he writes about his brother,” Kay writes. “This surely is potentially the most contentious issue of all—because of its importance to the long-term wellbeing of the monarchy—and one that will be scrutinized not just for what he puts in, but for what he chooses to leave out.”
Kay writes that it was suggested that Harry’s memoir was pushed back to avoid a clash with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s latest book, due out November 15. Harry’s book, Kay writes, will be juicy, but also serious and unflinching. Interviews with Harry, he writes, were largely finished by the beginning of the year—long before the Platinum Jubilee weekend in June.
“Will the anger which has colored so many of Harry’s public pronouncements still be visible? Or will this clever writer [Harry’s ghostwriter, J.R. Moehringer] present a thoughtful and mature prince?” Kay asks. “We will have to wait and see.”
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the weekend editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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