Royal family bracing as Prince Harry’s ‘raw’ memoir Spare set to hit shelves

London: Prince Harry’s long-awaited memoir, titled Spare, will be released early next year, the publisher Random House has announced.

The cover of Spare, Prince Harry’s memoir.Credit:Random House Group via AP

The Duke of Sussex’s “unflinchingly” honest autobiography will hit the shelves from January 10, and will include his full account behind his decision to give up royal duties and move to the US.

With King Charles III just weeks into his new role as head of state, his son is likely to bring up their strained relationship and potential criticisms of his brother, Prince William and his stepmother, Queen Camilla.

Members of the royal family and their aides have not seen the manuscript and they have not been given the opportunity to respond to any claims through their lawyers.

The title of the book, written with Andre Agassi’s ghostwriter JR Moehringer, gives readers a taste of what to expect as it is a reference to Harry’s role as the spare to his brother’s heir.

The cover features a single photograph of the duke, looking directly into the camera. Similar to his days in the military, he is wearing a brown T-shirt and black string necklace. The book runs to 416 pages and will cost £28 ($50) in hardcover. The cover image was taken by Ramona Rosales, a celebrity photographer based in Los Angeles.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands, in April 2022.Credit:AP

Some proceeds from the book will go to charity, the publisher confirmed, in the form of two donations of £1.3 million and £300,000 respectively to Sentebale and WellChild.

The duke is said to have tried to tone down the memoir at the last minute; The Mail on Sunday reported that he feared his final draft “might not go down too well” in the wake of Queen Elizabeth’s death.

Royal biographer and commentator, Katie Nicholl, said there was a tense mood within Buckingham Palace as the royal household awaits the release the bombshell book, and takes a “bolts and braces” stance in anticipation.

A spokesman for the publisher said Spare would take readers immediately back to one of the most searing images of the 20th century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow – and horror.

The Duke and Duchess with the Queen in 2018.Credit:AP

“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.”

Harry and wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, quit life as working royals in January 2020. He works from his home in California as a mental health adviser, eco-travel business leader and now a writer.

Prince Philip, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles walking behind Princess Diana’s coffin in 1997.Credit:AP

The focus has changed significantly since the book was first announced in July 2021, when it was billed as an “inspiring, courageous, and uplifting human story”.

Then, Harry 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.”

It is now promoted clearly as his “personal journey from trauma to healing”, stoking fears that it will take direct aim at members of his family.

The duke will read the unabridged audio edition of the book himself, to be released on the same date. It will be released in 16 languages, with its Spanish title confirmed as Spare: En La Sombra, which translates as: “Spare: Life in the Shadows”.

The role of the “spare” in the royal family has been notoriously complicated, with those moving away from the line of succession as they get older – including the Prince Andrew, Duke of York and the late Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret – often struggling to find their place within the institution.

Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have declined to comment.

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