Prince Harry 'setting himself up to be thought leader' says expert
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Prince Harry’s book is reportedly due for release early next year, with some industry executives claiming a date has been set. When the Duke of Sussex first announced his multi-million-pound book deal in the summer of last year, it was scheduled to be released in late 2022. However, now, the long-awaited memoir from the 38-year-old will be released on January 10, 2023, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Given Harry and Meghan Markle’s shock exit from the Royal Family a year earlier and their subsequent candour in explosive media interviews, the book was expected to be laden with barbs towards the Firm. However, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it was widely speculated that the Prince was rushing to edit his book, cutting back on any references to members of his family.
According to a report in The Times last week, the Duke of Sussex had gotten cold feet about the memoir’s content at certain points. While the book has been shrouded in mystery, it is believed that Harry’s experiences as a royal and his relationship with his family.
But, while some have claimed the Prince will decrease, or completely remove, any attacks on the Royal Family, a royal author has argued that the memoir will still be full of “bombshells”.
Christopher Anderson, whose book ‘The King: The Life of Charles III’ will be released in November, acted as a guest co-host on this week’s episode of the Royally Us podcast. Mr Anderson and royal commentator Christina Garibaldi discussed what might come next for the Sussexes and the UK-based royals.
He said: “We’ll just see what the future holds for [Meghan], Harry and the rest of the Royal Family. This [the rift] is something Charles wants to mend but we’re looking forward to the book — that’s going to come out early next year — in which there can only be bombshells. There’s no way to avoid the fact that it’s going to rub the King the wrong way.”
When asked about the reports suggesting Harry was making edits to the memoir, Mr Anderson said: “I think that might have been the intention but the King’s decision to initially not permit Harry to wear his uniform during the funeral [and] the fact that at times it seemed that Harry and Meghan were being shoved in the background — even shunned — that did a lot of damage I think. So we’ll have to wait and see. But I am almost certain they [the Royal Family] won’t like this book.”
Following their exit from the Royal Family, the Sussexes went against the Firm’s traditional tendency of staying silent, instead choosing to talk openly about their experiences. The couple’s willingness to speak was most prominently demonstrated in their 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, which drew an audience of millions and shone a negative light on the Royal Family back in the UK.
Their claims included accusations that the Royal Family failed to support the couple amid media attacks and made racist remarks when Meghan was pregnant with Archie, speculating about how dark the baby’s skin would be.
Since then, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have continued to participate in media interviews, and have often made questionable remarks directed at the Royal Family.
In August, just weeks before the Queen’s death, Meghan sat down for an exclusive interview with New York-based magazine The Cut. The Duchess received a lot of backlash for her comments about her life as a royal.
Meghan claimed she and Harry tried to stay in the Royal Family, but felt as if they were “upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy” just by existing. Later, in what some described as a veiled threat, the Duchess revealed she hoped to make peace with the Firm one day, saying: “I think forgiveness is really important. It takes a lot more energy to not forgive. But it takes a lot of effort to forgive. I’ve really made an active effort, especially knowing that I can say anything.”
She clarifies that she “never had to sign anything that restricts me from talking. “I can talk about my whole experience and make a choice not to.”
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The Duchess was called out for her controversial comments, and two months later, in her most recent interview, she took a different approach. Comparing the Duchess’ interviews, one published a month before the Queen’s death and one published a month after, her comments regarding the royals and the institution had a complete change in tone.
In her interview with Variety magazine, Meghan described the warm relationship she had with the late monarch, saying: “I feel deep gratitude to have been able to spend time with her and get to know her.”
Later, speaking about the monarchy, she said: “As complex as any organisation might be, there is always something in it that I think is positive. It’s important to focus on that. Some industries are very different, and yet, business models for a lot of things — they have a bottom line. That bottom line needs to be held, I suppose.”
Some royal commentators have described this as a “direct turnaround,” noting the contrast between her comments in Variety and in The Cut. Co-host of the Royally Obsessed podcast, Rachel Bowie, said last week that Meghan was positive about her royal life instead of “rehashing old issues”.
She said: “It is kind of a direct turnaround from The Cut when she said: ‘I never signed anything, I can say whatever I want’. Now she is saying there is always something that is positive, almost coming to terms with what happened. I think a lot of the criticism was that she was really dragging and rehashing old issues in every interview and it felt like: here we are again talking about how everything went wrong.”
It remains unclear what exactly the Sussexes’ upcoming projects will explore; Harry’s memoir is set to be a “wholly truthful” account of his life so far and the couple’s docuseries with Netflix will possibly delve into their “love story”.
And while Mr Anderson believes the projects have the potential to rub the royals “the wrong way”, royal commentator Daniela Elser has argued Harry’s book might be a “damp squib”.
Writing for Australian outlet news.com.au, Ms Elser questioned: “Could the timing of Harry’s book coming out be a ploy to ensure that it gets to number one on the bestseller lists given the possible lack of competition? Could it be that the finished manuscript is far less explosive than anyone might have thought?”
She continued: “One would think if the publisher had a sure-fire, blow-them-out-of-the-water hit on their hands they would be doing everything in their power… to have it on shelves in time for the holidays no?” before adding that there are clues to suggest “Harry’s Big Book of Truth might be a bit of a damp squib”.
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