The big royal headline of the week landed yesterday afternoon ET – Prince Harry is writing his memoir, to be published through Penguin Random House, “tentatively scheduled for late 2022”. As I wrote yesterday in What Else? , I’m not convinced that they’d always intended to make the announcement when they did. Page Six had the scoop initially, and from what I understand, their connection wasn’t through a Sussex source but through a publishing source tied to JR Moehringer, who is supposedly co-writing the book with Harry. From what I’ve heard, Page Six then reached out to Penguin Random House for comment, and the publisher then moved quickly to get the release out. Page Six initially reported that the memoir is well underway, suggesting that a first draft is almost done, although it’s not due until October.
In a statement about what’s expected to be a major bestseller, Harry said that:
“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. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”
That last bit, to me, reads like a shot at the British tabloid media who’ve been telling the story of Harry since the day he was born, and as we’ve seen over the years, he’s been increasingly and aggressively critical about the fallacies that have been put out there about his life.
But is that his only target? As expected, the reaction in the UK was exactly what you’d expect it to be – in part because they’re always salty when American media gets the jump on British royalty; they didn’t see this coming. And also, well, this is exactly the kind of headline they live for. It’s been relatively quiet on the Harry and Meghan Markle front for a few weeks. And now they have something to juice and juice and juice for several days – Harry’s memoir might even carry them for the rest of the month.
The easy angle to take here, of course, is the blindside one. Of course the other members of the British royal family had no idea this was happening. For starters, if they had, The Sunday Times would have broken the story, or maybe the Telegraph, or whatever royal correspondent writing for a paper that’s currently in favour with the viper courtiers. But also, since when has the British royal family been up on Harry and Meghan in months if not years? The whole point of Sussexit was to get away from the Firm and its shenanigans and Harry already revealed to Oprah during the Television Event of the Year that information that he thought was privileged was being leaked through palace insiders about so much of their plans, they actually had to put an ocean and a continent between them to protect against being compromised. That’s why the royals didn’t know about the Netflix and Spotify deals, Meghan’s pregnancy, the Television Event of the Year, Meghan’s children’s book… none of it. So at this point…
Is it really a “blindside”? Two years ago, when Harry and Meghan were still senior royals, of course. But now? Who’s out there still under the illusion that the British royals are up to date on all things Sussex? With a blindside the expectation is that someone should have known. But those expectations in this case have long since evaporated. In fact, the British royals not being aware of any of Harry and Meghan’s moves is now the expectation.
That said, it is understandable why they’re worried, even though they haven’t officially gone on record about being worried, that’s what the tabloids are telling us. Which, once again, is such contradictory messaging because on the one hand, the narrative is all like, who cares about Harry, he can’t hurt us, we are strong, and look at Kate’s childcare and garden projects! But on the other hand, Harry signs a reported $20 million book deal and suddenly they’re all, he’s attacking us, poor us! Pick one – are you worried or are you not?
The worry, obviously, is that Harry’s about to drop the big book of family secrets. That’s not what’s being promised and there’s no suggestion that that’s what the memoir will be about but given the tension in the family right now and his feud with both his father and his brother, many people are making that assumption. Like is this Prince Harry’s equivalent of what his mother shared with Andrew Morton in Diana: Her True Story?
For what it’s worth, behind the scenes, given that this doesn’t seem to have been when the publisher intended to make the announcement about this book deal, and their strategy may have needed to be adjusted from the original plans because of Page Six’s scoop, all I’ve heard is that Harry will not be writing a drag-out bombshell book telling on his family. He may tell on himself (Vegas would be a good story) and there will still be enough intrigue to sell this thing, especially if his time at school is mentioned, and his time in military training, the years he spent partying, his ex-girlfriends, Chelsy Davy, for example, for a long time we’ve all wanted to know more about that relationship, and of course in his own words, how he met and fell in love with Meghan Markle – all of that, from his perspective, and not through a Lifetime movie, lol, is good sh-t, you don’t necessarily need all the other family tea… at least not for the first book. Save some for the second book, right? And the next $20 million. That’s the better play. If Harry has the right representation, that’s exactly what they should be advising him. So for all the angst about what exactly he’s going to be sharing, think of it from a show your work perspective: you don’t blow your load in the first round. If there’s to be any scorching of the earth at all, you at least want to put down some runway first.
More on Prince Harry’s memoir tomorrow. Until then, here’s a tweet I saw yesterday that I’m still laughing about.
Prince Harry every time they get comfortableðŸ’€ pic.twitter.com/YGx1nNPcNR— TV FanaticðŸ‘‘âšœï¸ (@TvKhaleesi) July 19, 2021