Prince Harry’s memoir will have to duke it out with competing Royal books

·5 min read
Duke of Sussex
Duke of Sussex

The Duke of Sussex is said to have put the final touches to his memoir, with fans eagerly awaiting his promised “truth”.

As he hopes to give the definitive version of his own story, he may wish to hurry up, as Royal biographers old and new vie to tell ever-so-slightly different versions.

The next few months will bring a flurry of books tipped to give new insight into the lives and behaviour of the Royals, with authors, ranging from one of the Sussexes’ chief “Royal expert” critics, to the journalist who broke the story of the Kensington Palace bullying row.

Prince Harry’s own book is still rumoured to be out in October, but there has been no update from his team or his publishers since it was first announced in July 2021.

He has said he is keen to tell the first “accurate and wholly truthful” account of his own life.

Sources have indicated that several books due out at around the same time will tell different versions of the latter stages of the Duke’s life in the Royal family and his ultimate departure.

One is written by Valentine Low, the journalist who broke the story about the Duchess of Sussex being accused of bullying staff while she was at Kensington Palace.

Then, protected sources spoke candidly about the atmosphere and eventual formal complaint, with the Duchess’s team denying the accusations.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex - Reuters
Duke and Duchess of Sussex - Reuters

In November comes Angela Levin’s biography of the Duchess of Cornwall, timed for the year of the future Queen Consort’s 75th birthday.

Although it promises only to tell the life story of Camilla, Levin - who previously wrote a biography of Prince Harry - is now one of the Sussexes’ most vocal critics in the media.

Her sources may be tempted to let a different “side” of any story be heard, with reports that the Duke of Sussex’s book will contain criticism of his stepmother.

Another biography, an updated and reissued version of Catherine Meyer’s Charles: Heart of a King, is to be released on Aug 25, promising “previously unpublished details and insights into the risks to the monarchy” including “Harry and Meghan’s exit”.

The tone has already been set by Tom Bower’s recent book Revenge, subtitled Meghan, Harry and the War between the Windsors, which painted a largely unflattering and contested picture of the Sussexes.

More promising for the Duke and Duchess will be Omid Scobie’s second biography, following the favourable Finding Freedom, but that is not out until 2023.

“The race is on,” said a source.

Low’s book is called Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown, and will focus on palace staff to include the “cloud hanging over Prince Andrew as well as Harry and Meghan’s departure from Royal life”.

Low has more than 25 years’ experience reporting on the Royal family.

Valentine Low - Shutterstock
Valentine Low - Shutterstock

He made light of the potential publishing clash with the Duke’s memoir, admitting: “When I first heard that Prince Harry was writing a book, I have to say that I was a little bit put out.

“It meant that my publisher said that I had to bring my book out before his, so I had to write really quickly.

He joked: “It was all a bit annoying.

“But then I saw the good side. Think of the publicity opportunities, Harry! We could do the chat shows together, and breakfast telly. We’d make a great double act.

“You could tell them how awful the media is, and I could tell them what fun you used to be, before it all went wrong.

“Anyway, call my agent. We’ll sort something out.”

Speculation about title of Duke’s book

The publishing industry is already speculating about the title of the Duke’s autobiography, with insiders believing it could follow the trend set by his ghostwriter for a previous successful biography, or big-name signings such as Michelle Obama.

Both opted for striking one-word titles: JR Moehringer’s collaboration with Andre Agassi was called Open, while Mrs Obama went for Becoming.

Guesses about the Duke’s offering range from the straightforward Prince or Harry, to the more whimsical Truth.

In July 2021 when the book was first announced, the Duke said he was “excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful”.

The autobiography could also face on-screen competition from the Duke and Duchess’s own Netflix series - which their team has never confirmed and has previously emphatically denied is a “reality” show or fly-on-the-wall documentary.

Expected to run to multiple episodes, the show is rumoured to be out towards the end of this year and follow the Sussexes at work.

Page Six, the showbiz section of the New York Post, has recently referred to it as an “at home” style programme, with camera crews spotted filming Prince Harry and Meghan at outings, including a quasi-tour to New York and at the UN.

On the same streaming service, a new series of The Crown will dramatise its own version of the Duke’s early life as it tracks the scandal of his parents’ marriage as it unravelled.

Low’s book will be published on Sept 29, Levin’s is due on Nov 10 and Scobie’s is out next year.