Prince Harry’s memoir, an object of obsessive anticipation worldwide since first announced last year, is coming out Jan. 10. The book will be called “Spare” and is being billed by Penguin Random House as an account told with “raw, unflinching honesty” and filled with “insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.”
In a statement released Thursday, Penguin Random House summoned memories of the stunning death in 1997 of Prince Harry’s mother, Diana, and of Harry and his brother, William, “walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow – and horror.”
“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,” the statement reads in part.
“For Harry, this is his story at last.”
The memoir’s title is an apparent reference to Prince Harry’s being a royal “spare,” not the first in line to succession. William, Prince of Wales, is next in line.
The 416-page book will come out in 16 languages, from Dutch to Portuguese, and also will be released in an audio edition read by Prince Harry. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Harry, the Duke of Sussex, will be using proceeds from “Spare” to donate to British charities. He has already given $1.5 million to Sentebale, an organization he co-founded with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to help children and young people in Lesotho and Botswana affected by HIV/AIDS.
Penguin Random House identifies Prince Harry as “a husband, father, humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate, and environmentalist.”
Royals watchers and the public at large have speculated endlessly since the book was first announced in July 2021, billed as “intimate and heartfelt” and tentatively scheduled for this year.
The Duke of Sussex had already revealed a news-making willingness to discuss his private life when he and his American-born wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, were interviewed for a March 2021 broadcast by their neighbor in Santa Barbara, California, Oprah Winfrey. The couple spoke of Meghan’s deep unhappiness with her new life in England, the alleged racism within the royal family and Harry’s fear that his wife’s life might be endangered had they remained in his native country.
In 1992, Diana worked with author Andrew Morton on her explosive memoir “Diana: Her True Story,” in which she described at length her unhappy marriage to the future King Charles, Harry’s father.
Harry and Meghan stepped back from their royal duties in 2020 and moved to the U.S. Harry told Winfrey that his family cut him off financially and that he helped pay for his security with money left to him by his mother. They have launched numerous initiatives, including a Netflix production deal and the “impact-driven non-profit” Archewell Foundation.
The book’s delay led to rumors that Harry was hesitating to say too much about his family, or was perhaps revising the narrative after his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, died in September. He has spoken of being estranged from his brother, William, although the siblings and their wives appeared in public together during the mourning period following the queen’s death.
According to one veteran royal correspondent, however, it was a moment in time, not a rift completely mended.
“I think there are some major unresolved issues at foot,” Roya Nikkhah, a royal correspondent who’s reported on the monarchy for over a decade, told CBS News. “For William and Harry to agree to come together and do that walkabout was not plain sailing.”
In his first address to the nation as monarch, King Charles III seemed to offer an olive branch to Harry, saying: “I also want to express my love for Harry and Meghan, as they continue to build their lives overseas.”
But he also highlighted the brothers’ divergent paths, promoting William to the role of Prince of Wales, which has traditionally been assigned to heirs-in-waiting, and Kate to Princess of Wales, a title last used by Princess Diana.
“Had Harry and Meghan not stepped back from royal duties when they did, they would have stepped up, too, in terms of positioning, role, seniority,” said Nikkhah. “He’s still the son of the king, but he’s hanging out with movie stars and making Netflix shows in America.”