Is Harry still releasing a memoir? Uncertainty shrouds project

Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir, which was supposed to name names and to be “very harsh” in its depiction of the British royal family, doesn’t have a release date this year as expected, the Times UK reported over the weekend.

While this news from the Times is likely to be a relief to the royal family as it prepares to celebrate the queen’s Platinum Jubilee, it raises questions about the reasons for the delay.

The uncertainty is likely to raise further questions about how Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, are managing their commitments to all their highly touted, multimillion-dollar projects.

After Netflix announced last month that it wasn’t proceeding with Meghan’s proposed animated children’s series, she and Harry became the target of TV talk show jokes and humor columns last week over speculation that they might be launching a “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”- style reality TV show.

A Page Six report said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were letting Netflix crews into their home in Montecito to produce an “at-home” documentary series about their life in California in order to fulfill their $100 million commitment to the streaming service.

Meanwhile, the Times report also revealed that Harry and Meghan have lost “another key aide,” their global secretary, Toya Holness. According to the Daily Mail, she would become the latest of some dozen top staff members to leave their employ since 2018.

With Harry’s memoir, Penguin Random House announced its publication with much fanfare in 2021, saying the book would be “an inspiring, courageous and uplifting human story” with Harry writing “not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become. ” Penguin Random House said publication was “tentatively scheduled for late 2022.” Page Six reported that Harry had sold his memoir for a $20 million advance and would donate the proceeds to charity.

A spokesperson for the publisher told the Times that the memoir did not yet have a publication date, and would not confirm whether the book would still appear this year as planned. A spokesperson for Harry also offered a similar response, while yet another source told the Times that there was “some uncertainty” about the book’s publication date.

There could be questions about whether Harry can get the book done, although it’s been reported that he was collaborating with an American ghostwriter, JR Moehringer, to do the actual work. The Page Six report on Harry and Meghan’s “at-home” Netflix show offered another possible reason for the book’s delay: The Sussexes didn’t want the Netflix show to air until 2023, and the streaming giant wants it to air around the same time that Harry’s memoir is published.

Times royal editor Royah Nikkhah said that the delay is no doubt is “a relief to the royal family and courtiers.” Among other things, it means that the book wo n’t overshadow celebrations for Harry’s 96-year-old grandmother and her 70 years of service on the throne. Harry and Meghan are expected to travel to the UK to participate in some of those celebrations, the first time the Sussexes have been reunited with the royal family for more than two years. If nothing else, the delay would allow Harry to incorporate an account of those celebrations in his book by him, Nikkhah added.

Harry’s announcement that he was going to publish the book that was expected this fall, “was just a huge issue for the whole family,” author Tina Brown said in an interview with the Washington Post.

The family was worried Harry might “name names” and identify the so-called “royal racist,” according to Brown, who recently published her book, “The Palace Papers,” detailing the public and private triumphs, and challenges faced by modern members of the British royal family. In their explosive 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry and Meghan famously accused an unnamed family member of making racist comments about their unborn first child.

Brown said that Harry’s book was coming at a precarious time for the royal family, with the beloved queen’s increasing frailty offering a reminder that power will eventually transition to Harry’s father, Prince Charles.

The royal family “have (the book) now hanging over them like the sword of Damocles, that come the fall, they’re gonna get another boatload of flack from inside their own family,” Brown said. “Just at a point where the monarchy’s very fragile with the queen on a glide path to the end of her life. So there’s a lot of anger about that.”

It was also expected that a new round of criticism from Harry could be especially damaging to his relationship with Charles and with his brother, Prince William, Brown and other royal observers have said. Harry’s relationship with William is “pretty much non-existent,” Brown said.

“It’s got a lot of healing to do before there’s any relationship now. I think it’s even possible it could have been healed after the Oprah interview, although it was a very explosive and hurtful interview as far as (the royals) were concerned,” she continued.

Brown said she was told that Harry’s book would be even “more harsh” because Harry is “anxious to quote, ‘tell his truth.’”

When it was suggested to Brown that Harry must be anxious to publish the book in order to collect his $20 million, she said that the royals should consider buying his silence.

“Personally I think the royal family should write a huge check,” Brown said, “and say, ‘here Harry, here’s a check for your security — maybe you could just sort of postpone (the book) indefinitely’.”

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