I’m exhausted just typing this, but:
Prince Harry is writing a memoir.
On Monday afternoon, a story appeared in Page Six stating that Prince Harry had signed a deal with Penguin Random House to write an “explosive memoir about his life in the royal family.” Page Six reporters Oli Coleman and Sara Nathan wrote that they had seen documents about the memoir and could confirm that the first draft was almost done. They also reported that ghostwriter J.R. Moehringer had been hired to work on the book.
Within 90 minutes of Page Six breaking the story, it had been confirmed and announced by both Penguin Random House and Harry’s office. We’ll get to the full press release in a second, but this is the quote that Penguin Random House and Harry chose to publicize when the book was announced:
This is an interesting quote to use for publicity. The first and biggest critique of the quote is that being a prince is what makes Harry’s life interesting and worth publishing a memoir about. It is rumoured that Harry got a $20 million advance from Penguin Random House for the book. Do you think Penguin Random House gave Harry $20 million for any reason other than that he’s a prince? The answer is no. I understand what Harry was trying to do with this quote, but again, it just sounds tone-deaf. You can’t make a big song and dance about how you don’t want to be a prince anymore without acknowledging that your new life is being financed by the fact that you are famous for being a prince. And using your style of Prince and title of Duke in the quote about not wanting to focus on being a prince! There’s a disconnect somewhere.
Here is the full press release:
Thoughts on the book announcement:
- Harry and Meghan have followed the Barack and Michelle Obama post-presidency moneymaking playbook to a tee. The Obamas sign with Netflix and start their own production company, Harry and Meghan sign with Netflix and start their own production company. The Obamas sign with Spotify to produce content, Harry and Meghan sign with Spotify to produce content (which is presumably forthcoming??). The Obamas sign a multi-book deal with Penguin Random House, Harry and Meghan sign a multi-book deal with Penguin Random House (Meghan’s children’s book, The Bench, was published by PRH, and I would bet money on Meghan’s as-yet-unannounced memoir being published by PRH as well). Even the publicity from the publisher is visually similar.
Prince Harry’s memoir blurb from Penguin Random House:
Barack Obama’s memoir blurb from Penguin Random House:
Barack and Michelle to Harry and Meghan:
- As I said on Twitter, Harry and Penguin Random House are intentionally releasing this book to coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s 70th year on the throne, also known as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year. I understand Penguin Random House’s decision to do this because corporations are not moral. The job of corporations is to make money, and causing a stir by releasing this memoir during the Queen’s 70th year on the throne makes great business sense. But for Harry to agree to this, knowing that the majority of the year is going to be spent leaking stories from the memoir to take attention and goodwill away from Queen Elizabeth and the rest of his family, is a stab in the heart. As UKRoyalTea said on Twitter yesterday, this really feels like Harry is closing the door on any form of reconciliation with his family in the future. It’s very sad.
- Re: above, I’m gonna hazard a guess and say that Harry and Meghan will not invited to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London next summer.
- There have been reports that Harry and Meghan are anxious to have baby Lilibet christened in London, presumably in the presence of Queen Elizabeth, Charles, and Will. The reasons they would want to do this: 1) for the photo; 2) for the drama; 3) to solidify Lilibet’s place in the line of succession (keep in mind that she has never been on the soil of the country that she could theoretically rule). This news doesn’t help the chances of a royal christening at Windsor.
- The press release calls Harry “one of the most fascinating and influential global figures of our time.” Mkay.
- Harry’s quote about having worn many hats, “literally and figuratively”, is VERY funny. Yes, most people have worn more than one hat, both literally and figuratively. Now I just want it to be a full-colour book of Harry wearing different hats. HAT MONTAGE!
- The last line of the press release states that “Prince Harry will be donating proceeds to charity.” If you’re casually skimming the press release, you might think “Oh, that’s so nice! Prince Harry is donating all of the profits from this book.” But that’s not what the press release says. It says that Harry will donate proceeds to charity. Not all proceeds. Not all royalties. Not all of the rumoured $20 million advance. Just proceeds. So, some. He will donate some of the money he makes. It also doesn’t state which charity he will donate the money to. Presumably he will donate whatever money from this project that he chooses to donate to Archewell, which is also not a guarantee that 100% of the money will go to good causes. Archewell is part charitable foundation, part corporation. They are two sides of the same coin. So it’s possible that he could “donate” “proceeds” from the book, which could either go to 1) Archewell the charity, a portion of which would go to “administrative fees” (aka paying the co-founders of the foundation, aka Harry and Meghan; or 2) Archewell the company; or 3) Archewell the charity, and let’s be generous and say he’ll flag 100% of his donation for charitable acts. Even if that is the case, he and Meghan will get nice publicity about those charitable acts from their friendly outlets in the US (Harper’s Bazaar, Newsweek, People, Oprah, etc.), which will benefit both Archewell the charity as well as Archewell the corporation, and therefore will benefit Harry and Meghan themselves. Every time Harry and Meghan announce a new project, for better or worse, this is what flashes in my head: