Prince Harry and his book publisher Penguin Random House have announced the release date of his highly anticipated memoir, and the title of the book is already turning heads.
Titled Spare, the book will be released on Jan. 10, almost exactly three years to the day since Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, announced they were stepping back from their royal duties amidst allegations of racism directed at Meghan from the British press and within the royal family.
Spare is likely a nod to the phrase “an heir and a spare,” which refers to how monarchies typically have a “spare” heir who is not first in line and unlikely to ever be on the throne — forever a back-up monarch.
Observers on social media were struck by the title. “The power and the pathos of one word,” tweeted Peter Hunt, the BBC’s former royal correspondent.
When Harry’s autobiography was first announced in July 2021, the prince said it would be “firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful” — perhaps a dig at the British press, which has hounded him his entire life, and now his wife too, ever since their marriage. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been at odds with tabloids reporting on their personal lives, even going to court over allegations of breached privacy.
The book has been billed as a tell-all and has been the subject of immense speculation. It is expected to cover the prince’s childhood to the present day, including his time serving in Afghanistan with the British military and his current life as a husband and father.
Harry’s memoir has already been delayed once, and much has changed since it was first announced. During that time, Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II died and his father is now King.
The book’s delay led to rumours that Harry was hesitating to say too much about the royal family, or was perhaps revising the narrative around Queen Elizabeth II. 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.
It’s unclear how the British public will react to the autobiography, given that he and his wife’s popularity in the country took a dive after they levied allegations of racism against the royal family in a high-profile interview with Oprah Winfrey last year.
Penguin Random House writes that the book will take readers “back to one of the most searing images of the 20th century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow — and horror.”
“With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief,” the publisher wrote in a press release.
Spare will be released in 16 languages worldwide accompanied by an audiobook narrated by Prince Harry himself.
Harry’s proceeds from Spare will be donated to charity, with US$1.5 million sent to Sentebale, an organization that the prince founded with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to benefit children and youth affected by HIV/AIDS in Lesotho and Botswana. Random House writes that ₤300,000 has also been earmarked for WellChild, an organization that helps children and youth access health care for their complex medical needs at home, instead of in hospitals.
“Penguin Random House is honoured to be publishing Prince Harry’s candid and emotionally powerful story for readers everywhere,” the global CEO of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, said in a statement. “He shares a remarkably moving personal journey from trauma to healing, one that speaks to the power of love and will inspire and encourage millions of people around the world.”
— With a file from The Associated Press