Yesterday, at exactly midnight, bookshops in London opened their doors in an emergency to cope with the huge influx of people wanting to be among the first to add Prince Harry’s book to their personal library after it officially went on sale. Fans queuing up outside the sites to buy a copy of the hardcover edition told Island media they wanted to learn the truth about the aristocrat’s life “first hand”.
The premiere of “Spare” took place after copies of it leaked onto the market in Spain last week, ending up on the shelves of some of the sites of major book distributors there, who apparently breached their agreement with the publisher by offering their customers an opportunity to get it earlier than agreed.
Waterstones said the Duke of Sussex’s autobiography was one of the “most sought-after pre-order titles in a decade”. Last night, late in the evening, the booksellers opened their shops located in Piccadilly Square, anticipating the great interest in the volume. A number of WH Smith branches were also among those to extend their opening hours because of the release.
The 410-page story of King Charles III’s young son has already topped Amazon’s UK best-seller list, although parts of it have already reached the press, who have helpfully introduced them to their readers – for example how Prince Harry lost his virginity, or how he was assaulted by his brother, Prince William.
The book, detailing the conflicts that took place in the royal court, provides Harry’s perspective on the discord in his family. His narrative begins with his childhood and ends with his withdrawal from the family.
So far, Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have not commented on the subject.
In the reading, Prince Harry claims that he begged his father not to remarry, that he killed 25 people during his military service in Afghanistan, that he took various medications to try to cope with severe panic attacks, and that Meghan and Catherine had a rocky relationship.
One of the main themes in the autobiography is the aristocrat’s sense of overwhelming grief over the loss of his mother, Princess Diana, which left him with “post-traumatic stress disorder”. In a recent interview to promote Spare, Harry said he was committed to a mission to change the media landscape, as it was the press that was held responsible for the persecution of Lady Di that led to her fatal end.
Harry’s account reveals that he and his brother were called ‘Harold’ and ‘Willie’, that he used to buy his clothes from discounter TK Maxx and that he was an avid fan of Friends. The prince also revealed that he first learned of the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, from the BBC website, not from his family.
Members of the royal family are omitted from the book’s acknowledgments section. Instead, the Duke paid special tribute to his friends in the UK, “who remained beside him in the mistAsked if the tome’s publication had any chance of preventing a possible reconciliation with his relatives, Harry said his estrangement from them could hardly have been greater, even if he hadn’t been binding his truth between two covers to share with the world.
“There are things that will still annoy me but I’m not angry anymore because I’m right where I need to be” he told the camera on Good Morning America.
Despite the prior leak, many lined up late into the night to buy the memoir.
Professor Chris Imafidon, from Epping, was among the crowd who took a stand outside the bookshops, explaining that he was “extremely curious” to find out why Harry had stepped back from royal life.
“I really want to know first hand what happened“, he said.
Also in line was 27-year-old Sasha Purcell, a bartender who had recently moved to London from Melbourne, Australia.
“I’m just intrigued” she said. “ChI have been in the press so much for the edition, and now I want to read it too“.
And Sarah Nakana, 46, from south London, said she had already downloaded the audiobook because she wanted to “get ahead of the British press and their stories”.
A YouGov poll released on Monday showed an initial decline in Prince Harry’s popularity in his home country. The poll showed that 64% of those polled have a negative view of him, meaning that since last fall, 33% of people have changed their views on the prince.
However, figures for January 2023 show greater support among young people aged 18-24, with numbers almost equally split between those with positive and negative views of the aristocrat.