When Oprah interviewed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last year, over 12 million of us tuned in to hear the pair speak candidly about life in the royal family – a topic often shrouded in mystery. Likewise, with the launch of Netflix series Harry and Meghan, there’s been plenty of content keeping the couple front and centre. It’s no surprise, then, that anticipation has been sky-high for Prince Harry’s new memoir, Spare, which will be released on 10 January.
But why is Spare making headlines ahead of its release? Copies of Spare were accidentally sold in Spain – where it is titled En La Sombra – ahead of the official publication date, despite extensive efforts allegedly being made to avoid unauthorised leaks. Inflammatory tidbits have been leaked across the press, including Harry’s expansion on the claim that Princess Kate made Meghan cry (which was previously revealed in the Oprah interview), that he asked his father not to marry Camilla, and that he has experimented with multiple illegal recreational drugs.
The news comes shortly after newspaper The Guardian revealed that they had obtained a copy of the book ahead of its release, despite ‘stringent pre-launch security’. The Guardian went on to leak the passage that has been making headlines: that Prince William physically attacked Prince Harry in 2019.
Published by Penguin Random House and co-written by acclaimed ghostwriter JR Moehringer, the book offers a firsthand account of Prince Harry’s life, told with ‘raw, unflinching honesty’. It will chart his journey from childhood through to the present day, covering his time in the military, meeting Meghan and becoming a father.
When he announced the memoir back in 2021, Harry said he was writing it: ‘not as the Prince I was born, but as the man I have become.’ He added: ‘I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story – the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned – I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think.’
While the one-word title, Spare, might seem vague, it’s actually hugely significant. It alludes to the concept of ‘the heir and the spare’, which has long been used as a refrain to describe the monarch and their sibling. The ‘spare’ refers to the younger royal, who, unlike their older sibling, has no defined role within the monarchy.
The memoir was originally due to be published this year, but it was pushed back to leave a respectful amount of time after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
Some of the proceeds from the book will go towards two charities: Sentebale and WellChild. The former was founded by Prince Harry in 2006 to help children and young people in Lesotho, South Africa, while WellChild provides care for children and young people in the UK.
Spare will be released on 10 January 2023.
Featured image: Pari Dukovic for TIME