The pen is mightier! Prince Harry might be the latest royal to tell all in a memoir, but he’s hardly the first.
The Duke of Sussex announced in July 2021 that he is working on a “wholly truthful” book to be published by Penguin Random House in late 2022. “I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become,” he said in a statement announcing the book. “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.”
The news was met with a fair amount of shock from both royal watchers and actual royals. “The royal family is shaken up about the book,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively after the book was announced. The insider added that Prince Charles and Prince William were “particularly concerned about what Harry will reveal” after the former military pilot’s increasing criticism, which was “bad enough” already.
The decision to share a “firsthand account” of his life in print seems unprecedented, but 70 years ago, his great-grandfather Edward VIII did much the same thing in a ghostwritten memoir called A King’s Story.
As fans of The Crown may recall, Edward abdicated the throne in 1936 after the U.K. government opposed his marriage to American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Following his abdication, he was titled the Duke of Windsor and wed Simpson in 1937.
A Foreign Affairs review of his 1951 book called it “a pleasant autobiography” that covered territory leading up to Edward’s abdication and marriage. “The work is not particularly informative about broad world or Empire affairs, but is most useful for an understanding of the subtle premises of that unique institution, the British crown,” the review concluded.
It remains to be seen what kind of details Harry will reveal about the “unique institution” he decided to leave in 2020, but his publisher promises that the memoir will be full of details about his life from childhood to the present day.
“Prince Harry will offer an honest and captivating personal portrait, one that shows readers that behind everything they think they know lies an inspiring, courageous, and uplifting human story,” read a press release, noting that the book will be “the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him.”
Keep scrolling for a list of other British royals who revealed all in books: