They have a saying across the pond: Every monarchy needs an heir and a spare. Over at Buckingham Palace, Prince William is first in line for the throne, currently occupied by his father, Charles III. If he’s the heir, then his brother, Prince Harry, is the spare.
The Duke of Sussex is owning that title in his highly-anticipated debut memoir, Spare, which will hit bookshelves in 16 languages on January 10, announced Penguin Random House in a statement this week. The book, the publishing house says, is a “landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief” told with “raw, unflinching honesty.”
The book was originally slated for a late 2022 release. But on September 8, Harry’s grandmother, Elizabeth II, died at age 96. Speaking to the New York Times’ Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter, book industry executives close to Spare say that the prince has gotten “cold feet about the memoir’s contents at various points” and that the book “has been shrouded in rumors, delays and secrecy.”
Cold feet, though, have not stopped Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, from speaking candidly in recent years. In 2020, Harry and Meghan stepped back from royal duties and moved to the United States. The next year, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the couple recounted racist remarks targeting Meghan and revealed that the royal family had cut the couple off financially.
Earlier this year, Meghan debuted “Archetypes,” an interview podcast produced by Spotify, and the couple has a production deal with Netflix. They are also the founders of the nonprofit Archewell Foundation.
In honor of the legacy of his mother, Princess Diana, Harry will donate a portion of the proceeds of Spare to Sentebale, an organization he co-founded that supports children living with HIV/AIDS in Botswana and Lesotho.
Diana’s tragic death will be a central subject of Spare, according to Penguin Random House. “As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on,” writes the publishing house. “For Harry, this is his story at last.”
When the book was first announced in 2021, Harry released a statement about his motivations for pursuing the project. “I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become,” he said. “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.”
Harry also professed a commitment to honesty and accuracy. That commitment may require him to walk a fine line, as Matt Latimer, a literary agent and co-founder of Javelin, which represents high-profile figures, tells the Times.
“Is his goal to enhance his celebrity with a certain sector of the public, or is it to repair the rift with his family?” he says. “Those are competing goals to some extent, and it’s hard to do both.”