The Scottish Mail on Sunday
SARAH VINE is back
ADMITTEDLY I am not a publisher but I do know a little about the book trade. And one thing I can say for certain: you don’t get a four-book deal with an advance approaching £30million if the person signing the cheque doesn’t know for sure there’s some seriously juicy stuff on offer.
The revelation that Prince Harry is working on a tell-all autobiography in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning ghostwriter J.R. Moehringer would have been nerve-racking enough for the Queen, given his recent track record with Oprah et al.
Now it transpires there are three more books in the pipeline. Admittedly one is a ‘wellness’ tome, to be penned by the Duchess herself, so probably more of the sub-Gwyneth Paltrow guff about the importance of self-love.
But the other two remain a mystery – save for the fact that Volume 2 will reportedly be held back until after the Queen dies.
If this turns out to be the case, then inevitably there will be speculation as to why. And given the Prince’s recent string of attacks on his family, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to assume the worst.
There have been many jaw-dropping moments over the past few months in relation to Harry, but this sets a new bar.
Because however uncharitable it may be, it’s hard to dismiss the notion that the Queen, who has never been anything other than forgiving of her grandson’s behaviour, is now little more than an inconvenient obstacle in his mission to cash in on his past life as a Royal.
What’s more, one can’t help wondering: is it possible that Prince Harry might not actually be the rather sweet, generous-hearted man he always seemed to be – or even the emotional, bleeding heart Prince of Woke he likes to project?
We’ve seen glimpses of this over the past few years. His aggression towards the press, the petty rows with his brother, the way he and Meghan deliberately targeted the Duchess of Cambridge in that Oprah interview, his decision to fly home straight after his grandfather’s funeral rather than stay a few extra hours to celebrate the Queen’s 95th birthday.
The further Harry steps out from behind the protective screen of the Monarchy, the more his true character seems to emerge. And it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Details about how he ‘led’ contract negotiations from his £11million mansion in Montecito are in themselves quite revealing. According to a source in publishing, he had a ‘very take-it-orleave-it’ attitude, and ‘those involved were actually very shocked by his approach, which was to look at them coldly and state his demands’.
His starting price was £18 million; the bidding apparently ended around the £29million mark. That’s the kind of deal Gordon ‘greed is good’ Gekko would be proud of.
It’s certainly a far cry from the touchy-feely persona Harry likes
ALL in favour of encouraging healthier lifestyles, but a Government-approved app that monitors our shopping choices and dispenses rewards for buying fruit and veg? If you think Test and Trace is annoying, wait until you get pinged for having an extra scoop of ice cream.
to present in carefully engineered photoshoots and interviews.
But ultimately you have only to look at the way Harry continually ambushes the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family with bombshells like this, never giving them fair warning of what he’s planning, to see that this is a man who, while he talks a lot about compassion and caring, often behaves in exactly the opposite manner.
Uncertainty and living under constant fear of attack are classic stress triggers, and that is exactly what Harry is doing to the Queen.
And now she knows that it won’t even stop when she’s dead – that, in fact, her passing will unlock another clause in the multi-millionpound contract.
Harry claims that in writing this memoir he will have a chance to address the world ‘not as a Prince but as the man I’ve become’.
Might I respectfully suggest, Sir, that as that man you take a long, hard look in the mirror…