Prince Harry’s memoir Spare and the strategy behind it

The conversations between the subject and the author must have been long – spare part is not exactly long: it is said to be 416 pages.

It will be translated into 16 different languages ​​and the audio book version will be read by the prince himself.

It promises to be a worldwide bestseller and the next failure in the highly strategic public relations campaign Harry and Meghan have been forging since leaving the royal family nearly three years ago to the day of the book’s publication.

“The PR strategy from Harry and Meghan’s point of view is to position their store for the future,” says Juliet Rieden, royal correspondent and editor-in-chief of the Australian Women’s Week.

“They want to be humanitarian activists. They need to get out there and tell the public what went wrong at their last job and they want people to understand who they are and what they stand for.

“The backlash is that a lot of people don’t like what they see, especially in the UK, but their work is in America. That is the focus.”

After parting ways with royal money, the Sussexes are self-funding their one percent lifestyle.

Meghan and Harry want to be activists.

Meghan and Harry want to be activists.Credit:Getty

The book, for which Harry received a $20 million ($29 million) advance, is bringing in the necessary revenue. From the advance, Harry has donated $1.5 million to Sentebale, a children’s charity he helped found in Lesotho and Botswana; and £300,000 ($528,000) to British charity WellChild, of which he is Royal Patron.

Spare is more than a commercial venture.

Spare is more than a commercial venture.Credit:

but spare part is more than just a commercial endeavor – the book will help establish the Sussexes in the celebrity progressive activist firmament of the United States, the largest media market in the world and the prime launching pad for the social activism the Sussexes aim to pursue .

Penguin Random House says the book will cover with “raw, unflinching honesty” Harry’s entire public life — from childhood to the present, including his “dedication to service, military service that took him twice to the frontlines in Afghanistan and the… joy he found in being a husband and father.”

Early leaks from the book include the shocking revelation that William physically assaulted his brother in 2019 after the older brother called Harry’s new wife “rude,” “difficult” and “abrasive,” and claims that it was William and his wife Catherine, who encouraged Harry to wear the infamous Nazi costume to a party in 2005 because they thought it was funny.

According to Rieden, the market for memoirs is huge.

“Everyone is interested. People want to know what happened, even if they pretend they don’t,” she says. “The Sussexes have definitely pushed more important things off the front page, with gossip and family drama.”

The Harry and Meghan story or stories are undoubtedly popular – their TV series was the most-watched Netflix non-fiction debut of all time.

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In addition to a publishing deal for four books, of which Harry’s memoir is book #2 (in 2021, Meghan published a New York Times bestselling picture book for children The Bank), the pair also have a multi-year Netflix deal valued at between $100 and $150 million and a three-year Spotify podcast deal valued at between $15 and $25 million. They are also signed to a superstar voice agency.

These deals provide necessary personal income but also help fund Team Sussex’s activism/humanitarian arm, the Archewell Foundation.

The Foundation is run by Archewell, the umbrella organization for all of Team Sussex’s commercial and non-commercial projects.

Tim Powell, chief public relations officer at Dentsu Creative ANZ, says Harry’s book is about “filling that content machine.”

That means taking advantage of the institution that so harshly criticizes the couple.

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“The commercialism of what they’re trying to do drives them to stand up to the royal family,” says Powell.

“The revelations about ‘my brother yelled at me’ and the accusations of racism are probably heartfelt, but it also feels cynical because if you’re going to release a book or a podcast, you need suspense and conflict.”

The book’s title refers to Harry’s inferior position in the line of royal succession, and the pre-publication focused on Harry’s conflict with his brother, Prince William, the next king.

In clips from upcoming interviews, Harry also delivers more broadsides to the “they” he keeps referring to in the Sussexes’ Netflix film.

He is apparently referring to palace officials, although it is unclear.

Harry has clearly learned a thing or two from the royal family’s communications teams and his own dealings with the media.

According to Powell, Team Sussex is a “very sophisticated company” employing very experienced content producers, digital strategists and social media consultants, most of them Americans with close acquaintance with the US market.

They’re cleverly building their own media empires — with publishing and audio branches — so they don’t have to rely on traditional media to moderate their content.

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“They don’t make PR mistakes,” says Powell. “The question is, how long can they continue on this path? They’ve probably got another year to go, and they need to turn things around.

“They’re going to need a new narrative to keep getting book deals and stuff like that.”

Harry has conducted several interviews to promote his book, small excerpts of which were published online this week.

One is with the famous US journalist Anderson Cooper, the star reporter of the CNN network.

Cooper is an American royal family – his mother, Gloria, was an heiress to the famous Vanderbilt family, and according to historical rumors, his great-aunt Thelma Furness had an affair with Harry’s great-granduncle Edward VIII when he was Prince of Wales.

In a clip from the interview, Harry tells Cooper that “there comes a point when silence is treason.”

Another of Harry’s pre-release interviews concerns the tougher British market, where sympathy for the Sussexes competes with bone-deep loyalty to the royal family. It’s with ITV’s Tom Bradby, a friend of Harry and William.

“It never had to be like this,” Harry says in the trailer for the 90-minute Bradby special. “I want a family, not an institution … they have shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile.”

Somewhat to the contrary, as he criticizes her in front of a global audience, Harry also expressed a desire to reconcile with his family.

“I would like to get my father back. I would like to have my brother back,” he says.

Powell says while it’s obvious that Harry is genuinely offended, strategically it’s best for the Sussexes to talk about the royals while the rift is still fresh and interest in the monarchy is still strong.

That may not always be the case, and general interest in the royals in the all-important US market is much lower.

Powell says, “The Sussexes are pretty small fry in the States. Meghan’s Insta following is a lot smaller than, say, Beyonce or the Kardashians.”

As Queen Elizabeth II’s death fades into the past, interest in the royal family will wane, Powell believes, especially since “the new king isn’t very charismatic.”

Prince George and his siblings are growing up and Harry and Meghan are taking the spotlight.

Prince George and his siblings are growing up and Harry and Meghan are taking the spotlight.Credit:AP

“Harry is interesting now, but going forward he’s going to be a bald dad with kids and younger royals like George and his siblings are going to get older and have girlfriends and be of more media interest,” he says.

“The chatter about the brutality of the Palace media machine will trickle down and Harry and Meghan risk being seen as indulgently spoiled celebrities.”

Harry’s memoir will greatly help the Sussexes build their global media brand, which they could use to work for their chosen causes – anti-racism, mental health and Harry’s beloved Invictus Games, which will take place in Germany in September and will be the subject of the next Netflix -series of the Sussexes, Heart of Invictus.

But charity work doesn’t pay the bills.

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the 2018 WellChild Awards: Charity doesn't foot the bills.

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the 2018 WellChild Awards: Charity doesn’t foot the bills.Credit:AP

“Meghan has been consistent in her anti-racism campaign, but it’s not very commercially rewarding,” says Powell.

“Activism is real hard work and dedication. They can lend their names to things, but that doesn’t bring $5 to $7 million a year to the table to fund their lifestyle.”

Powell also questions Harry’s “cultural authority” in the US.

As a privileged, middle-aged white man representing an institution inextricably linked to colonialism, he is not in the best position to speak out on issues such as diversity, anti-racism, or disadvantage.

Meghan, of course, has far greater cultural authority, which will stand her in good stead if she publishes her own memoir, it’s been speculated – the Sussexes are yet to deliver two more books as part of their publishing deal.

But, says Rieden, the time window for more Sussex stories is limited.

“A lot of people want them to drop the personal stuff and get on with Archewell, their activist humanitarian work,” she says.

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“They have a lot of potential to make a difference there and that work has been set aside for all of that.

“They definitely have the name and platform for it in America. You can do great things.”

And if that fails, Meghan, a former star of legal television drama, suitsShe can return to acting at any time.

https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/the-strategy-behind-spare-prince-harry-s-tell-all-memoir-that-is-set-to-break-the-internet-20230105-p5cajx.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture Prince Harry’s memoir Spare and the strategy behind it

Jaclyn Diaz

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