Prince Harry ‘throws spanner in works’ with ‘attempt to rewrite memoirs’ in wake of Queen Elizabeth’s death

Duke of Sussex reportedly keen to rework sections of forthcoming autobiography because they ‘might not look so good’ after grandmother’s death

Prince Harry wants to rewrite sections of his forthcoming memoirs because they “might not look so good” in the wake of Queen Elizabeth’s death, according to reports.

“Harry has thrown a spanner in the works,” a source told the Mail on Sunday. “He is keen for refinements in the light of the queen’s death, her funeral and his father, Charles, taking the throne ... He wants sections changed now. It’s not a total rewrite by any means. He desperately wants to make changes. But it might be too late.”

The autobiography, which the duke of Sussex has billed as an “accurate and wholly truthful” account of his life that he would write “not as the prince I was born, but as the man I have become”, has already been signed off for an expected autumn publication date, as part of a three-book deal, worth a reported $40 million, or almost €41.5 million, that the duke of Sussex signed with Penguin Random House. He is believed to have already received half of that money as an advance.

Penguin Random House has described the autobiography as “an intimate and heartfelt memoir” in which “Prince Harry will offer an honest and captivating personal portrait” of his “lifetime in the public eye from childhood to the present day, including his dedication to service, the military duty that twice took him to the front lines of Afghanistan, and the joy he has found in being a husband and father”. But after it saw the first draft, according to the Mail on Sunday, the publisher asked the prince to rewrite sections of it, as it regarded the manuscript as “too touchy-feely” and too focused on mental health issues.


No publication date has yet been announced, although Penguin Random House is believed to want the autobiography to be on sale in the United States before Thanksgiving, on November 24th, so it hits the crucial Christmas market. Given the scale of its investment, the company is likely to want the book to be as revelatory as possible, according to the Telegraph, which speculates that, “rather than watering down the memoir, it remains possible that the publishers will want the duke to add detail about what happened after the queen’s death when there were clear tensions between Prince Harry, his brother Prince William and the king over his own part in the events leading up to the funeral and that of the duchess of Sussex”.

Others believe that the memoir “would disappear” if the rift between Harry, William and their father were to heal, according to the Guardian, albeit that scrapping the book would have financial consequences for Harry. Royal watchers believe King Charles’s first address to the UK after his mother’s death, singling out his son and daughter-in-law, was a move towards a rapprochement. “I want to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he said.

The former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt has suggested that King Charles should let Harry back into the fold. “He should turn his declaration of love for Harry and Meghan into action. He could give Harry back his honorary military appointments and find the couple space on the Buckingham Palace balcony every now and then ... In return for Charles’s magnanimity, Harry’s soul-baring autobiography could disappear into the long grass,” he wrote in the Spectator.

None of the British royal family has been offered the opportunity to see any of the book before it is published, according to the Mail, which adds that only the late queen was given advance warning of the prince’s publishing deal, in July 2021. It quotes a palace insider as saying: “The first announcement was something of a shock. We have now spent a long time waiting to see what is in it and, frankly, we just want to get it out of the way so everyone can move on.”

Neither Penguin Random House nor the duke of Sussex’s representatives responded to a request for comment at the weekend.