It may not come with all the perks, but quitting your jobs in the British royal family still pays, especially when you drive as hard a bargain as the Duke and Duchess of
Success Sussex apparently have.
The media streets were all abuzz last week with news that Prince Harry would be penning a late-2022 memoir for Penguin Random House—one that will be an “accurate and wholly truthful account of his royal life, according to an official release from the publisher:
“I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become,” Harry said in a statement. “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. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”
As readers may already note, Random House Children’s Books is the same house that published Meghan’s children’s bestseller, The Bench, in June. As Marie Claire reports, the Sussexes actually inked a four-book deal with the publisher—and like the rest of their recent deals, it is incredibly lucrative, at least according to Daily Mail royal correspondent Rebecca English.
“The final contract was actually for a four-book deal, with Harry writing one ‘when his granny dies.’ Meghan will write a wellness-type book and people are unsure what the fourth will be. But what is most shocking, frankly, is Harry’s suggestion that the second book won’t be published until the Queen is no longer here,” someone described as an “impeccably-placed source in the publishing industry” told English. “People [will] start asking, ‘What has he got, who is he going to target?’ The very idea of this unexploded bomb, hanging about waiting for the Queen to pass, is just extraordinary and may strike many as being in very bad taste.”
However, a spokesperson for the couple refuted that scenario to Page Six, saying that there is currently only one memoir planned by Harry. “Sources add it’s ‘appalling’ to tie anything to the Queen’s death, as the Mail reported one of Harry’s books would be,” added the outlet, while seemingly confirming a wellness book on the way from Meghan. As for that fourth offering, a subsequent report by Page Six surmises it may be a joint book on “leadership and philanthropy” from the couple, as well as holding out hope that Meghan may pen a memoir herself.
Of course, given that the Sussexes stepped down from their leadership roles in the royal family, some met news of a book on the subject with derision (as they do pretty much everything the Sussexes do). But considering the fact that the couple has leveraged their considerable fame into considerable wealth on their own terms, we can’t exactly accuse them of not taking charge of their own lives.
Similarly, a source told English that Harry “led” negotiations on the publishing deal from the family’s home in Montecito, Calif.
“He conducted negotiations—he had a very ‘take it or leave it’ attitude,” said the source. While initial reports estimated the deal’s value at $20 million, the source claims: “His starting price was $25 million and the final figure was way north of that, possibly as much as $35-40 million. Those involved were actually very shocked by his approach, which was to look at them coldly and state his demands.”
Well, it looks like our little prince is all grown up.
While news of Harry’s memoir reportedly roiled the royals (and understandably so), it has been equally reported that the the resulting book is intended to be “a ‘fuck you’ to the royal family.” Regardless of any ongoing turmoil, as of Monday he and Meghan’s newborn daughter Lilibet “Lili” Diana had officially been added to the royal line of succession. The addition makes Lili eighth in line to the throne at less than eight weeks old, according to the royals’ official website, right behind two-year-old big brother Archie and their dad.
“Despite this, Lilibet’s position on the list is not set in stone,” notes People magazine. “Harry and Meghan’s daughter—whose birth certificate was made public on July 6—will slip further down the line of succession should any of William and Kate’s children become parents in the future.”
Also of note is that Prince Charles, now 72, was only a year older than Archie when his mother, Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne in 1952. That distinction makes the Prince of Wales the record-holder for longest-serving heir apparent in British history, a full 69 years.