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Prince Harry’s ghostwriter feared being fired after blazing late-night row over Diana story

JR Moehringer recalls butting heads over ‘somewhat inane’ line that the Duke of Sussex believed demonstrated a ‘flash of cleverness’

Tom Murray
Wednesday 10 May 2023 10:56 BST
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Prince Harry’s ghostwriter ended up ‘exasperated’ with royal while working on Spare’ memoir

Prince Harry’s ghostwriter JR Moehringer has described a late-night row over a quote that the Duke of Sussex wanted to include in his memoir.

Harry’s tell-all book, Spare, sparked a media storm upon its release in January this year over its numerous claims and revelations about the royal family.

In a piece written for The New Yorker, Moehringer, who also ghostwrote the memoir of Nike founder Phil Knight, said he feared being fired by Harry after the pair butted heads over a passage discussing the duke’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

During the summer of 2022, he said, he and Harry and been reviewing edits over a Zoom call at 2am when they reached a passage discussing Diana.

In the excerpt in question, Harry is subjected to terrorism training by military personnel posing as insurgents.

“At last, Harry’s captors throw him against a wall, choke him, and scream insults into his face, culminating in a vile dig at Princess Diana,” Moehringer wrote.

The insult was apparently so egregious that once the training is over, one of the officers apologised to Harry for it. Moehringer said that Harry wanted to end the chapter with the comeback he told his captors, which the author found an “unnecessary, and somewhat inane” addition.

Eventually, the pair began shouting at one another as Harry apparently refused to back down.

“I was exasperated with Prince Harry,” Moehringer wrote. “My head was pounding, my jaw was clenched, and I was starting to raise my voice.

“And yet some part of me was still able to step outside the situation and think, ‘This is so weird. I’m shouting at Prince Harry.’ Then, as Harry started going back at me, as his cheeks flushed and his eyes narrowed, a more pressing thought occurred: ‘Whoa, it could all end right here.’”

Prince Harry’s ghostwriter (left) describes working with the Duke of Sussex

Finally, Moehringer said, Harry “exhaled” and “calmly explained” that he wanted to include the line because, after years of having his intellect belittled, this would show how he had still “had his wits about him”, even after being “kicked and punched and deprived of sleep and food”.

Regardless, Moehringer insisted that it was uneccessary to include the line, writing in the New Yorker: “Strange as it may seem, memoir is not about you. It’s not even the story of your life.

“It’s a story carved from your life, a particular series of events chosen bceause they have the greatest resonance for the widest range of people, and at this point in the story those people don’t need to know anything more than that your captors said a cruel thing about your [mum].”

He said that Harry took this decision in good humour but added, with a “mischievous grin”, that he “really [enjoyed] getting you worked up like that”.

In the same article, Moehringer wrote how Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made him feel at home in California while he missed his own family by bringing him “trays of food and sweets”.

He also siad he and his wife and been “stalked” and followed by paparazzi in the days after the book was published, comparing his conversations with Harry to “telling Taylor Swift about a bad breakup”.

“Harry was all heart,” he wrote. “He asked if my famiy was OK, asked for physical descriptions of the people harassing us, promised to make some calls, see if anything could be done. We both knew nothing could be done, but still.”

Prince Harry’s ghostwriter recalls ‘frenzied’ response to Spare’s publication (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror/PA Wire)

The duke returned to the UK for the first time since Spare’s release this week for the coronation of his father, King Charles III.

Harry’s visit was notably brief; he arrived a day before the coronation ceremony and then returned to California shortly after the crowning concluded.

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