Yes, we have heard plenty from Prince Harry recently – but he has a right to tell his story how he wants

For those concerned about reaching a saturation point, they have a similar freedom of choice. They can choose not to read the planned memoir

Chris Stevenson
Tuesday 20 July 2021 11:11
<p>Prince Harry has announced plans for publication of a memoir</p>

Prince Harry has announced plans for publication of a memoir

It's clear the Duke of Sussex will always have the power to grab the attention of much of the nation. And the latest news, that Harry will have a memoir published (currently scheduled for 2022), has sparked the usual mix of applause and outrage.

On one side, those who cannot wait to read the prince's words and back him wholeheartedly in his latest endeavour. On the other, those who believe this will inflict nothing but pain on the royal family at-large – and those who want him to be stripped of his royal titles.

It is a pattern that has become familiar in recent times – with the fallout from the decision by Harry and his wife Meghan Markle to move their family to the US, and an interview with Oprah Winfrey that drew an audience of 17m in America and more than 12m in the UK. Another recent collaboration with Oprah – The Me You Can’t See involved Harry opening up about his mental health.

The planned memoir obviously isn't the first time that Harry has sought to open up about his life, but that is his right. He can tell his own story as often as he likes – that is the right of anyone.

For those concerned about reaching a saturation point, they have a similar freedom of choice. They can choose not to read, or watch. Yes, the platform Harry has is broader (many times so) than most but the biggest celebrities, and the coverage of the book will be extensive – but that is not his fault.

The wording of the statements around the announcement of the memoir is also telling, given Harry's feelings towards how he and Meghan have been treated in some quarters. Harry said the book would chart both "the highs and lows" and be "accurate and wholly truthful".

A press release from Penguin Random House, who are publishing the book, said it would be "intimate and heartfelt" – that isn't hard to imagine, given the detail Harry has gone into previously. On one podcast, Harry said that he wanted to "break the cycle" of the "pain and suffering" of his upbringing with his own children and that he did not want to pass on the negative aspects of his own experience – adding that he did not think "we should be pointing the finger" at anybody over that.

I find myself agreeing with Susanna Reid who said on Good Morning Britain: “I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Prince Harry to define the kind of privacy that he wants... I think it’s a little disingenuous when people say, ‘Oh well you wanted privacy and you went away and now you’re doing a book’, well, in their words he wants to tell his own truth. He wants to be in charge of his own story.”

Harry says that he is "writing this [memoir] not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become". He will be fully aware of the attention he will get – but I think it is clear he also feels there is a balance to redress about how his life has been represented. If he wants to take the opportunity to do that, then who has the right to stop him?

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