Prince Harry, who will soon break records with his own words, is no stranger to being covered.
On January 10, his highly anticipated memoir, “Standby,” comes out. Its provocative title itself suggests the Duke of Sussex isn’t holding back.
So what do we know about what he wrote? Well, publisher Penguin Random House promises that the “landmark publication” will contain “raw, unflinching honesty…insight, revelation, self-reflection and hard-earned lessons about the eternal power of love over grief.” wisdom”.
Few people were granted early access to a copy to see how exactly this translated into a story, but one person knew better than most – Prince Harry’s ghostwriter, ex-journalist-turned-novelist JR Moeringer. He is an American author and author of Andre Agassi’s award-winning autobiography, Open.
Andrew Crofts has ghostwritten over 80 books for others, including celebrity bestsellers. He thought it wise to choose an “outsider” to come to Britain.
“It’s good to have Americans ghost-write the book because they’re reading it with less background knowledge,” he said.
“So they actually ask questions that, as a Brit, I probably wouldn’t bother to ask because it’s considered red. So if you’re going to appeal to a global market, like Harry, you better have a slightly People outside.”
Would Moeringer be a kindred spirit? His own memoir is the subject of Ben Affleck’s film “The Tender Bar,” due out in early 2022.
When Sky News caught up with Affleck, he described the story – featuring a young boy seeking a surrogate to replace his absent father – as “a celebration of single motherhood”.
“It’s also a testament to the importance of a father in a child’s life and how meaningful that is … It’s about the importance of loving and seeing someone and recognizing them,” Affleck said.
But Crofts doesn’t believe Mollinger’s background will mean focusing on the prince’s father, King Charles.
“Maybe, if that was his interest, he’d ask more questions about paternity and make certain assumptions based on his own experiences, but he really shouldn’t. I mean, he’s a professional.”
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In that capacity, Crofts said, it’s unlikely Prince will be challenged for any of the views he expresses in the book, since a good ghost needs to be “not confrontational at all, not critical at all.”
“Ghostwriters should never argue with them, even if they disagree at all with what they have said. That’s not a job. No matter what the subject is, the ghostwriter will agree, just like a lawyer.
“With Specter, the difficulty is often balancing the needs of publishers and authors, because you’re kind of caught in the middle. Publishers, I think, want as much controversy as possible, they want to piss off the royal family and the press to get a lot of headlines, And the authors probably don’t want to do that.
“You probably know, as ghosts, that if they do that, they’re going to have a bad time with their family. So sometimes you have to balance it in a way…it’s still a really good read , it gives the reader everything they want out of the story, but doesn’t actually involve the writer, so to speak.”
While the royal family may be keen to draw a line in the farce, given that Prince Harry has reportedly paid around £30m for the four-book deal, it’s impossible for Buckingham Palace to know what he’ll say next.
In Harry and Meghan’s recent Netflix documentary series, he spoke candidly about the breakdown in his relationship with his brother William and blamed the media for Meghan’s miscarriage. Weeks later, broadcaster and royal expert Jenny Bond said it was hard to imagine he had much more to share.
“I have a lot of sympathy for them,” Bond insisted, “They don’t like their lives.
“But I can’t imagine they really have anything else to say, unless they have more barbs pointed at their own families.”
The memoir is expected to dominate the bestseller lists for the next few weeks. It’s already number one on Amazon’s new bestseller list just from pre-orders alone.
And the Duke of Sussex does not intend to keep all the profits for himself. He donated £1.2m ($1.5m) of proceeds to his Sentebale charity – which supports vulnerable children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS in Lesotho and Botswana – and £300,000 to WellChild, his Was Royal Patron of WellChild for 15 years.
Spare was released on January 10th.