Prince Harry should be ‘banned’ from royal events says Malone
In the wake of Prince Harry’s tell-all book being published, many have looked back on the juicy royal autobiographies that came before his. Both the Duke of Kent and Sarah Ferguson have written memoirs, while King Charles III, Diana, Princess of Wales, and Antony Armstrong-Jones participated in the production of memoir-esque biographies. However, perhaps Spare’s most common comparison is to the memoir of King Edward VIII, which told his side of the abdication crisis that changed the course of the British monarchy forever.
Published in 1951, A King’s Story chronicled his early youth at Sandringham, his years at Naval School on the Isle of Wight and his time at Magdalen College in Oxford. It goes on to detail his military service during World War 1 before his accession to the throne in 1936.
Most notably, it documents his history-making decision to marry Wallis Simpson against the wishes of then-Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and the monarchy.
Edward succeeded his father, King George V, in January 1936. He reigned for 11 months before abdicating the throne and relinquishing his royal duties. The abandonment of his royal destiny came as a result of his love for Wallis — an American divorcee — who he was not permitted to marry as monarch.
The pair first met at a party and were instantly enamoured with each other, the Prince taken by the socialite’s elegance and Wallis intrigued by the mystique of royalty. Their love affair eventually resulted in the abdication crisis, which saw Edward give up the throne and his younger brother, Bertie, succeed him and become King George VI.
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Wallis and Edward fled Britain after the former king abdicated the throne
A King’s Story was published in the early Fifties
Spare by Prince Harry will be released by publishers Penguin Random House on January 10, 2023.
The tell-all memoir, which was ghostwritten by Pulitzer Prize winner J R Moehringer, promises to be packed full of explosive revelations and insight into the Royal Family – and there’s even an audiobook read by the Duke of Sussex himself.
You can buy your copy of Spare on Amazon.
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Edward and Wallis subsequently fled Britain and forged new lives in France. They married in June 1937, a month after Wallis had divorced her second husband, becoming the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
The former king’s book was published 15 years later and proved to be a great success, so much so that in 1954, Wallis started working on a memoir of her own.
The Heart Has Its Reasons chronicled the Duchess of Windsor’s first two marriages, to US Navy pilot Earl Winfield Spencer Jr. and later to American-born British shipbroker Ernest Simpson. She also discusses her time with Edward, touching on their controversial connections to Nazi Germany and — albeit briefly — her perspective on the abdication crisis.
However, while the tell-all memoirs were profitable, as historian Andrew Lownie has pointed out, their publication dashed the Duke and Duchess’ chances of family reconciliation.
“Lucrative and not entirely truthful autobiographies from both Windsors did little to improve family relations,” he told Express.co.uk, “nor did the continuing exploitation of the royal brand to endorse products, provocative tv and radio interviews, curation of their story through tame biographers and threats of legal action.”
Edward and Wallis got married in June 1937, becoming the Duke and Duchess of Windsor
His comments come the week of Spare’s publication and a month after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s six-part documentary series aired on Netflix. The pair have lifted the lid on life within the House of Windsor and revealed a slew of royal secrets, making allegations that the Palace briefed against them, offering insight into their fractured relationship with the Firm and suggesting that the family are not interested in a reconciliation.
They closed the series with the Duchess of Sussex reciting the speech she gave at her and Harry’s 2018 wedding — a poem about their “modern fairytale”.
To conclude, she said: “I appreciate, respect and honour you, my treasure, for the family we will create, and our love story that will last forever. So I ask you to raise a glass to the astounding assurance that now life begins and the everlasting knowing that above all, love wins.”
A declaration the couple have used on several occasions, “love wins”, hints at their difficult decision to put themselves, their relationship, and their family ahead of their royal duty.
“From us, I’ll say no matter what life throws at you guys, trust us when we say, love wins,” Meghan said during their first podcast released on Spotify in 2020. “Love always wins,” Harry added.
Spare was published on Tuesday, January 10
Meghan and Harry’s Netflix documentary series aired in December 2022
In the acknowledgements for his book, Harry thanks Meghan — “love of my life” — for her “too many millions of gifts and sacrifices, great and small,” saying that the book would have been “impossible” without her and concluding: “Most things would be impossible without you.”
The sentiment strikes as similar to the Duke of Windsor’s final words in his memoir, which centre around his decision to give up on his destiny for love, saying he did not believe his position should set him apart from others. He wrote of how “love had triumphed over politics” and while his “fate” directed him to “sacrifice my cherished British heritage”, he found comfort in the fact that the decision had “long since sanctioned a true and faithful union”.
He also addressed what he felt was a misconception that he didn’t want to be monarch, arguing: “I wanted to be a successful king, but a king in a modern way.”
In her memoir, Wallis stated she offered to end the relationship with Edward so he could stay on the throne, but “he insisted that he needed me, and as a woman in love I was prepared to go through rivers of woe, seas of despair and oceans of agony for him”.
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Edward and Wallis spent the majority of their marriage in France
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According to Mr Lownie, “the Royal Family maintained a dignified silence” following the publication of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s memoirs.
But in private, King George VI was said to be “very distressed”, particularly when he heard the Duke had taken an advance worth as much as £500,000 in world sales and subsidiary rights.
Historian Andrew Larman, who authored The Crown in Crisis, referenced a letter written by Alan ‘Tommy’ Lascelles, the King’s private secretary, responding to a member of the public and sharing his horror that someone should be making money out of spilling royal secrets.
As quoted by the author in The Telegraph on Saturday, Mr Lascelles wrote: “[Letters] express disgust at a former King of England selling for money his recollections of his family life, in a form that is indecent and for a motive that is squalid. But none of them has yet suggested any machinery whereby such a sale can be prevented.
“The only remedy that has ever occurred to me is that somebody should awake in the author the instincts of a gentleman; but as I devoted the eight best years of my life to this end with signal ill success, I fear I am not the man to make any constructive suggestion.”
Relations between “Bertie” and “David” were troubled following the latter’s abdication, and further soured by his continuing relationship with Wallis. It is understood that Edward took great offence that his wife was never granted the title of ‘Her Royal Highness’, while George reportedly referred to the anniversary of the abdication simply as “that dreadful day”.
Their troubled dynamic precedes that of “Harold” and “Willy”, as the younger brother revealed they style themselves, reportedly exacerbated by Harry’s relationship with Meghan, and worsened by the couple’s eventual exit.
Edward (L) with his brother George in 1920
Harry and William’s relationship has been strained since the younger prince’s shock exit in 2020
Although, as it is understood, Edward and George never got into a physical fight as adults, unlike Prince William and Harry allegedly did at Nottingham Cottage in 2019, an altercation that supposedly ensued after the older prince referred to his sister-in-law as “difficult”, “rude”, and “abrasive”.
Harry’s claim that William shoved him amid a heated argument is just one of many in his book and recent promotional interviews. While he has asserted that he would like his father and brother “back”, his revelations have left many wondering whether it’s possible.
On Monday, the Duke of Sussex told Good Morning America that he hopes the truths shared in Spare will lead to his family discussing the issues that tore them apart. “If we can get to the point of reconciliation, that will have a ripple effect across the world,” he said. “I genuinely believe that, and that’s kind of what is pushing me. And if that doesn’t happen, then that’s very sad.”
Omid Scobie, royal commentator and co-author of Finding Freedom, has claimed the Prince of Wales is “devastated” by his brother’s claims, quoting a source as saying: “He’s not ignoring the things his brother has shared. The dust needs to settle, but … this has been food for thought.”
Writing for Harper’s Bazaar this week, Mr Scobie said: “The uncovering has left family members and individuals within Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace feeling ‘rattled,’” citing the inside source.
The alleged argument came about after William’s comments about Meghan
Following the same strategy they did in the Fifties, the Royal Family has maintained a “dignified silence”, refusing to comment on Harry’s book bombshells or explosive claims. Instead, they have continued with business as usual: Princess Anne has stepped out for numerous engagements, King Charles III has been spotted in Scotland, and the Prince and Princess of Wales put on brave faces during their first outing this year.
While Mr Scobie has hinted that the royals may be quietly reflecting, others have claimed there is “no way back” for the Prince. “Harry hasn’t just blown the doors off,” said Michael Cole — a former royal correspondent and spokesperson for Mohamed Al Fayed. “He has detonated a huge landmine under Buckingham Palace, shaking the royal edifice and the British establishment.”
Writing for the East Anglian Daily Times this week, Mr Cole said: “There is no way back now into the family fold. It is absurd for Harry to blame the rift on Prince William when it was he and his wife who ran away to create the most serious schism in the Royal Family since King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 and left for France in a Royal Navy destroyer.”
If Edward and Wallis’ life after the abdication is anything to go by, Harry and Meghan’s apparent hopes for harmony may result in devastation.
“There was to be no official role for David after the Abdication, in spite of his desire to have one,” Mr Lownie explained. “The Windsors led a pretty empty existence with rich and shallow people in France and especially America.”
Kate and William visited Royal Liverpool University Hospital on Thursday
Some have claimed that there is no way back for Harry and Meghan
While the former king occasionally saw his family, returning to the UK sparingly in the years following his exit, his wife “was not welcome”.
It wasn’t until the eve of Edward’s death that the Queen visited “the couple to pay her respects,” and “ensure family heirlooms and papers were returned to the family after his death”.
Edward died at their home — Villa Windsor — in 1972 and Wallis died 12 years later in 1986.
As Harry notes in his memoir, the couple were laid to rest in The Royal Burial Ground in Windsor. Recalling being stood alongside his former home — Frogmore Cottage — after his grandfather’s funeral in April 2021, Harry describes the “mini skyline of crypts and monuments” — the “final resting place for so many of us”.
“The notorious Wallis Simpson,” he writes. “Also, her doubly notorious husband Edward, the former King and my great-great uncle. After Edward gave up his throne for Wallis, after they fled Britain, both of them fretted about their ultimate return — both obsessed about being buried right here.”
Eventually, the Queen granted their plea. But as Harry observes, she “placed them at a distance from everyone else, beneath a stooped plane tree”. He described it as “one last finger wag […] one final exile”.