As responses go to learning of a devastating attack on the principles of discretion and buttoned-up restraint that the institution you represent stands for, it was somewhat understated.
“Oh gosh!” is said to have been the response of one of Prince Charles’ aides when told by a tabloid reporter of the news of Prince Harry’s forthcoming memoir as he was attending an official event at which Charles was the guest of honor.
The Sun says it “broke the news” of the book’s publication “to Clarence House aides while Charles was at a reception.”
The Sun says: “It was clear aides had no idea the book was being written or even being announced. One said simply: ‘Oh gosh.’”
The Times also reports on the same rather British reaction by Charles’ staff.
The Sun adds that Harry “scrambled to contact his family only when he knew the story was coming out—just moments before it became public.”
Harry’s official spokesperson appeared to confirm that the royal family had been offered only the briefest of heads-ups about the announcement, telling the Telegraph that Harry was not required to seek the permission of his relatives to write his book and that he had “very recently” spoken to his family about it privately.
A source in Charles’ camp also told the Telegraph they were “surprised” at the news.
The decision of Harry to write a memoir that would spill the beans on his most intimate secrets will put an end to any hopes of reconciliation between Harry and his royal relatives.
There have been concerted attempts in recent months to choreograph a semblance of cordiality between Harry and William in particular, with the brothers photographed chatting together at their grandfather’s funeral and at the unveiling of a statue memorializing their mother. However the revelation that Harry was all the while secretly working on a memoir—the book is said to be nearly finished—is likely to put a end to the always barely credible narrative that Harry and Meghan are truly seeking to build bridges with their family.
A source told the Daily Mail: “I think everyone is just tired of being angry when it comes to those two. They have spent the last 18 months doing everything they promised Her Majesty they wouldn’t do—making a living off their previous lives and status as members of the royal family. It’s depressingly predictable, unfortunately.”
Harry has said he will be donating the proceeds of the book to charity.
The Mail also appeared to have been the subject of a barbed briefing from the palace, quoting royal sources as saying Harry had “never been one to willingly admit” his own fault and instead blamed “everyone except himself and his wife” for the collapse of his family relationships.