Midnight queues as Prince Harry’s Spare autobiography hits UK shelves with claims about royals

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The first customers in line said they want to know why he ‘left the country he loved’ and read the story from the ‘horse’s mouth’

Fans eager to read Prince Harry’s autobiography queued at midnight to get their hands on a hardback copy as the book finally landed on UK shelves.

Shops across the country reopened at 12am on Tuesday (10 January) for the official release of the controversial memoir Spare, which was leaked and also sold early by some book shops in Spain last week.

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A handful of people waited outside WHSmith in Victoria station, central London, to be one of the first to buy a copy of the book, which contains a flood of bombshell revelations and intimately private details about Harry’s life and family.

Shop staff opened the doors to a swarm of reporters and customers who gathered around stacks of the book, which were sitting on a table wrapped in sealed black packaging.

The first customers were handed copies as photographers captured the moment before staff then put half price stickers onto copies and unloaded them onto specially-designed shelving units near the front of the shop.

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Fans want the story ‘from the horse’s mouth’

Professor Chris Imafidon, chairman of the Excellence in Education charity, from Epping, Essex, was first in line, queuing outside WHSmith just before midnight and picked up three copies of the book, saying he wanted to hear the story “from (the) horse’s mouth”.

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Mr Imafidon told the PA news agency that he had been waiting in Victoria station since about 9.30pm to get his hands on a copy.

He said he is “extremely curious” as to why Harry left the institution and that he is “dazed” by reports of how much detail the duke has gone into about private family moments.

He said: “Why? Why? You don’t need that to sell. You would sell a book if you’re Diana’s hat or Diana’s dog or Diana’s… if you’re linked to Diana you will still sell. Why would you go to that distance?

“I really want to know why the young man would leave the country he loved, he lived in and was ready to die for, because he went to war.”

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Also in the queue was bartender Sasha Pursell, 27, who has moved to London from Melbourne, Australia. Ms Pursell told the PA news agency: “I’m just intrigued. I’ve heard so much press about the book and it’s also just a bit exciting – I’ve never been to a midnight release.”

Asked about the criticism surrounding the book, she said: “Yes it can be seen as a betrayal to the royal family but at the same time, I feel like a lot of lies have been spewed about him. It can go both ways. I don’t think either party is in the right or the wrong.”

‘I love the honesty’

Sarah Nakana, 46, a surveyor from Dulwich, south London, said she had already downloaded the audiobook as she picked up a copy, saying she wanted to try to “get ahead of the British press and their narratives”.

She said: “It will just be the public getting whipped into a frenzy of anti-Harry and Meghan-ness because that’s what sells, hate sells, they’re monetising hate. I was just like: ‘No I just need to cut the noise here, read it and be like: ‘Fine, I can move on now.’”

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Ms Nakana said she was happy to see both William and Harry marry and “move on” with their lives after their mother’s death but then the “consistent daily negative” press against the Duchess of Sussex got her thinking: “Sorry, what’s this woman done?”

She added: “I hardly hear from the guy but I hear from the British press, the royal rota, the royal experts but never from him directly. It was just very important for me as a historical record to hear about his life because he’s lived it and that’s why I’m here tonight. This is him, his words, ‘this is what I went through’.

“With the snippets that have been out, I love the honesty. ‘This is the good, the bad and the ugly, this is me. There is nothing hidden, there is nothing told over me.’”

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