Prince Harry had ‘heated row’ with ghostwriter over Diana anecdote in tell-all Spare memoir

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Spare became the fastest-selling non fiction book in the UK of all time and detailed several embarrassing claims about the Royal Family

The ghostwriter behind Prince Harry’s controversial memoir has revealed the pair had a heated row over an anecdote that referenced his mother Princess Diana.

John Moehringer said he and the Duke of Sussex argued multiple times over details of the book and recalled having an argument at 2am over one section relating to Harry’s military training.

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Mr Moehringer said the duke had been involved in a “gruelling” terrorist capture simulation in which he had been beaten. The scenario culminated with one of Harry’s captors firing a “vile dig” about his mother, the Princess of Wales.

The author, who was approached to ghostwrite the memoir summer 2020, said Harry wanted his response to the remark to be included but he had refused, telling the duke it was “unnecessary and somewhat inane”, and would “dilute” the scene’s meaning.

Ghostwriter John Moehringer said he and Prince Harry argued multiple times over details of the book (Photo: Getty Images)Ghostwriter John Moehringer said he and Prince Harry argued multiple times over details of the book (Photo: Getty Images)
Ghostwriter John Moehringer said he and Prince Harry argued multiple times over details of the book (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

In an article for The New Yorker, the writer said Harry’s insistence to include the remark left him “exasperated”. He recalled: “For months, I’d been crossing out the comeback, and for months Harry had been pleading for it to go back in. Now he wasn’t pleading, he was insisting, and it was 2 a.m., and I was starting to lose it. I said, “Dude, we’ve been over this.”

“Why was this one line so important? Why couldn’t he accept my advice? We were leaving out a thousand other things—that’s half the art of memoir, leaving stuff out—so what made this different? Please, I said, trust me. Trust the book.

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“Although this wasn’t the first time that Harry and I had argued, it felt different; it felt as if we were hurtling toward some kind of decisive rupture, in part because Harry was no longer saying anything. He was just glaring into the camera.

“Finally, he exhaled and calmly explained that, all his life, people had belittled his intellectual capabilities, and this flash of cleverness proved that, even after being kicked and punched and deprived of sleep and food, he had his wits about him.”

The heated exchange eventually wound up with Harry backing down before quipping: “I really enjoy getting you worked up like that”.

Spare was released in January this year and became the fastest selling non-fiction book in the UK of all time, dominating headlines for days. Some of the revelations in the book include Harry detailing how he lost his virginity, allegations about being physically attacked by Prince William, and claims that he and his brother asked King Charles not to marry Camilla.

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Mr Moehringer said the response to the controversial memoir was “frenzied”, and in the days and weeks after its release he had been harassed and “stalked” by the media, while passages from the book had been “hyped into outrages”.

Spare became the fastest selling non-fiction book in the UK of all time (Photo: Getty Images)Spare became the fastest selling non-fiction book in the UK of all time (Photo: Getty Images)
Spare became the fastest selling non-fiction book in the UK of all time (Photo: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Recounting his experience with the duke, he said: “The British press now converted the book into their native tongue, that jabberwocky of bonkers hot takes and classist snark.

“Facts were wrenched out of context, complex emotions were reduced to cartoonish idiocy, innocent passages were hyped into outrages—and there were so many falsehoods.”

He says he was “stalked” by a paparazzo who jumped into the road as he was taking his son to preschool, and claims a newspaper journalist appeared at his window while he was working later the same day.

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But he said the experience of writing the memoir had helped him to understand Harry better and recalled the duke mentioning his advice to “trust the book”, adding that he was glad he did as it “felt incredible to have the truth out there”.

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