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Prince Harry's much talked about memoir 'Spare' is on bookstore shelves

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have been generating a lot of attention lately through a streaming documentary series and high-profile TV interviews. And today, the prince's memoir "Spare" is out. Martin Pengelly is a reporter with The Guardian. He obtained a copy of the book before publication, and he's with us now. Good morning.

MARTIN PENGELLY: Good morning.

FADEL: So with all we've heard from Prince Harry, any big revelations left in this book?

PENGELLY: I don't think there are now. It's been thoroughly gutted before publication. We published two very small excerpts. But copies went on sale in Spain, and the British press all have Spanish speakers and Spanish reporters, so they took it to pieces. Then there were the two interviews, and then there's been now - what? - about 11 hours it's been on sale in England. So judging from my research this morning, it's pretty much all out there.

FADEL: Yeah. Why is Prince Harry choosing this moment to share these intimate details of his life, of his private life, his family's life?

PENGELLY: He left the royal family basically with Meghan Markle, his wife, the actor. And it's a - it's hard to say what it is. It's a sort of howl in a way. It's a bit like primal scream therapy. He talks in the book extensively about therapy, and it, in some senses, feels like that. This is a fairly blistering howl of rage at...

FADEL: But there's also a lot of money attached to this project.

PENGELLY: Yes. I think the dollar total of the book deal is 20 million. It's for more than one book, I think. But, yes, there's a lot of money attached to it. There's a lot of - a lot riding on it. It's gone to the top of all the bestseller charts. How long it stays, though, is probably the next test.

FADEL: Now, right now, as of now, we haven't heard anything from the royal family. They've been silent. Why?

PENGELLY: They very rarely comment. I saw Anderson Cooper mentioning that, for the CBS "60 Minutes" interview, the palace said they would only comment if they were shown the entire interview first, before broadcast, which of course CBS didn't do. It's one of the themes of the book that Harry is at odds with his brother, William, and his father, now-King Charles, about how to deal with the press. Charles says, don't talk to them; don't read it, which Harry seems to be incapable of doing and which he says his father doesn't do either. One of the themes of the book is about how various members of the royal family tried to shape press coverage and sometimes direct press coverage against others, according to Harry.

FADEL: Now, this book and what it reveals, could there be a long-standing impact on Britain's royal family and the institution of the monarchy?

PENGELLY: Some people think so. I've been reading a lot of coverage from back - I have to say, back home. I'm still British - who - a lot of people think it will be dangerous. I think one of Charles' biographers was in The Guardian yesterday saying very much that this could help remove some of the mystery. The queen's death certainly was, if not damaging, it wouldn't - you wouldn't say damaging - but could have done that. But I think this book will add to the lack of mystery that is peeling away, as it were, from the royals. Whether it will change the royal family's standing is another question 'cause England is a conservative place.

FADEL: Martin Pengelly is a reporter with The Guardian. He obtained a copy of Prince Harry's book before publication. Thank you so much for your time.

PENGELLY: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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