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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Maanya Sachdeva

Readers flag four discrepancies in Prince Harry’s memoir Spare


Prince Harry’s memoir Spare has become the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever and has sparked debate around the world.

The English-language edition of the unflinching autobiography, which was ghostwritten by JR Moehringer, sold more than 1.4 million copies on its release day, the book’s publisher Penguin Random House announced on Thursday (12 January).

While the book contains several surprising revelations and startling claims about the royal family, some experts and fans have also uncovered a handful of small inaccuracies in Spare.

Moehringer on Thursday appeared to defend Harry amid online fact-checking of Spare, posting a quotes about memory and fact – including two from the duke.

“Whatever the cause, my memory is my memory, it does what it does, gathers and curates as it sees fit, and there’s just as much truth in what I remember and how I remember it as there is in so-called objective facts,” Harry said.

From the duke’s revelation he shopped at department TK Maxx’s “once-a-year sales” to being gifted an Xbox for his 13th birthday, here are four discrepancies in Harry’s new book, flagged by readers.

The death of the Queen Mother in 2002

Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, the Queen Mother died on 30 March 2002. In his bookSpare, the duke claimed he was at Eton College – the prestigious boys school both he and William attended – when he learned of the death of his great-grandmother. ‘

About the phone conversation during which he was informed that the Queen Mother had passed away, Harry wrote: “I wish I could remember whose voice was at the other end; a courtier’s I believe.

“I recall that it was just before Easter, the weather bright and warm, light slanting through my window, filled with vivid colours. Your Royal Highness, the Queen Mother has died.”

Fans have pointed out that Prince Harry was on a skiing holiday in Klosters, Switzerland with his father and brother when the Queen Mother died. Then-Prince of Wales Charles and the young princes took part in a media call on 29 March 2002, photographs from the time suggest.

After news of the Queen Mother’s death broke, Charles and both his sons reportedly returned to the UK from Klosters together.

TK Maxx’s once-a-year sales

At one point in the ghostwritten autobiography, Harry recounted shopping at TK Maxx during the high-street retailer’s “once-a-year sale”.

“For my everyday casual clothes I’d go to TK Maxx, the discount store,” Harry said. “I was particularly fond of their once-a-year sale, when they’d be flush with items from Gap or J Crew, items that had just gone out of season or were slightly damaged.”

TK Maxx recently responded to Harry’s claims, noting they “don’t actually do sales”.

A spokesperson for the brand told Express: “Whilst we’re delighted Prince Harry is a big fan, we thought we should explain we don’t actually do sales. Instead, we offer great value, style, and savings all year round.”

She added that this had always been the case.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Random House and Harry for comment.

Harry’s 13th birthday present from Diana

The Duke of Sussex wrote that his mother Diana bought him an Xbox for his 13th birthday in 1997 – shortly before the former Princess of Wales died in car crash in Paris.

Some social media users pointed out that the Xbox was only released in 2001, and wasn’t sold in Europe until the following year.

Others have defended the duke, saying it was likely Harry confused the Xbox for any one of the other gaming consoles (such as the PlayStation, which was released in 1995) available in the market at the time.

Prince Harry during an appearance on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)

“So it sounds like this is something Harry was told he got as a child,” one person tweeted, responding to Moehringer, who shared an excerpt from the book in which the duke stated he wasn’t sure this memory was true.

“That’s the story anyway,” the extract read. “It’s appeared in many accounts of my life, as gospel, and I have no idea if it’s true. Pa said Mummy hurt her head but maybe I was the one with brain damage? As a defence mechanism, most likely, my memory was no longer recording things quite as it once did.”

Other discrepancies

Another detail from the book that has been flagged as inaccurate is Harry referring to Henry VI as “my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather”.

The monarch only had one son, Edward of Westminster, who died without during the Battle of Tewkesbury without any children of his own.

Some readers have also pointed out that the duke and his wife, Meghan Markle have provided different accounts of what she was wearing on their first date.

In his book, Harry wrote Meghan “was wearing a black sweater, jeans, heels” and described her as “heart-attack beautiful”

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar after their royal wedding in May 2018, Meghan said she picked a blue dress for the occasion, and even stitched a piece of fabric from it in to her Givenchy wedding gown as her “something blue”.

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