Prince Harry has made an eleventh-hour attempt to tone down parts of his forthcoming memoir because he fears being vilified in the wake of Queen Elizabeth’s death, according to reports.
Harry is worried some of the revelations in his book “might not look so good” following the public outpouring of support for the British monarchy, both at home and abroad, it is claimed.
The book, part of a three-title deal worth £36.8m (€40m), is due to be published this autumn, but Harry is said to be worried it is ill-timed, as his father begins his reign.
He reportedly wants to make “refinements” to the manuscript, which has been signed off by publishers Penguin Random House. But industry sources believe it might be too late.
A source told The Sun on Sunday and The Mail on Sunday: “Harry has thrown a spanner in the works as he is desperate to get it refined in the light of the queen’s death... It’s not a total rewrite by any means. He desperately wants to make changes. But it might be too late.”
Before Harry and his wife Meghan stood down from royal duties, royal household staff tried to find a compromise in which they could carry on part-time, only for the late queen to veto the idea, according to Valentine Low, author of Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown.
Harry’s grandmother insisted that if the couple were not prepared to abide by the rules that restrict all working members of the royal family they could not carry out any duties at all.
Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace has moved to protect King Charles’s reputation as Netflix prepares to dramatise the “all-out war” of his marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, in a new series of The Crown.
The divorce of the then Prince and Princess of Wales will be the main plot of the 10-episode series, which airs on November 9. A trailer released at the weekend shows Charles, played by Dominic West, and Diana, played by Elizabeth Debicki, preparing for TV interviews about their relationship.
The timing of its release could not have been worse for the king, whose popularity has surged since he became monarch.
Last night, a senior royal source stressed that The Crown is “a drama, not a documentary” in the first sign of a push back against what will be uncomfortable viewing for the palace.
Netflix decided not to delay the release of the fifth series, despite the death of Elizabeth, whose “annus horribilis” in 1992 will be covered by the episodes. It was the year in which Windsor Castle partly burnt down, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew separated from their wives and the princess royal divorced Mark Phillips.
A Netflix spokesman said the series had been completed before the late queen’s death and no changes to it had been made.
The series will cover the events of the 1990s, beginning with the start of John Major’s premiership and ending with Tony Blair’s election as his successor.
Charles’s interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, in which he admitted committing adultery, and Diana’s infamous Panorama interview will both be dramatised. The death of Diana will be covered in the sixth series.
A friend of the King described the drama as “exploitative” and said Netflix would have “no qualms about mangling people’s reputations”.
Charles has not watched The Crown or passed comment on it, but his wife Camilla watches it and made light of her portrayal by inviting Emerald Fennell, who plays her on screen, to an International Women’s Day reception at Clarence House earlier this year.
Royal aides believe Charles and Camilla will be better able to counter their portrayal in The Crown now that they have higher-profile roles.
One well-placed source said: “You will see the king and the queen consort on state business in the UK and abroad and people will have more of an opportunity to compare the real people with the fiction they see in The Crown.
“In the past, they didn’t get so much coverage, so in that sense, it was harder for people to be able to compare and contrast the drama with the reality.”
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