Since King Charles came into power, the snubs of Prince Harry have come fast and furious – and many people are loving it.
The King today announced he will be the next Captain General of the Royal Marines – an honorary military role that had been stripped from the Duke of Sussex following Megxit.
Harry was said to be saddened when his prestigious title was removed by the Queen in 2020 after he and Meghan announced they would step down as working royals and move to California.
There had been speculation about which member of the Royal Family would be given the role, with Princess Anne tipped for the position.
The Duke of Sussex was appointed Captain General by the Queen in December 2017, succeeding Prince Philip. Today’s announcement comes just a day after Harry unveiled his ‘provocative’ new memoir Spare – a ‘loaded’ reference to his position as the younger brother of the heir to the throne.
In a personal message to the Royal Marines as they mark their 358th birthday today, the King said: ‘It is the greatest possible pleasure to assume the role of your Captain General. I am exceptionally proud to follow in the footsteps of so many members of my family over the last three-and-a-half centuries, all of whom held the role with a deep sense of admiration.
‘The Royal Marines have a distinguished and unparalleled history, both on land and at sea. I draw immense inspiration from your courage, determination, self-discipline and a remarkable capacity to endure in the most extreme environments.
‘I feel greatly honoured to become part of the Corps Family and very much look forward to meeting many of you in the near future. In the meantime, this comes with my heartfelt and special wishes for a very happy 358th birthday. Per Mare, Per Terram.’
In 2017 Harry had succeeded the Duke of Edinburgh, who had held the post for 64 years before standing down following his retirement from public duties.
But in February last year, following a 12-month review of the Sussexes’ decision to quit as working royals, Harry and Meghan were stripped of their prestigious patronages as the couple confirmed Megxit was permanent.
The duke also lost his other formal roles with the military including Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving.
Harry, a former Army officer with a passion for the military family, had been eager to hold onto his formal links with the UK’s Armed Forces.
Prince William had initially been expected to succeed his brother as Captain General after a Buckingham Palace statement insisted they would be handed to ‘working members of the Royal Family’.
However, growing tensions between the pair following Megxit meant making such a move would be seen as unnecessarily provocative, reports suggested.
Instead, Princess Anne was mooted as the most likely candidate due to her being the ‘least controversial choice’.
The King is a Royal Navy veteran, and served alongside the Royal Marines on board HMS Hermes, as part of 845 Naval Air Squadron, completing military exercises in the Western Atlantic and the West Indies.
Alongside his new role, he will continue to hold the rank of Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy.
Today’s development comes just a day after new details were revealed about Prince Harry’s ‘nuclear’ memoir.
Billed as a work of ‘raw, unflinching honesty’, the controversial book will be called Spare – a ‘loaded’ reference to his position as the younger brother of the heir to the throne.
Family members were not informed of the title in advance of the announcement yesterday, while the Spanish language version is even more pointed, having been given the subtitle En La Sombra, or ‘in the shadow’.
An initial release date had been pencilled in for ‘late 2022’ to capitalise on the lucrative Christmas market, but the book will not be on the shelves until January 10 – said to be as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, and, it is rumoured, due to last-minute alterations requested by the duke.
A spokesman for the King declined to comment on the book last night. But it is understood that the Royal Household has already been warned that the 416-page, £28 book is ‘critical of everyone and everything’ and they are ‘dreading’ it.
Among the grievances Harry may air is the decision to ‘ban’ him from wearing military uniform during the Queen’s funeral.
Following a series of reports about the issue, the Duke of Sussex’s spokesman issued a pointed statement, which read: ‘[Prince Harry] will wear a morning suit throughout events honouring his grandmother.
‘His decade of military service is not determined by the uniform he wears and we respectfully ask that focus remain on the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.’
Only working royals – which Harry and his uncle Andrew are not – are being permitted to dress in uniform at five ceremonial occasions.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are at risk of losing out on more lucrative media deals by being seen as ‘boring’, a public relations expert said today – as he warned the success of Harry’s controversial memoir would be crucial to their financial future.
The Duke of Sussex‘s autobiography, which has the pointed title Spare, was unveiled yesterday. He was reportedly paid a £18.4million advance for the book as part of a three-title deal worth £36.8m.
The book will be published on January 10, just weeks after Harry and Meghan’s equally controversial Netflix documentary – believed to be part of a £100m deal – is due to be aired.
Together with a £100m deal with Spotify, which includes Meghan’s Archetypes podcast, the agreements provide the couple with significant financial firepower.
But this could be at risk in the future if the public begins to tire of their regular pronouncements, according to PR and marketing expert Mark Borkowski.
‘The most important thing in the modern world is that they generate column inches and eyeballs – everything will come down to the success of the book and the deals with Netflix and Spotify,’ he told MailOnline.
‘If they do well then they could still be attractive to media outlets looking for subscribers. Given they’re no longer connected to the Royal Family with the exposure that brings they need to create their own energy. The danger is they become boring.’
Mr Borkowski said the couple’s expensive lifestyle – which revolves around their £11million Montecito mansion – could see them partner with a Silicon Valley tech firm such as Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta.
The firm’s share price recently plummeted amid concerns Mr Zuckerberg’s multi-billion dollar investment in the idea of the ‘metaverse’ – a series of virtual worlds where users can engage with each other in virtual reality – would fail to pay off.
‘There’s a bit of a downturn in tech at the moment but I’d expect that as the dust settles we could see them sign another deal in that industry,’ Mr Borkowski said.
‘Meta are facing huge problems so who better to generate a conversation around their idea of the metaverse than Harry and Meghan? They could be promoting it or creating their own virtual world themselves.’
Meanwhile, brand expert Nick Ede predicted Spare would open up new commercial opportunities for Harry and Meghan.
‘I think the next step for Harry will be the very lucrative public speaking circuit,’ he told MailOnline. ‘Harry will read extracts from his book at events around the world with a Q&A.
‘I also think he will make a lot of money through an exclusive sit-down interview with a journalist to promote the book. These kinds of sit-downs can command in the six-to-seven figures and I’m sure they’ll be a bidding war.
‘And with the book being so explosive he could even look to sell the film rights to it. Again that would be highly lucrative.’
The Royal Family’s lawyers remain on standby for Prince Harry’s ‘nuclear’ memoir, amid fears it is ‘critical of everyone and everything’ and that reports of it being toned down are ‘overblown’.
Meghan’s biographer Tom Bower suggested the couple’s Netflix series would create useful publicity for the memoir.
‘The curtain raiser to the Sussexes’ vengeance will be their Netflix series – a lucrative trailblazer to the book, clearly updated to describe their unexpected lengthy stay in London during the Queen’s funeral,’ he told MailOnline.
‘Viewers and readers can expect scathing comments about their treatment by Harry’s family. Wallowing in self-pity, the Sussexes will portray themselves as victims of uncaring charlatans.’
Spare’s title page shows Harry staring sternly at the camera in a brown T-shirt and a black string necklace. An unabridged audiobook will be read by the prince himself.
The 416-page autobiography – which some retailers have cut to half-price for pre-order copies – was expected to hit bookshelves this autumn but there has been speculation that the date was pushed back as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, and, it is rumoured, to make changes to the publication and remove potentially damaging material.
However, it appears the tone of the book has darkened since it was first announced in July last year. While the memoir was then-described as an ‘inspiring, courageous, and uplifting human story’, yesterday’s promotion calls it a ‘personal journey from trauma to healing’.
Royal author Richard Fitzwilliams suggested the Royal Family would be ‘very concerned’ by how the book was being promoted.
‘It is a sensational title and implies that the writer was not valued or certainly that he did not feel at the centre of events,’ he told MailOnline. ‘When the blurb speaks of ”raw, unflinching honesty” the Palace will be very concerned, especially since these are the early months of King Charles’s reign.
‘There will undoubtedly be interviews, serialisation and endless speculation about this memoir, which in my view should have waited many years. Even Edward VIII, by then the Duke of Windsor, waited until 1951 before A King’s Story was published. The consequences of this will be far-reaching and may be highly destructive.’
The Royal Family has not been given a chance to see the manuscript before publication, so will be unable to respond to any of its claims through their lawyers.
The publication date was announced in a press release yesterday, which referred to Harry as a ‘husband, father, humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate and environmentalist’ who ‘resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his family and three dogs’.
‘Spare takes readers immediately back to one of the most searing images of the Twentieth Century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow — and horror,’ the release said.
‘As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is his story at last. With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.’
The memoir, which is available to pre-order, will cost £28 hardcover, £13.99 as an eBook, £20 as an audio download and £25 as a CD. It will be available in English in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and Canada, while the book will also be published in 15 additional languages, including Spanish, Italian, German and Chinese. Representatives for the King and Kensington Palace have declined to comment.
Publisher Penguin Random House has said the duke had donated $1.5million (£1.3million) to children’s charity Sentebale and £300,000 to WellChild, a charity for disabled children for which he serves as patron.