Dickie Arbiter, the late Queen’s long-serving press secretary, has demanded an apology from publisher Penguin Random House over an alleged inaccuracy in Spare, Prince Harry’s memoir. Without naming him, Harry’s ghostwritten book claimed Mr Arbiter had warned Harry and wife Meghan Markle they could expect “no mercy” from the British establishment.
However, he tweeted: “What are @penguinrandom going to do about correcting this allegation against me – I never said anything of the sort. How about a public apology pdq?”
The remark in question instead appears to have been made by jouralist Trevor Phillips.
The confusion appears to stem from a MailOnline article published on January 10, 2020 – precisely two years before the publication of Spare – which considers the impact of Harry and Meghan’s decision to stand down as frontline royals and relocate to North America, initially Canada.
Mr Arbiter is quoted as saying: “The Queen will bear this latest insult with the stoicism with which she has faced every other challenge in her life. But make no mistake, an insult it is.”
Harry’s book says: “The Queen’s ex-press secretary…concluded…that we could hereafter “expect no mercy”.
However, the words in question are actually attributed to former chair of the London Assembly Mr Phillips, who is quoted as saying: “Once outside the royal enclosure they will no longer enjoy the deference that Harry, at least, has had all his life.
“They will join the rest of us in the trenches.
“They can expect no mercy from those who like things just as they are.”
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Speaking to Express.co.uk afterwards: “Harry throughout his book was talking about inaccuracy and yet does exactly the same. It’s a bit hypocritical.
“It does need to be corrected, and one would assume that given the book has allegedly sold 1.5 million and I believe that the original run was two million, that it will be corrected in the next run.”
Express.co.uk has contacted Penguin Random House for comment.
The English language edition of Spare sold more than 1.4 million copies on its first day of publication.
Penguin Random House has reported its largest ever first-day sales total for any nonfiction book published by the company.
According to the publisher, the English language edition of Spare sold more than 1,430,000 units in all formats and editions in the United States, Canada and the UK on January 10 when it first hit bookshop shelves.
Speaking about the record sales, president and publisher of the Random House Group Gina Centrello said: “While many books by public figures can be fairly categorized as ‘celebrity memoir,’ Spare is not that.
“Vulnerable and heartfelt, brave and intimate, Spare is the story of someone we may have thought we already knew, but now we can truly come to understand Prince Harry through his own words.”
(More to follow)