Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to write a memoir. And Harry, it turns out, is the most self-indulgent of all. Most memoirs are written after a person has lived a full life, and has true achievements and experience — the benefit of hindsight to put memories into perspective. Not so, apparently, for the so-called royals. The young prince of the House of Windsor is only 36. His lone claim to fame is his family — both the one he was born into and, recently, the one he started with his wife. In essence, the richest unemployed family in the world now consists of an upper-class cast of reality stars. Any memoir from a young, estranged member of that cabal can only serve as grist for the gossip mill.
Harry, in a sense, is trapped by history. His desire to distance himself from the Family and its conservatism, and start an independent life in the US, is understandable. Yet, this “independence” still depends on his inheritance. Were he only Harry Smith (36), former soldier for a few months and otherwise unemployed, would any publisher be interested in his probably pious pontifications? And the book is likely to only feed the tabloid and media frenzy that he so wishes to escape, to draw out the saas-bahu-sasur-daadi battles that his departure from England and subsequent interviews have led to.
But let’s not blame just Harry. In a public culture that is both youth and celebrity-obsessed, the Royal Family makes for easily digestible content. In India, infants inherit their parents’ celebrity a la baby Taimur and the Kardashians continue to thrive on unproductive drama after decades in the US. Harry, who retired in his 20s, needs something to fill the time. The downside, of course, is that his anger at being a victim of celebrity he did not choose will ring just a little less true with every interview, memoir and press release.