King Charles III and his heir William remained unfazed Thursday during their first public appearances since the release of Harry’s memoirs, a cruel unpacking for the British monarchy which is experiencing a meteoric start in bookstores.
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“Are you ever going to comment on Harry’s book?” a reporter called out to William as he arrived for a visit to a hospital in Liverpool, north-west England.
The Prince of Wales did not react, greeting the public present with a smile with his wife Kate.
Equally true to Britain’s famous WWII motto ‘Keep calm and carry on’, Charles III shrugged off the scandal when he went out to meet the public in a kilt near Balmoral.
It was in this Scottish castle that Elizabeth II died in September and where in 1997 he informed his children William and Harry of the death of their mother Diana in Paris, a scene recounted with a plethora of uncompromising details in “Spare” (“The Substitute”).
In these memoirs, Prince Harry, exiled since 2020 in California, spares no one, although he claims not to want to hurt anyone and to wish for reconciliation: neither himself, in adolescence marked by drugs and alcohol , nor her father, King Charles III, nor her brother William, nor her stepmother and now queen consort Camilla, or her sister-in-law Kate.
His “beloved brother and best enemy” is the most criticized of all. Presented as angry, William would never have loved his wife Meghan whom he considered “badly brought up and aggressive”, and would have during an argument in 2019 thrown Harry to the ground in the dog bowl.
Buckingham Palace remains silent on these revelations which are bad as the coronation of Charles III approaches on May 6.
But the press reported, citing anonymous sources, the dissatisfaction of the Windsors, several tabloids assuring Thursday that Harry and Meghan were no longer welcome at this event with a global audience, already overshadowed by the estrangement.
“The family expects Harry and Meghan to find an excuse not to come,” a source told the Daily Mail.
In the UK, the prince is often portrayed as a spoiled child and only 24% of Britons now have a favorable opinion of the Duke of Sussex, according to a YouGov poll carried out after the memoir was released.
With his wife Meghan, they are now even more unpopular than Prince Andrew, brother of Charles III, dismissed from the monarchy after a sex scandal.
Only 21% of Britons think Harry’s main motivation is to tell his side of his story, as he claims, while 41% think it’s the money.
“It looks a bit like a way to make money and continue to talk about them (Harry and Meghan, editor’s note) in the press”, regrets Shannon Simons, employee of the Liverpool hospital visited by William and Kate interviewed by AFP.
On the other hand, her colleague Stacey Oats says her sympathy for the Californian couple: “They are a little more normal for the youngest, while the royal family is a little outdated”.
“It’s pretty sad, what they went through. I have the impression that Harry has not recovered from what happened to his mother, ”continues the 35-year-old caregiver.
Despite the hostility of much of the population, the memoir sold more than 1.4 million copies in English on the first day in the UK, US and Canada, according to the publisher Penguin Random House.
This is unheard of for an essay published by this publishing giant.
The French translation, which had been launched with a print run of 210,000 copies, is the subject of a new print run of 130,000 copies, Fayard editions told AFP.
The publisher reports a demand from booksellers about 20% higher than that of the first volume of Barack Obama’s presidential memoirs in 2020, “A Promised Land”.
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