Prince Harry‘s ghostwriter today defended Spare from damaging claims of inaccuracy and historical errors, insisting ‘inadvertent mistakes’ are common in memoirs where ‘the line between memory and fact is blurry’.
J.R. Moehringer, who has also authored autobiographies for Andre Agassi and Nike co-founder Phil Knight, defended the book he was reportedly paid $1million to write.
Sharing an excerpt from Harry’s book, he emphasised that the prince himself admits at times that he is unsure of the accuracy all the details he shares, often saying this is due to trauma in his childhood. But in the same book he also insists: ‘It’s important that history has it right.’
Mr Moehringer tweeted Harry’s words last night: ‘Whatever the cause, my memory is my memory… there’s just as much truth in what I remember and how I remember it as there is in so-called objective facts.’ He also tweeted a quote from Mary Karr, author of The Art of Memoir, which said: ‘The line between memory and fact is blurry, between interpretation and fact. There are inadvertent mistakes of those kind out of the wazoo.’
Harry has been accused of a litany of factual errors, including claiming that he was descended from King Henry VI, saying he was given an Xbox before they were manufactured, and stating that Meghan‘s father was bought a Mexico-London flight ticket on Air New Zealand, which does not fly that route.
Prince Harry’s bombshell memoir is full of startling claims – and some have questioned the historical accuracy of the facts presented. J.R. Moehringer (right), Harry’s ghostwriter, on Wednesday defended the book, saying memoirs are about the subject’s own view of events
Moehringer shared quotes on Twitter amid controversy over some of the details in Spare
Recollections certainly vary: The difference between Harry’s memory and the facts
Harry on King Henry VI
‘Henry was my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather’
Henry VI only HAD one son, Edward of Westminster, who died as a teenager without any children
The XB=box from his mum
Princess Diana bought him an Xbox before her death in 1997. It was presented to him after she died.
‘It was an Xbox. I was pleased. I loved video games..’ But he added: ‘That’s the story, anyway…I have no idea if it’s true’
Microsoft’s first Xbox was released in 2001
TK Maxx sale trips
I’d go to T.K. Maxx, the discount store. I was particularly fond of their once-a-year sale, when they’d be flush with items from Gap or J.Crew
A spokesman for TK Maxx ‘Whilst we’re delighted Prince Harry is a big fan, we don’t actually do sales. Instead, we offer great value, style, and savings all year round’
Bermuda posting for Sussexes
‘Camilla also suggested to Meg that I become Governor General of Bermuda, which would solve all our problems’
Bermuda does not have a governor-general.
Koh-i-Noor and the Queen Mother
Reflecting on the Queen Mother’s funeral and the jewels on her coffin, Harry said: ‘A 105-karat monster called the Koh-i-Noor. Largest diamond ever seen by human eyes. ‘Acquired’ by the British Empire at its zenith. Stolen, some thought’
The Cullinan Diamond is the largest diamond ever found. It was presented to King Edward VII and cut, with stones used in the Crown Jewels and other priceless items
Moehringer has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing before he turned to ghostwriting books. Spare is the fastest selling non-fiction book in UK history, according to publisher Penguin.
Another Karr quote he tweeted read: ‘Neurologist Jonathan Mink, MD, explained to me that with such intense memories as David’s, we often record the emotion alone, all detail blurred into unreadable smear.’
The duke claimed he was gifted an Xbox by his aunt, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, for his 13th birthday in 1997 – but the device was first released in the United States four years later in 2001.
He writes: ‘I tore at the wrapping paper, the ribbon. I peered inside… It was an Xbox. I was pleased. I loved video games.
‘That’s the story, anyway. It’s appeared in many accounts of my life, as gospel, and I have no idea if it’s true. Pa said Mummy hurt her head, but perhaps I was the one with brain damage?’
Moehringer, in response to criticism, retweeted a commentator saying: ‘It’s worth noting that IN THE BOOK when Harry talks about the Xbox (which hadn’t been released yet in 1997) he explicitly states that he has no idea if this particular memory is true and explains that his mother’s death messed with his memories.’
Moehringer also retweeted a commentator saying: ‘It’s right there he says he doesn’t know if it’s true. Read it again.’
The New York-born author pointed out that Harry himself admitted his recollections were at times hazy.
‘Landscape, geography, architecture, that’s how my memory rolls,’ Harry said.
‘Dates? Sorry, I’ll need to look them up.
‘Dialogue? I’ll try my best, but make no verbatim claims, especially when it comes to the nineties.’
One of the inaccuracies comes from Harry’s claim in the book that Meghan purchased a first-class ticket from Mexico to Britain for her father Thomas Markle so he could escape concerns about harassment in his adopted homeland.
That ticket was with Air New Zealand, the Duke of Sussex wrote.
‘We told him, leave Mexico right now: A whole new level of harassment is about to rain down on you, so come to Britain. Now.
‘Air New Zealand, first class, booked and paid for by Meg.’
Air New Zealand has said it has never operated flights between Mexico and the United Kingdom – and it does not offer a first class service.
‘We’ve never had flights between Mexico and the UK. And we only have Business Premier,’ an Air NZ spokesperson told the New Zealand Herald.
Prince Harry’s tell-all autobiography Spare was officially released on Tuesday
Harry claimed in Spare that Meghan purchased a first class Air NZ ticket from Mexico to Britain for her father Thomas Markle, but the airline does not operate that route
The book reveals that the Sussexes rebuffed the late Queen’s suggestion that Meghan should fly to Mexico try to salvage her relationship with her father (pictured)
In Spare, the duke writes of his ‘great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather’, King Henry VI (above) who founded Eton College and died in 1471
Historians and experts slammed the inaccuracy and lack of fact-checking for a non-fiction project that cost a reported £16million ($20million)
Other questions of the memoir’s accuracy have been raised after the duke wrote of his ‘great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather’, King Henry VI who founded Eton College and died in 1471 – despite the fact Henry VI’s direct lineage ended after his son, Edward of Westminster, died as a childless teenager at the Battle of Tewkesbury.
Prince Harry’s actual great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was King George III, who reigned from 1760 and 1811, more than three centuries after Henry VI died.
Royal correspondent Patricia Treble pointed out the genealogical error and the fact Henry VI had no descendants after his son’s death in 1471.
The duke’s retelling of how he learned about the death of the Queen Mother has also been questioned, with many saying he had been Klosters, Switzerland, on the weekend his grandmother died, not at Eton College in Windsor, England.
The Duke of Sussex wrote in painstaking detail of a call he received while studying at Eton College telling him his great grandmother had died on March 30, 2002.
He writes: ‘At Eton, while studying, I took the call.
‘I wish I could remember whose voice was at the other end; a courtier’s I believe.
‘I recall that it was just before Easter, the weather bright and warm, light slanting through my window, filled with vivid colours.’
Resurfaced photographs appear to place the prince in Klosters, Switzerland, the weekend the Queen Mother died
Prince Harry sits in a car as he and his brother, Prince William and his father, Prince Charles head for home from a skiing trip in Klosters
Princes William and Harry and their father Prince Charles with The Queen Mother during celebrations to mark her 101st birthday August 4, 2001
However, resurfaced photographs show Harry posing alongside his brother William and father Charles in a media call on March 29, having recently shrugged off a bout of glandular fever in time to hit the slopes.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: ‘It seems from the evidence, that he was undoubtedly in Klosters at when the Queen Mother died.
‘This portrait of being at Eton, ”the weather bright and warm, light slanting… vivid colours” is therefore inaccurate.’