Prince Harry’s ghostwriter JR Moehringer says the couple bonded over media intrusion

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Prince Harry’s ghostwriter said he has connected to his issue about the “callousness” of paparazzi and media after the “frenzied mob” surrounding the book Spare led to photographers and journalists invading his own privacy.

In an I article for the New Yorker, JR Moehringer, the acclaimed ghostwriter behind Spare, said he agreed to write Harry’s memoir because he “just liked the guy” and recently lost his own mother.

“I was wondering if we had chemistry. We did, and I think there was a surprising reason. Diana, Princess of Wales, had died 23 years before we first spoke and my mother, Dorothy Moehringer, had just died and our grief felt just as fresh,” he wrote.

“I think I selfishly welcomed the idea of ​​being able to talk to someone, an expert, about that never-ending feeling of wishing you could call your mom.”

JR Moehringer, American writer and journalist

JR Moehringer, American writer and journalist Photo: Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images

Writing the book took over two years, with Moehringer and Harry meeting via Zoom and texting “24/7” during the pandemic. When travel restrictions were eased, Moehringer stayed at a guest house on Harry and Meghan’s ranch in Montecito, California, where “Meghan and Archie used to visit me on their afternoon walks. Meghan, knowing I missed my family, kept bringing trays of food and sweets.”

When news of the memoir broke, Moehringer writes, “a royal expert warned that because of my involvement in the book, Harry’s father should ‘search for a bunch of cloaks to hide under'” because of what Moehringer considered his own termed “father problems”. He has written about his absent father and close relationship with his single mother in his own memoir, The Tender Bar.

Spare became the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time. His success also led to feverish media attention, and Moehringer recounts how paparazzi and reporters began invading his private life, following him in his car, showing up outside his son’s preschool and snooping around his home. “[…] I looked up and saw a woman’s face at my window. As in a dream, I went to the window and asked: ‘Who are you?’ Through the glass she whispered, ‘I’m from the Sunday Post’.”

With tabloid attention came errors and lies, he writes, where “innocent passages” were “hyped to outrage.” Among them was a mistranslation that led news outlets to report that Harry had described how he “mounted” the woman to whom he lost his virginity. “I can say with 100 percent certainty that nobody in Spare gets ‘mounted’ quickly or otherwise,” he writes.

When he complained to Harry that “fiction about me spread and hardened into orthodoxy” – including that he had been introduced to Harry by George Clooney – the prince “bowed his head: Welcome to my world, dude. Harry now called me mate.”

In the New Yorker article, Moehringer, who also ghost-wrote for Andre Agassi and Nike founder Phil Knight, tells how he pushed back on Harry’s request to record a comeback he made during a military exercise in which he was involved in a simulated kidnapping was.

During the exercise, one of his fake kidnappers made a “vile dig” at Diana. Harry wanted his remark recorded because people had “degraded his intellectual abilities” and he wanted to show that he had said something smart.

Related: Spare by Prince Harry Review – a flawed attempt to reclaim the narrative

Moehringer refused, saying it would detract from the meaning of the scene, which really was that “even in the most bizarre and peripheral moments of his life, his central tragedy intrudes”.

Harry, he says, “couldn’t help but wish Spare could refute every lie that was ever published about him.”

The book contained explosive details including Harry using drugs as a teenager, a scuffle between Harry and his brother Prince William, fights between Meghan and the Princess of Wales over the bridesmaids’ dresses and claims that William and Kate were behind Harry’s decision a Nazi costume at a 2005 costume party.

He accused his family of “a tremendous amount of unconscious bias” and said they failed to protect Meghan from attacks in the press.

Harry traveled alone to his father’s May 6th coronation, which took place on the same day as his son Archie’s birthday, and made a quick exit afterwards.


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