The Duke of Sussex has said he “would like nothing more” than for his children to have relationships with the royal family on the day his controversial memoir was finally published.
Harry’s remarks about his son and daughter come despite the fierce criticism he has levelled at his brother the Prince of Wales, his father the King and stepmother the Queen Consort.
In his first print interview to promote his bombshell autobiography, the duke told US magazine People that Archie, three, and 19-month-old Lili did, however, have a connection with some of the Windsors, whom he did not name, saying this brought him “great joy”.
He also described his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, as his “guardian angel” and said she is with him “all the time”.
Bookshops in the UK opened early on Tuesday as Harry’s tell-all book Spare hit the shelves – but queues were sparse following leaks ahead of the publication and early sales in Spain.
— People (@people) January 10, 2023
But it is still set to become one of the biggest books of the year and one of the best-selling pre-order titles of the past decade, according to industry experts.
Harry’s headline-dominating claims include accusing William of physically attacking him and teasing him about his panic attacks, saying Charles put his own interests above Harry’s and, in a US broadcast, branding Camilla as the “villain” and “dangerous”.
Just one person was waiting outside Waterstones’ flagship branch in Piccadilly in central London when it opened at 8am.
Caroline Lennon, 59, who had walked two miles from Bethnal Green in the East End to arrive at 6am, said: “People will criticise me and say: ‘What an idiot for liking Harry. What an idiot for queuing up’, but I don’t care what anyone says.”
Other royal fans had queued for midnight store openings, with a handful waiting outside WH Smith in London’s Victoria station to be one of the first to buy a copy.
In his interview with People magazine which featured a flattering photoshoot, Harry said of his book, which was ghost written by JR Moehringer: “I don’t want to tell anyone what to think of it, and that includes my family. This book and its truths are in many ways a continuation of my own mental health journey.
“It’s a raw account of my life — the good, the bad and everything in between.”
Adding that he was hopeful for reconciliation, Harry said: “I would love nothing more than for our children to have relationships with members of my family, and they do with some, which brings me great joy.”
Harry is known to be close to his cousin Princess Eugenie, who has visited him the US.
Archie and Lili are the grandchildren of the King, but live thousands of miles away from the Windsors in California, and the duke has confessed that he has not spoken to Charles in “quite a while”, and is not in text contact with William at the moment.
His run of high-profile broadcast appearances, mainly in the US, to promote his book is set to continue when he features as a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday evening.
Images of the more light-hearted interview appeared to show Harry being presented with shots of tequila, and, while trailing the programme, Colbert made jokes about Harry and William’s sibling rivalry, comparing his life to Harry Potter.
“That’s heart-breaking. To be rejected by his older brother at school even though that magic hat sorted them into the same house. What do you think? Hufflepuff? Gryffindor?” Colbert said.
Colbert added: “Stock up on corgis and steal a priceless cultural treasure from one of your colonies, because The Late Show is going imperial.”
Harry has faced criticism for his revelation in Spare that he killed 25 Taliban members during the Afghanistan war.
He has also shared frank admissions of drug-taking throughout his life, of losing his virginity to an older woman in a field as a teenager, and getting frostbite on his penis.
The duke revealed how the Duchess of Sussex was quizzed by the Queen about her opinion of Donald Trump the first time the two women met, but “Meg thought politics a no-win game, so she changed the subject to Canada”.
And he told how the former Suits star did not recognise the Duke of York, who was holding the Queen’s handbag when he joined them, and thought he was the monarch’s assistant.
Camilla was described by Harry in interviews as “dangerous” and the “villain” as he criticised her for attempting to rehabilitate her “image” at his cost.
He also recounted how a “way too upset” William rang him to say “Pa and Camilla’s people had planted a story or stories about him and Kate and the kids”.
And the duke sparked shockwaves when he denied, in an interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby, branding the royal family racist in his Oprah interview.
He blamed the stance on the British press despite Meghan claiming an unnamed royal raised “concerns” about how dark their unborn son’s skin might be.
The 407-page book sees Harry expressing his frustration at being the spare to the heir, his ever present anger at the UK media, his unresolved trauma over the death of his mother, his mental health struggles, his lonely life before meeting Meghan and the breakdown of his family relationships.