‘The line between memory and fact is blurry’: Harry’s ghost-writer defends the Duke over inaccuracies in his memoir Spare – including that he was descended from King Henry VI and was given an Xbox before they were manufactured
- J.R. Moehringer, the ghostwriter who authored Prince Harry’s memoir, has defended the prince’s recollections amid questions over accuracy
- Moehringer, who also ghostwrote Andre Agassi and Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s autobiographies, said it was normal that details were at times hazy
- He also pointed out that Harry couched his recollections many times, saying that he was not sure if it was true, but that’s what he was told
- Among the ‘facts’ questioned by critics are his claim to be descended from King Henry VI; his being given an XBox before it was released; and details of a flight
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, came to the defence of the book he was reportedly paid $1million to write.
Sharing an excerpt from Harry’s book, emphasising that the exiled prince himself admits at times said he was unsure of all the details he shares, often blaming trauma in 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 by his mother before they were manufactured, and stating that Meghan Markle‘s father was bought a Mexico-London flight ticket on Air New Zealand, which does not fly that route.
And today more errors emerged, including his memory of the Queen Mother’s funeral, an anecdote criticising his stepmother Camilla and British high street giant TK Maxx even corrected another claim in the bombshell book where he details shopping in the store next to Kensington Palace with £200 to buy as much as he could in 15 minutes.
Prince Harry’s bombshell memoir is full of startling claims – and some have questioned the historical accuracy of the facts presented. J.R. Moehringer, Harry’s ghostwriter, on Wednesday defended the book, saying memoirs are about the subject’s own view of events
J.R. Moehringer has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing – before turning to ghostwriting books. Spare is the fastest selling non-fiction book in UK history, according to publisher Penguin.
A week after Spare was released early in Spain, the journalist and author has defended Harry from claims it is inaccurate.
He used Twitter to share several defences.
Another Mary 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 – despite the fact the best-selling 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?’
Prince Harry’s tell-all autobiography Spare was officially launched on Tuesday
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.’
Several of the specific claims Moehringer does not address.
That ticket was with Air New Zealand, the Duke of Sussex claimed.
‘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,’ an excerpt from Spare revealed.
‘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.
Harry claimed in Spare, that Meghan purchased a first class Air NZ ticket from Mexico to Britain for Thomas Markle so he could escape harassment in his adopted homeland
The book reveals that the Sussexes rebuffed the late Queen’s suggestion that Meghan should fly to Mexico try and 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 bombshell memoir’s accuracy have been raised after eagle-eyed readers on social media found other inaccuracies.
In Spare, the duke writes 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.
Historians were quick to take to social media to question the accuracy of Harry’s link to Henry VI, the last of the Lancastrian dynasty.
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 arguing 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.’