London: The Duke of Sussex’s ghostwriter has defended Spare from claims of inaccuracies and historical errors, insisting mistakes are common in memoirs where “the line between memory and fact is blurry”.
J.R. Moehringer, the award-winning journalist and author, came to the defence of Prince Harry after the controversy surrounding his newly published memoir.
Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer helped Prince Harry author his book Spare.
On Wednesday night, the writer shared 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 kinds out the wazoo”.
Moehringer tweeted the Duke’s words: “Whatever the cause, my memory is my memory, it does what it does … and there’s just as much truth in what I remember and how I remember it as there is in so-called objective facts.”
The New York-born author, who was reportedly paid $US1 million ($1.45 million) to write Spare, was coming to the defence of several highlighted inaccuracies, including that the Duke was given an Xbox computer game console before they were manufactured and that he is a descendant of King Henry VI.
In his memoir, 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 that the king’s direct lineage ended after his son died childless at the Battle of Tewkesbury.
More errors have emerged since the publication of the book earlier this week, such as the Duke’s recollection of where he was when he was told that the Queen Mother, his great-grandmother, had died.
He describes being at Eton when he heard the news on March 30, 2002, but reports at the time suggest that the Duke was actually on a skiing holiday with his father and brother in Klosters, Switzerland.
Photographs from the time suggest that they had taken part in a media call at the Swiss resort on March 29, as well as a statement from the King, who was then the Prince of Wales, outlining his wish “to get home as soon as he can”.
As for the Xbox inaccuracy, the Duke admitted in Spare that he “has no idea” if his memory of receiving the gift from his aunt, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, for his 13th birthday in 1997 is true.
While people have pointed out that the video game console was released four years later in 2001, others came to the Duke’s defence, as he wrote that his “memory was no longer recording things quite as it once did” following his mother’s death.
“That’s the story, anyway,” he writes of his first birthday after Princess Diana’s death the same year. “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 retweeted another quote from Karr which said: “Neurologist Jonathan Mink, MD, explained to me that with … intense memories … we often record the emotion alone, all detail blurred into unreadable smear.”
Among the historical matters called into question, the high-street retailer TK Maxx also corrected the record over whether the Duke, who wrote that he shopped there, really did take advantage of sales.
He writes in Spare: “I was particularly fond of their once-a-year sale, when they’d be flush with items from Gap or J Crew.”
However, a spokesman for the retailer said: “Whilst we’re delighted Prince Harry is a big fan, we thought we should explain we don’t actually do sales. Instead, we offer great value, style, and savings all year round”.
The Daily Telegraph
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