Monday, 5 Dec 2022

Gen Z ’empathise’ with Prince Harry as he deals with childhood ‘pain’

Prince Harry book: Insider discusses response to memoir

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Prince Harry is in the process of rebranding, as he is trying to “carve out his own identity” and appeal to the younger generation with his upcoming book, a royal expert has claimed. The Duke of Sussex’s memoir, titled ‘Spare’, will be published on January 10, and is expected to include details of his childhood and how he experienced the death of his mother, Princess Diana. The publisher, Penguin Random House, markets the book as being “full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom”.

The much-anticipated book is expected to cause a stir as the Duke has vowed to tell his side of the story behind the feud with senior royals that led him and his wife, Meghan Markle, to step down from senior members of the Royal Family and move to the US in 2020.

Professor Pauline MacLaran of Royal Holloway, University of London, suggested that the Duke’s narrative will be quite appealing to Generation Z – loosely defined as people born from 1995 to 2010.

That is, according to the Professor, because these people can “empathise” with Harry as he “challenges tradition” and overcomes the struggles he faced during his childhood.

Asked about Prince Harry’s aim with the book, and how it will affect his popularity, the Marketing and Consumer Research Professor explained his branding strategy.

She told “For me, this is Harry trying to carve out his own identity and making the transition from his past life as a royal to his new one as a humanitarian and preparing the ground to be accepted in this new role.

“I think the book is likely to gain a lot of support from the younger generation (especially Gen Z) who will see Harry as challenging tradition and overcoming many problems he has had due to his upbringing.

“As such, they are likely to find him relatable and someone they can empathise with. Harry certainly appears to be positioning the book in this way.”

The publisher said that the book, which will also be released in the form of an audiobook, read by the Prince himself, is written with “raw, unflinching honesty”.

Asked about what exactly the content of the book is expected to be, the Professor said: “I expect the book will contain details of his growing up within the royal household.

“This will mean revisiting his mother’s death and the lead-up to it, I imagine, with the turbulent years that preceded it – in particular, the warring relationship between Charles and Diana and how that impacted on him. It is likely to be a very personal and emotional account.”

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The book was initially due to be published by the end of 2022, however, following Queen Elizabeth II’s death, it was reported that Prince Harry went back to rewrite and tone down the content as a sign of respect to the late monarch.

Asked what sort of impact the book’s content is likely to have on the Royal Family and the public opinion of the monarchy, Ms MacLaran stressed that the content could cause “distress”.

The Professor noted: “Obviously this will depend on the nature of the content and how critical it is of other royals. Harry is said to have toned done certain parts and that is why the publication has been put back until January.

“However, there is bound to be a lot of content that distresses the royals, whether on Harry’s account and the pain he has suffered, or the criticisms he levels at other members of his family.”

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