Prince Harry’s record-breaking memoir could earn him one of the world’s most prestigious music awards, Newsweek has heard, as the royal’s 15-hour-long self-narrated audiobook version of Spare qualifies him to be considered for the Grammy’s Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording category.
Harry published his memoir on January 10 and, despite being leaked to the media beforehand, became the fastest selling non-fiction book of all time, earning him a Guinness World Record.
Alongside the global print and digital issues, the prince also released the memoir in audiobook form, recording the full 15-hour unabridged version in his own voice.
Though the book has been a commercial success, the numerous intimate revelations made within it have earned the prince criticism and, in some cases, made him a figure of mockery.
Clips from the audiobook have gone viral online, including the section in which the royal describes experiencing frostbite on his penis and how he used Princess Diana‘s favorite lip cream as a home remedy for it. Sections of the royal half singing the lyrics to Elton John’s “Your Song” and the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” have also been widely shared.
The audiobook qualifies the prince to be considered for a prestigious Grammy, which has been awarded to a number of other high profile figures who narrated their own audiobooks, including Barack and Michelle Obama (Barack Obama has won twice), Bill and Hillary Clinton, Quincy Jones, Maya Angelou and Carrie Fisher.
Though the prince has missed the cut off date for being nominated in the 2023 awards category, he will qualify for consideration in the 2024 season.
“There is every chance that Harry will be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word (Best Audio Book, Narration and Storytelling Recording) next year for his audiobook reading of his memoir Spare,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Newsweek. “It would follow in the footsteps of the Obamas and the Clintons. The book has been extremely controversial but has been a huge success worldwide for Penguin Random House.”
“Whatever the reception was for its contents, Harry’s ghost-writer J.R. Moehringer has won praise,” he said, before going on to pick up on some of the criticism the royal has faced, which has seen his popularity drop 45 points in the U.S. alone.
“If Harry does win, from the clip I heard, it will be for his reading,” he said. “He sings a verse of Elton John’s ‘Your Song,’ his talents definitely do not lie in that direction!”
The prince’s awards appeal may lay in his unique status. Though he is not the first member of the royal family to record an audiobook (Meghan Markle narrated a version of her children’s book The Bench in 2021), nor is he the first to record an audio version of an explosive royal memoir (Sarah Ferguson did that in 1996 for her book My Story), his position as the son of the monarch fascinates listeners.
“The audiobook is not something we typically hear from an author of such a high status, and the way he uses his voice to tell his side of the story illustrates his on-going unresolved emotional pain, with no shortage of quotable soundbites that have filled the internet with many viral clips online viewed by millions!” entertainment expert and founder of MarkMeets, Mark Boardman, told Newsweek.
“He is an eloquent speaker, well expressed and effective in persuading people of what he truly feels, and comes across as an educated though sometimes damaged individual whose own accounts do not match the public’s own memories or timeline.”
“With the huge success I am positive Harry’s book spare will certainly be nominated for next year’s Grammy awards,” he continued. “The book and audiobook have surpassed expectations, and just the nomination will draw huge attention again to the royal. For those mentioned in the book, it will cause more misery and pain and re-open any rift.”
In Spare, Harry made a number of bombshell claims and accusations against royal family members, including his brother, Prince William, and stepmother, Queen Camilla.
Though of great public interest, these particular revelations have not won the prince universal praise. In a recent survey for Newsweek, it was revealed that 44 percent of Americans thought the prince was wrong to recount information from private family conversations in his book.
So far, Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have adopted “no comment” positions on the book and its contents.
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