Long before Prince Harry announced he would be writing a "wholly truthful memoir," another royal chose to step away from royal life — and then told his story

By Stephanie Petit
July 19, 2021 05:18 PM
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Duke of Windsor
Edward, Duke of Windsor
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Prince Harry announced that he's writing an "accurate and wholly truthful" memoir — but he's far from the first member of the royal family to do so.

Edward, Duke of Windsor — who was Queen Elizabeth's uncle and had been coronated King Edward VIII before abdicating the throne in 1936 so he could marry American Wallis Simpson — produced a ghost-written biography titled A King's Story: The Memoirs of the Duke of Windsor in 1951. The memoir recalled his royal upbringing and schooling, leading up to falling in love with the American divorcée and ultimately giving up the position as monarch.

"Given my character, my roving curiosity and independence, my life appeared to form a disconnected pattern — duty without decision, service without responsibility, pomp without power," wrote Harry's great-great-uncle, according to an excerpt on Amazon. "Meanwhile, something had happened that, although I did not realise it at the time, was destined to change the whole course of my life. I met Wallis Warfield Simpson."

Duke of Windsor
Edward, Duke of Windsor
| Credit: Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images

Edward and Wallis struggled financially after the abdication, having been cut off from the monarchy and having no source of income. Royalties from Edward's memoir helped fund them as they lived in France.

Wallis published her own memoir, The Heart Has Its Reasons, in 1956.

Duke of Windsor
Edward, Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
| Credit: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Penguin Random House announced on Monday that Prince Harry, 36, is writing a memoir that's scheduled to be released in late 2022.

"I'm writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become," said Harry in a statement. "I've worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story — the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned — I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think."

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex
Prince Harry
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

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Continued Harry, 36, "I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I've learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that's accurate and wholly truthful."

Proceeds from the book and audiobook — which will cover his childhood in the public eye to his military duty in Afghanistan to becoming a husband to Meghan Markle and father to son Archie, 2, and daughter Lilibet, 1 month — will be donated to charity.