Prince Harry’s claims in his autobiography are the “most sensational royal revelations” in almost 30 years and will “shake” the foundations of the monarchy, according to a royal expert.
Michael Cole says the Duke of Sussex has metaphorically “detonated a huge landmine” under Buckingham Palace with his claims in his book Spare, which emerged after it was accidentally put on sale ahead of the release date in Spain.
Mr Cole, an ex-spokesperson for former Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed, told Sky News: “It’s the most sensational and damaging set of royal revelations since Prince Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, sat down with the now disgraced BBC Panorama reporter Martin Bashir in November 1995.
“Prince Harry in this book isn’t really blowing the doors of Buckingham Palace, he’s detonating a huge landmine under it and shaking the royal edifice and indeed shaking the British establishment.
“These are very serious allegations and they cannot always be ignored.
“It is tragic in many ways that he feels he has to go on record like this, but quite clearly he does and nobody can say that he hasn’t pulled his punches, because he has let them have it.”
Mr Cole said: “Allegations of this kind ought to be resolved within a family. Families do have disagreements, this cannot be the first family in the world where a new arrival has caused conflict.”
‘Confessing to taking cocaine is a big mistake’
Prince Harry also makes a number of personal revelations in the book, including that he took cocaine and marijuana, lost his virginity in a field and killed 25 Taliban fighters while serving in Afghanistan.
“He has made some major errors in this book in my view,” Mr Cole said.
“Confessing to taking cocaine is a major error, a big mistake.
“I think it is a mistake to confess to a crime like this and also to say his personal tally of the people he killed in Afghanistan.
“That goes against the soldiers’ code in every way and I’m sure his fellow officers will not thank him for that.
“He has painted a target on his own back with this. He’s increased the level of danger to his whole family.”
Harry has ‘completely embraced commerce’
The book, published by Penguin Random House in a multimillion-pound deal, comes following the release of a Netflix series entitled Harry and Meghan.
The couple have a deal with the US streaming giant, which is also reportedly worth tens of millions of pounds.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex expressed their desire to become “financially independent” following their decision to step back from frontline royal duties in January 2020.
And Mr Cole said Prince Harry had now “completely embraced commerce”.
He said: “His royal status is just a calling card and from now on he and his wife are in the money business.
“I find it difficult to be sympathetic to them because they are two handsome, beautiful people with two lovely children and lots of money… it’s not a bad existence and while some of these complaints are serious, a lot of it is very trivial.
“They obviously feel that they have had to be frank, but that means an end to their previous existence.”
Invitation to coronation is a ‘problem’
Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have so far declined to comment on the claims from the book.
They will be braced for yet more coverage in the coming days, with Prince Harry set to take part in a round of interviews to promote his new book.
One question will be whether he will attend his father’s coronation, which is due to take place in May this year.
In one interview, with ITV, Prince Harry said: “There’s a lot that can happen between now and then.
“But you know, the door is always open. The ball is in their court.
“There is a lot to be discussed and I really hope that they are willing to sit down and talk about it.”
Mr Cole said the issue is a “problem” for Harry and Meghan.
He said: “The King has made it clear that they would be welcome at his coronation but that proves a problem.
“If they accept and they come that leaves them open to the claim of hypocrisy and if they reject the invitation they will seem rather small-minded and rather petty and there would be additional pressure for Prince Harry because all royal princes are present in the abbey on coronation day and would be required to swear an oath of loyalty to the new king.
“The King has played this quite well and is making it clear that his second son is not an outcast in his view.”