Harry memoir hits shelves amid controversy

After days of TV interviews, leaks and a mistaken early release, Prince Harry's memoir has officially gone on sale, with eager readers heading to bookshops to get their copy with its intimate revelations about the British royal family.

Harry's book Spare has garnered attention around the world with its disclosures about his personal struggles and its accusations about other royals, including his father King Charles, stepmother Camilla and elder brother Prince William.

There were piles of copies of the book in some London stores, some of which opened at midnight to meet demand for the highly anticipated memoir.

Spare currently ranks as a best-seller on Amazon's UK, United States, Australian, German and Canadian websites.

"I know perhaps some of the things he says have rubbed different people the wrong way," Lai Jiang told Reuters after buying a copy in Singapore.

"And I know, definitely, there are a lot of people who say that he shouldn't come out and say the things he says but I believe Harry should be given a chance to say what he wants to say."

Spare, published by Penguin Random House, is the latest revelatory offering from Harry and his wife Meghan since they stepped down from royal duties in 2020 and moved to California to forge a new life.

It follows their Netflix documentary last month.

The royal family has not commented on the book or the interviews and is unlikely to do so.

Extracts from the book were leaked last Thursday when its Spanish language edition also went on sale by mistake in some bookshops in Spain.

Harry speaks of his grief and growing up after the death of his mother Princess Diana when he was just 12, his use of cocaine and other drugs to cope, how he killed 25 Taliban fighters while serving as a soldier in Afghanistan and even how he lost his virginity.

He also reveals a heated row with William, the heir to the throne, saying his brother knocked him over, and how they had both begged his father not to marry Camilla, who he wed in 2005 and is now the queen consort.

In TV interviews ahead of the book launch, Harry has doubled down on his accusations that some royals, including Camilla and William, leaked stories to tabloid papers which had damaged either him or his wife Meghan to protect themselves or enhance their reputations.

"I think she (his mother Diana) would be heartbroken about the fact that William, his office, were part of these stories," he told Good Morning America (GMA).

In another interview with CBS show 60 minutes, he said Camilla had been a tabloid "villain" and needed to rehabilitate her image, which made her "dangerous".

"I don't regard her as an evil stepmother. I see someone who married into this institution and has done everything that she can to, you know, improve her reputation and her own image," he told GMA.

While Harry's revelations have dominated the headlines in the British media in the past week, the interest in his disclosures is far from universal.

"I was not planning to (read the book) as it so happens, or certainly not as an early priority," business minister Grant Shapps told Times Radio on Tuesday.

"I've got one or two other things to do."