Security around Prince Harry’s memoir Spare match those for JK Rowling’s final Harry Potter book

Not since the last ‘Harry’ book has security been so tight. As publication looms for the Duke of Sussex’s memoir, the ultra-secure arrangements echo those of the final instalment of the Harry Potter series 16 years ago, insiders said yesterday. 

Back then, publishers spent millions of pounds trying to stop the plotline being leaked before it went on sale in bookshops. 

This week, an enormous logistics operation is under way around Prince Harry’s bombshell biography Spare. 

The duke and his publishers Penguin Random House are going to great lengths to ensure it is published simultaneously around the world next Tuesday. 

The Duke and his publishers Penguin Random House are going to great lengths to ensure 'Spare' is published simultaneously around the world next Tuesday

The Duke and his publishers Penguin Random House are going to great lengths to ensure ‘Spare’ is published simultaneously around the world next Tuesday 

Not since the last ‘Harry’ book has security been so tight. As publication looms for the Duke of Sussex’s memoir, the ultra-secure arrangements echo those of the final instalment of the Harry Potter series 16 years ago, insiders said yesterday

Not since the last ‘Harry’ book has security been so tight. As publication looms for the Duke of Sussex’s memoir, the ultra-secure arrangements echo those of the final instalment of the Harry Potter series 16 years ago, insiders said yesterday 

Publishers spent millions of pounds trying to stop the plotline of the final installment of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series being leaked before it went on sale in bookshops. The author is pictured above at the launch of The Deathly Hallows in 2007

Publishers spent millions of pounds trying to stop the plotline of the final installment of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series being leaked before it went on sale in bookshops. The author is pictured above at the launch of The Deathly Hallows in 2007

The hardback will be in UK bookshops when they open on Tuesday morning, with the e-book edition available to download on Kindle from shortly after midnight on the same day. 

Spare is being published in 16 languages including Chinese, Finnish, Hungarian, Spanish and Portuguese, but – in theory – no one in any country will be able to get their hands on an early copy. 

Although the official release date is January 10, readers in Australia – which is 11 hours ahead of the UK – have been left in no doubt that, for them, copies will only become available on January 11. 

In the United States, which is five to eight hours behind Britain, it will be the evening of Monday January 9 when e-book copies of the tome become available on Kindle, at the same moment as the clock strikes midnight on Tuesday morning in the UK.

Harry’s tell-all book is expected to double-down on his attacks on the Royal Family. While King Charles may be spared the worst of the duke’s rage, the book is understood to contain damaging details about his bitter fallout with his brother, with both William and his wife Kate coming under fire in its 416 pages. 

Spare tells Harry’s story with ‘raw, unflinching honesty’, according to Penguin Random House. 

The Sussexes are said to have signed a $20million (£16.6million) four-book deal with the publishing giant. 

Harry’s tell-all book is expected to double-down on his attacks on the Royal Family. While King Charles may be spared the worst of the duke’s rage, the book is understood to contain damaging details about his bitter fallout with his brother, with both William and his wife Kate coming under fire in its 416 pages

Harry’s tell-all book is expected to double-down on his attacks on the Royal Family. While King Charles may be spared the worst of the duke’s rage, the book is understood to contain damaging details about his bitter fallout with his brother, with both William and his wife Kate coming under fire in its 416 pages

Publishing sources said arrangements for Harry’s ‘explosive’ memoir’s release were ultra-closely guarded and being managed in minute detail, with only a handful of senior executives aware of the exact details

Publishing sources said arrangements for Harry’s ‘explosive’ memoir’s release were ultra-closely guarded and being managed in minute detail, with only a handful of senior executives aware of the exact details 

Publishing sources said arrangements for Harry’s ‘explosive’ memoir’s release were ultra-closely guarded and being managed in minute detail, with only a handful of senior executives aware of the exact details. 

Deliveries to bookshops are being scheduled to be last-minute to avoid unauthorised copies being leaked. Guarded sites across the world have been secured to house copies of the book prior to distribution. 

One likened the sophisticated security operation to the 2007 release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when JK Rowling was determined her young fans would not have the experience spoilt by learning of the boy wizard’s fate before reading the seventh and final novel in the series. 

An army of guards, satellite tracking systems and legal contracts were all deployed to protect the 10 million first copies of the new Harry Potter book. 

When the finished manuscript was taken by hand from London to New York, a lawyer for the American publisher sat on it during the flight. 

When copies were sent out to retailers, lorries were fitted with satellite tracking systems which would reveal if any of the vehicles deviated from their intended routes. 

With Prince Harry’s book, Buckingham Palace has not been given advance sight of the manuscript. Informed sources expect a ‘tired re-hash of gripes’ from King Charles’s youngest son

With Prince Harry’s book, Buckingham Palace has not been given advance sight of the manuscript. Informed sources expect a ‘tired re-hash of gripes’ from King Charles’s youngest son

An army of guards, satellite tracking systems and legal contracts were all deployed to protect the 10 million first copies of the last Harry Potter book. Pictured: JK Rowling in March 2022

An army of guards, satellite tracking systems and legal contracts were all deployed to protect the 10 million first copies of the last Harry Potter book. Pictured: JK Rowling in March 2022

The books were on sealed pallets fitted with alarms to prevent tampering. Print factory workers were threatened with the sack if they leaked any details, while German publishers banned mobile phones and even packed lunches in the printing plant. 

Some employees reportedly had to work in near-darkness to prevent them reading the book. Amazon cordoned off special sections of its warehouse to ensure restricted access. 

With the Harry Potter series, security was tightened with each volume. With book five, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, forklift driver Donald Parfitt, from Suffolk, was ordered to do 180 hours community service after he admitted stealing pages from the printing plant where he worked. 

Then with book six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Aaron Lambert was jailed for four and a half years for stealing copies and trying to sell them. 

With Prince Harry’s book, Buckingham Palace has not been given advance sight of the manuscript. 

Courtiers expect to maintain a dignified silence even after it is published, unless the book contains any allegations that cannot go unchallenged.

Informed sources expect a ‘tired re-hash of gripes’ from King Charles’s youngest son.

One said: ‘At the moment it seems the same well-worn and rather tired re-hash of gripes about the institution and the way it works. I’m not sure he is doing himself any favours. 

‘The mundane truth is that the palace truly did bend over backwards to help Harry and Meghan. Unfortunately it was never enough for them. They wanted it their way or not at all. Which is why many are of the conclusion that they intended to leave or try and develop this impossibly hybrid, half-in half-out role from the very start.’ 

In a publicity blitz to promote his book, Harry has given interviews to ITV News presenter Tom Bradby, which will be screened on Sunday evening, and US anchor Anderson Cooper for CBS News’s 60 Minutes show the same night. 

Trailers for both programmes suggest the 38-year-old prince will complain the Royal Family is refusing to ‘reconcile’ with him and Meghan. 

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