Prince Harry's Spare becomes UK's fastest-selling non-fiction book on record

Despite a number of leaks in the lead-up to its UK release, the book sold 467,183 copies in its first week

Copies of Prince Harry's new book Spare are displayed at a bookshop in London. EPA
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The Duke of Sussex's memoir has become the fastest-selling non-fiction book in the UK since records began in 1998.

Prince Harry’s headline-grabbing autobiography Spare, released on January 10, sold 467,183 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen BookData, which collects and provides information on book distribution and sales measurements.

The memoir includes claims that the Prince of Wales physically attacked Prince Harry and teased him about his panic attacks, and that King Charles III put his own interests above his son’s and was jealous of the Duchess of Sussex and the Princess of Wales.

The data released by Nielsen shows that the book has broken the previous record of 210,506 set by the first Pinch Of Nom cookbook — written by Kay Allinson — in 2019.

The Nielsen BookData does not include e-books or audiobooks and refers only to the sale of physical copies.

Spare, which was ghostwritten by JR Moehringer, is the only non-fiction book to make it into the top 10 fastest-selling books in the UK since records began.

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Since January 1998, JK Rowling has dominated the chart, with four of her Harry Potter novels sitting at the top, while Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol claims the fifth spot before Spare at number six.

To claim number one on the chart, which looks at the first week of sales only, Rowling’s Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows sold 2.63 million copies in its first week in 2007.

Despite the memoir hitting shelves in Spain before the official publication date, and a number of extracts leaking in the lead-up to the book’s UK release, Nielsen’s data suggest sales were not negatively affected.

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In a US broadcast promoting the work, Prince Harry branded the Duchess of Cornwall the “villain” and “dangerous”, accusing her of rehabilitating her image at the expense of his.

As the duke continued a run of high-profile promotional interviews, he said he “would like nothing more” than for his children to have relationships with the royal family.

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His remarks about his son and daughter came despite the criticism he has levelled at his brother Prince William, father King Charles and stepmother Camilla.

He also described his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, as his “guardian angel” and said she is with him “all the time”.

Updated: January 17, 2023, 7:47 PM