Why Prince Harry, Michelle Obama's Upcoming Books Won't Compete

Prince Harry and former First Lady Michelle Obama are both slated to release highly anticipated books at the end of 2022, with both global figures drawing on inspiration and wisdom from their own lives.

Despite reports that simultaneous releases could see the pair in direct competition with each other, it is likely that the two projects' differences will prevent this from being the case.

Prince Harry and Michelle Obama Book Releases
Both Harry and Michelle Obama are due to release highly anticipated books before the end of the year with both authors signed by the same publisher. Photographed at the Invictus Games, May 7, 2016. Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus

Harry's Memoir

Ever since the July 2021 announcement that Harry had signed a publishing deal with Penguin Random House and would produce a memoir, there has been mass speculation as to what form the book will take, what its content will reveal and—more importantly—just how embarrassing it will be for the royal family since he stepped down as a working royal in 2020.

The memoir will be Harry's first literary project and he is reported to be collaborating with ghostwriter J.R. Moehringer.

A press release when the memoir was announced said that: "In an intimate and heartfelt memoir from one of the most fascinating and influential global figures of our time, Prince Harry will share, for the very first time, the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him."

Harry himself said, as part of the announcement, that he was "writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."

Though the publishers stated that Harry's memoir is slated for a late 2022 release, no official date has been released with reports speculating that the project will hit shelves in time for the holiday season.

This would mean that it would join Obama's book project which has been titled The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, and will be released globally on November 15 in time for Thanksgiving.

Prince Harry To Write Memoir
Prince Harry announced his memoir in July 2021 after stepping down from his role as a working member of the British royal family. Photographed with wife, Meghan Markle in South Africa, October 2, 2019. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Michelle Obama 'The Light We Carry'

Obama's book, also being published by Penguin Random House, is not billed as a follow-up to her blockbuster number 1 bestselling Becoming which reportedly sold over 14 million copies worldwide. Instead the book will guide readers through a collection of stories which highlight the journey the former first lady has been on throughout her life. This is a key differentiation between Obama and Harry's projects, with the prince's billed as a straight memoir.

On the announcement of her book, Obama posted to Instagram saying: "Like so many of you, I've spent a lot of time these past few years thinking about how to keep myself centered in a world filled with so much uncertainty. That process of reflection actually led me to start writing again..."

"This book is a collection of stories and practices that have helped me sort through all the challenges and questions that keep us up at night," she continued.

"How do I know I'm good enough? How do I bring my whole self to the table? How can I overcome my fears?"

Obama and Harry have formed a friendship over many years, having worked together to promote the Invictus Games when it was held in Orlando in 2016.

Meghan Markle too formed a connection with Obama since her marriage to Harry in 2018 with the former first lady describing the duchess as a "friend" and "inspiration."

Royal Competition?

To many royal commentators the Obamas seem to operate within a framework that Harry and Meghan sought to emulate when they stepped down as working royals in 2020, with the prince following suit with a memoir the latest step to achieving this.

Ian Lloyd, author of The Queen: 70 Chapters in the Life of Elizabeth II, highlighted that though this may show Harry's wish to replicate the Obamas' recipe for success, their upcoming books will cater to different audiences.

"Harry and Meghan would very much like to emulate the Obamas as global influencers and goodwill ambassadors," he told Newsweek.

"While Michelle's book will win hands down in terms of its message and its practical impact on people's lives, Harry's has the potential to grab more headlines, particularly in the U.K., depending on what he reveals about Diana, Charles, Camilla and William."

This opinion was shared by prominent royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams who told Newsweek that Obama's book will feature "stories with uplifting messages for our turbulent and unpredictable world and contains insights and tips to enrich the lives of the readers.

"This is also the intention of Harry's memoir, which aims to impart the benefits of the lessons he has learnt during the highs and lows of his life which he believes is an uplifting story.

"Both Michelle Obama and Prince Harry do philanthropic work," he continued, "her book will reveal some of her habits and practices and will also deal with important contemporary issues of gender, race and visibility.

"Harry's memoir will undoubtedly shed light on his charitable work, his relationship with Meghan and happiness at being a father as well as the inspiration he received from Diana."

Michelle Obama "The Light We Carry"
Michelle Obama's second book titled "The Light We Carry" (L) is scheduled for release ahead of thanksgiving on November 15. Prince Harry (R) has not yet had a publication date for his upcoming memoir announced. Photographed with Meghan Markle October 26, 2018. Penguin Random House/Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Potential Royal Crisis

Just how much Harry will reveal about the royal family is being eagerly anticipated by both the media and public in Britain with some comparing the potential revelations to those given in the Sussexes' 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

"It would be unwise and unlikely of him to write anything damaging about the queen at this time in her life," Lloyd told Newsweek, "but it could cause a potential rift with his father and brother if he is critical about them and, of course, their wives.

"Given the prince's open warfare with the British press I know there'll be quite a few royal reporters in the U.K. rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of tearing into this particular set of memoirs."

Fitzwilliams too shared this concern, saying: "Harry's memoir follows the Sussexes' interview on Oprah last year and its contents may be highly damaging to the monarchy, especially as the Sussexes' rift with the royal family has not been healed.

"The choice of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee year is undoubtedly linked to commercial considerations and the Palace will be concerned about any sensational aspects to his story which he chooses to reveal."

Prince Harry and The Royal Family
How much Prince Harry will reveal about his upbringing and individual members of the royal family is being widely debated among royal commentators. The royal family photographed July 10, 2018. Chris Jackson/Getty Images
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