Prince Harry asked his friends and old flames to feature in his controversial upcoming autobiography, a source has claimed.

It was revealed this week that the Duke of Sussex’s highly anticipated book, titled Spare, will be published on January 10.

Royal experts believe he may return to the UK in order to promote the book, which is expected to be a ‘nuclear’ read and highly critical of the Royal Family, ahead of its release.

It is thought Harry reached out to former friends, and even ex-girlfriends, asking them to feature in its pages, with a source telling The Sun that the Prince asked his friends to speak to his ghost writer, JR Moehringer.

However, it reports, most of them were ‘stunned’ by the request – and politely declined.

‘Harry did reach out. Friends and girlfriends were polite and said they would think about it but ultimately most said No,’ the unnamed source said.

‘It was felt to be kind of ironic that Harry would hit the roof if he ever had an inkling they spoke to the media, but now he wants them to when he needs their help,’ they added.

The Duke of Sussex, who tied the knot with Meghan Markle in 2018, had two high profile relationships before he met his current wife.

Cressida Bonas, whom he dated for two years until 2014, and his first public girlfriend Chelsy Davy, whom he dated from 2004 to 2010, have steered clear from ever speaking to the press about what dating the royal was like in the years since their respective break-ups.

It is not known if they were approached about the book.

Chelsy however admitted to The Times in 2016 that she had struggled with the media attention surrounding her relationship.

She said: ‘Yes it was tough. It was so full-on: crazy scary and uncomfortable.

‘I found it very difficult when it was bad. I couldn’t cope. I was young, I was trying to be a normal kid and it was horrible,’ she added.

Senior royals are said to be bracing themselves’ for the publication of the 416-page title on January 10. Biographer Tom Bower has warned the memoir’s reception will be a make-or-break moment for the Sussexes.

‘Put it this way, it’s not going to make for a relaxing family Christmas,’ a source told the Mail on Sunday.

It has now been claimed that Prince Harry had to submit his book more than once before it was accepted by publishers, sparking fears that it was ‘sexed up’ with revelations about the Royal Family.

A source told The Sun: ‘The book has been back and forth between Harry and [ghost writer] JR Moehringer and the publishers a few times. They wanted more than was in the first draft, and then Harry wanted to refine things after the Queen passed away.

‘But there has been extra to-ing and fro-ing that people don’t know about. This is because the publishers wanted more areas covered and more detail on some things that were already included.

‘There is a real concern that that means Harry has had to sex up the book and include revelations that even he might not even be that comfortable with.’

It is now reportedly feared that Harry will expand upon a claim made to Oprah Winfrey that a family member questioned what the skin colour of his and Meghan’s son Archie would be.

Publishers Penguin Random House say the book is written with ‘raw unflinching honesty’ and is expected to contain explosive new material addressing Harry’s childhood and his rift with ‘The Firm’ after meeting Meghan.

A source added: ‘The book is much worse than people think.’

Bower told The Sun: ‘This book is really make or break. I imagine that King Charles has been warned that any retaliation won’t be pretty.

‘All that King Charles can really do is to withhold the titles for his grandchildren Archie and Lilibet. Ultimately, I suppose, he could take away Harry and Meghan’s titles as well, but that’s pretty drastic.

‘I don’t know what else he can do. If it is as bad as I think it is, then Harry and Meghan have gone fully rogue.’

He added that the best thing the royal family could do in this scenario would be to ‘break ties’ with the pair.

The title is presumed to refer to Harry being the ‘spare’ to Prince William’s ‘heir’ but has been translated to sound more ominous in other languages.

In Spain it will be called In The Shadow, in Sweden The Other, and in Denmark, The Reservist.

Harry will narrate the audio version himself, but voice artist Emily Woo Zeller warned: ‘To take words off a page and make them sound like dialogue is a skill. I don’t know if Harry has that skill.’

Another source close to Prince Harry told the Telegraph last night that the Duke of Sussex wrote his controversial memoir for himself, rather than being a ‘takedown of his family’.

It was described by those familiar with the manuscript as a ‘beautiful read’, that readers from all walks of life will identify with.

The experience of addressing his past struggles is said to have been cathartic for Prince Harry.

The source said: ‘You can’t always live your life trying to make your family or your siblings happy.

‘You have to choose your own happiness.’

It comes after it was reported on Friday night that Prince Harry will not return to the UK to spend the first Christmas since Queen Elizabeth II died with his family amid the controversy.

Sources close to the couple told The Mirror relations between Harry and wife Meghan and the rest of the royal family are ‘near rock bottom’ and they could decline an invitation to spend the festive period with Harry’s family.

It had been hoped that relations would thaw somewhat after the Queen’s death, but sources told The Mirror that the couple have ‘no plans’ to travel to the UK for Christmas.

The rest of the royal family were reportedly surprised at the memoir’s title.

Another source told The Mirror the book could spell ‘the end’ for any reconciliation efforts between the Sussexes and the royals: ‘This book could spell the end for any relationship Harry wants to have with his family, it’s desperately sad.’

An initial release date had been pencilled in for ‘late 2022’ to capitalise on the lucrative Christmas market, but the book will not be on the shelves until January 10 – said to be as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, and, it is rumoured, due to last-minute alterations requested by the duke.

A spokesman for the King declined to comment on the book. But it is understood that the Royal Household has already been warned that the 416-page, £28 book is ‘critical of everyone and everything’ and they are ‘dreading’ it.

The memoir has already topped Amazon charts in the UK and US, as well as reaching the second spot in Canada, despite publication still being several months away.

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