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Ay, caramba! Prince Harry’s publishers are left red-faced by one of the biggest leaks in literary history as Spain breaks the ban on selling his book early

  • Autobiography appeared in bookstores in Spain five days before official release
  • Shoppers in Barcelona lined up to grab copies of the long-awaited book Spare
  • En La Sombra, translated as In The Shadow, was selling for €21.90 (£19.40)

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Prince Harry‘s publishers have been left red-faced by one of the biggest leaks in literary history.

His bombshell autobiography Spare appeared in bookstores in Spain five days before its official release by Penguin Random House.

Shoppers in Barcelona, including a Daily Mail journalist, lined up to grab copies of the long-awaited book which has been kept under wraps for months.

Before it was pulled from shelves, En La Sombra, translated as In The Shadow, was selling for €21.90 (£19.40) in the ‘recommended’ section of the Casa del Libro.

His bombshell autobiography Spare appeared in bookstores in Spain five days before its official release by Penguin Random House

His bombshell autobiography Spare appeared in bookstores in Spain five days before its official release by Penguin Random House

Shoppers in Barcelona, including a Daily Mail journalist, lined up to grab copies of the long-awaited book which has been kept under wraps for months

Shoppers in Barcelona, including a Daily Mail journalist, lined up to grab copies of the long-awaited book which has been kept under wraps for months

Tomorrow is King’s Day in Spain, the day families traditionally exchange presents, and retailers were seeing a booming trade in last-minute purchases.

A Barcelona shop assistant said last night: ‘We just received this today. It was the only new book.

‘There was no indication that we could not put it on sale until a certain date so we put it on sale today. It might be popular here in Spain.’

An independent bookstore owner in southern Spain who had copies for sale yesterday said: ‘It came with a big sign on it saying ‘Not for sale until January 10′ but who’s going to find out and I need to make money anyway.’ 

New York-based reporter Martin Pengelly also got hold of the duke’s book, laying out in detail Harry’s accusation that he was attacked by his brother William.

The excerpt, first carried by The Guardian, said the pair clashed after a blazing row over the behaviour of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, with Harry claiming the Prince of Wales branded his wife ‘difficult’ and ‘rude’.

Mr Pengelly told the BBC: ‘We carefully, obviously in reporting it, didn’t call it a fight because Harry says he didn’t fight back.’

The British-born journalist, who admitted he did not approach Kensington Palace for comment, has a knack of uncovering the juiciest details from bestsellers ahead of their publication. 

MailOnline has found copies of the bombshell book on sale in Spain this morning

MailOnline has found copies of the bombshell book on sale in Spain this morning

He landed an advance look at Michael Wolff’s Fire And Fury in 2018 that pulled back the curtain on the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Copies of Spare were shipped at the last minute this week as part of the parent publisher’s multi-million-pound strategy to stop spoilers appearing in the media.

It has been likened to the complex security operation linked to the 2007 release of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.

An army of guards, satellite-tracking systems and legal contracts were deployed to protect the first ten million copies of JK Rowling’s seventh Potter book.

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

The leak of Harry’s book echoes a September 2019 gaffe by Amazon after it sent out pre-ordered copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, the follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, to US customers a week early.

In France, print workers in a sleepy Loire backwater were forced to agree to gagging orders and threatened with the sack if they leaked any details of the French version of Spare. 

It was produced at the Brodard and Taupin factory in La Flèche, where three sources said staff had signed confidentiality agreements.

It is unclear whether similar demands were made of all the print workers worldwide helping to produce the foreign language versions.

The town relies heavily on tourism and is highly popular with British holidaymakers and retirees. Bookshops in nearby Nantes, 90 miles to the southwest, told the Mail they had not yet received any stock of Prince Harry’s memoir.

Copies of the Duke of Sussex’s book, which reaches 544 pages in French, have since been shipped out to secret warehouses across the country ahead of its worldwide publication on January 10.

‘We’ve all had to sign non-disclosure agreements,’ said one employee, who declined to be identified for fear of losing their job. Another staff member added: ‘The whole project is top secret.’

Workers said the books were kept under lock and key in a ‘safe room’, under the constant watch of security guards, before being dispatched to depots all over France. ‘Usually, they are bound by secrecy,’ fumed one senior executive when the Mail visited the site late yesterday.

‘They could be fired for that. If you write anything about this, it will put us in a difficult position,’ the source added.

The Mail understands Brodard and Taupin, which is part of Europe-wide giant CPI Print, hopes to produce future works penned by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

Harry and Meghan have reportedly signed a four-book deal, for which bidding began at £18million, with parent publisher Penguin Random House.

The Brodard and Taupin site is widely known for printing blockbusters for a French-speaking readership.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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