Solitary reader waits at Waterstones’ flagship London branch as Prince Harry's book goes on sale
A solitary reader waited alone outside Waterstones’ flagship Piccadilly branch in central London when it opened at 8am as copies of Prince Harry's controversial memoir went on sale.
Caroline Lennon left home at 6am and walked two miles from her home in Bethnal Green as staff piled hardback copies of the book on a display table.
She didn't need to wait long when doors opened because she was the only one there.
The 59-year-old told said: "I don’t care what anybody says. People will criticise me and say 'What an idiot for liking Harry. What an idiot for queuing up', but I don’t care what anyone says. "My personal feeling with Harry and William is they should connect. There’s no love between them, there’s no love with that family. He and William need to get their heads together and make up, for God’s sake. Life is too short."
Ms Lennon recalled queuing to buy Andrew Morton’s biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1992, saying: “It was mad. Everyone was grabbing the books. But today I am the only one!” She posed for photographers as she left the shop with her copy, saying: “I’m looking forward to listening to the audiobook straight away.”
Other royal fans had queued for midnight store openings in London, with a handful waiting outside WHSmith at Victoria station to be one of the first to buy a copy.
James Bradley, 61, from Hammersmith in west London, picked up a copy on his way in to work to read when he goes on holiday with friends on Wednesday.
'A lot of damage'
He said: "He is obviously very controversial and this book has done, I think, a lot of damage to Harry. I thought it would be a great holiday gift as everyone can discuss the book.” Mr Bradley said the royal family will not be damaged by the book’s revelations, adding: "We’ve had decades of this." "It’s fine. It’s just more of the same," he said. "They just have to shrug it off and carry on being the royal family. "After the Queen’s death, the royal family’s stock has never been higher in my lifetime and this will just bounce off. In six months’ time we won’t be talking about this. "It’s a good distraction from strikes and all the problems we’re having in this horrible winter. It’s a bit of light entertainment."
Fiona Leviny, a 61-year-old farmer from Queensland, Australia, who was visiting London on holiday, said she bought Spare to “hear Harry’s story”. “Harry and Meghan’s personal life has been put out there without their permission and I think now it is his time to tell his story. Everyone else has been writing about him, except for him,” she said. “I find it extraordinary that so much is written about Harry and Meghan, and I want to know the truth, so that’s why I bought it and why I’m going to read it. “I love the drama. I have to read it. I have to know the truth.” Mrs Leviny added that the Prince of Wales should not comment on anything within the book for the sake of the monarchy. “William is heir to the throne and I believe, whether it is old-fashioned or not, that, given we have a monarch, he has done the right thing by staying quiet,” she said.
At WHSmith in Victoria station, staff opened the doors at midnight to a swarm of reporters and customers who gathered around stacks of the book, which were sitting on a table wrapped in sealed black packaging. The first customers were handed copies as photographers captured the moment before staff started putting half-price stickers on to copies and stacking them on specially-designed shelving units near the front of the shop. Waiting outside the shop, bartender Sasha Pursell, 27, who has moved to London from Melbourne, Australia, said: "I’m just intrigued. I’ve heard so much press about the book and it’s also just a bit exciting – I’ve never been to a midnight release." Asked about the criticism surrounding the book, she said: "Yes, it can be seen as a betrayal to the royal family, but, at the same time, I feel like a lot of lies have been spewed about him. "It can go both ways. I don’t think either party is in the right or the wrong." Sarah Nakana, 46, a surveyor from Dulwich, south-east London, said she had already downloaded the audiobook as she picked up a copy, saying she wanted to try to "get ahead of the British press and their narratives".
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