A reading list for Prince Harry

Dear Harry,

So, you’re escaping the gilded cage to live your best life – away from the flash bulbs and handshaking, the ribbon-cutting and constant tabloid scrutiny. 

Yes, you’ll still technically be a prince; just a prince who puts the bins out, a plain old Harry Windsor. We wish you good luck.

As anyone who’s tried it knows, settling into a new country and building a new life can be tricky.  So we’ve compiled a selection of books to help you on your journey.

Here’s to living happily ever after.  

The Squiggly Career by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis (2020)

Impeccable English? Check. Very good at waving? Check. Clean helicopter driver’s license? Check. Thirty-five years’ experience as a member of a royal family is one helluva transferable skill set.

The offers flooding in stand as testament to that. BudweiserThe Daily Show with Trevor Noah, even Surrey Police have made public approaches to date. But we all know never to take the first offer. It’s a jungle out there, so bide your time, dip some toes in some waters, and follow Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis’ advice.

The joint authors of The Squiggly Career, the accompaniment to their wildly-popular podcast of the same name, say you need fluid aspirations to survive the modern workplace.

In other words: the ladder is for losers. Winners design their own careers from the bottom up. Follow their simple steps and you’ll surely become the most headhunted prince in history.

Money Lessons by Lisa Conway Hughes (2019)

I, for one, can’t wait for the day you officially become an Instagram influencer. But in the meantime, you’ll need something to tide you over, but please don’t rush into taking up Burger King’s offer of a part-time role flipping Whoppers.

Money Lessons by Lisa Conway-Hughes is your own pocket financial expert – the first step you need to becoming, as you put it, ‘financially independent’. How do you ask for a pay rise? How do you save for a house? And what about squirreling away for retirement? These are all things you’ll need to know, and Conway is a money-saving savant who will help you turn your life upside down, and shake it by the ankles until the coins tumble out.

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler (1982)

Doomed marriages, brothers at war, unfaithful spouses, a family at loggerheads – no, Anne Tyler’s Pulitzer-nominated masterpiece has nothing to do with the Royal Family. But it is about a family who, despite their best efforts, just can’t see eye to eye.

Abandoned by her husband, Pearl Tull is forced to bring up three children with conflicting personalities alone. They grow up troubled and homesick for a happy, ‘normal’ life, one they know they’ve missed out on but can’t put into words.

A door-slamming family psychodrama, however, this is not. It’s much subtler, more delicately poised than that. Tyler brilliantly exposes the complexities (and frailties) of a family dynamic, that will resonate with anyone from a large household (royal, or otherwise). 

Jamie’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver (2011)

If your new ‘flexi-royal’ plan is to work then, from what one understands, you’ll be splitting your time between Britain and Canada. Often, the adjustment to a new life can be testing, leaving you prone to that most pernicious of all travel bugs: homesickness.

But nothing cures a deep yearning for one’s motherland like food. And who better to take with you on your travels than the prince of the British table himself?

Oliver's 2011 cookbook, Jamie’s Great Britain, is as close to a bible of British grub as you can hope to find. It contains recipes for bangers and mash, toad in the hole, Scotch eggs and myriad other gastronomic curiosities once prepared for you by the staff at Sandringham.

Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown (2017)

‘True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.’ Those are the words of Brené Brown, social scientist, meaning-of-life guru and author of Braving the Wilderness, a guide to ‘the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone’.

Essentially, she says, society has hardwired us to conform, to do what we must to 'fit in', even if it is at odds with our values and our personality. Harry, you’ve spent your life waving and smiling in the face of expectation; it’s time to brave the wilderness, which is Brown’s analogy for a different path.  And don't worry, we'll be fine without you: imagining royal personalities is what Netflix and The Crown is for. 

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