This A-List Actor Played a Key Role in Harry's Book Deal, Say Sources
"It would not surprise me in the least that [he] would offer to help Harry," one insider said.
From their sprawling mansion in the star-studded enclave of Montecito, California (where their neighbors include Oprah Winfrey and Orlando Bloom) to their multi-million-dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have secured most of the trappings of American celebrity—and now comes the requisite memoir. News recently broke that Harry's $20-million deal with Penguin Random House was not for one blockbuster book as originally thought, but four tomes from the Sussexes, including one to be published only after Queen Elizabeth's death and a wellness book from Meghan. The first book, a memoir from Harry, is due out next year. Most assuredly, the Sussexes will want top literary talents for these projects and Harry may have already turned to one of the biggest celebrities in the world for a key introduction.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have accrued a long list of Hollywood hotshots as friends over the years, but there's one star who may have played a critical part in connecting the duke with the Pulitzer Prize-winning ghostwriter who is sure to craft Harry's life story into an instant best-seller. Read on to find out who that A-lister is and his surprising, long-standing connection to the Royal Family.
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George Clooney may have connected Prince Harry to his ghostwriter.
George Clooney recently wrapped filming on The Tender Bar, a movie he's directing and producing based on J.R. Moehringer's 2005 coming-of-age memoir about growing up on Long Island and searching for his father. According to The Independent, it is believed Clooney may have introduced Harry to Moehringer, who's the ghostwriter on the prince's upcoming memoir.
"The Clooneys are very sought after guests in London," one royal source told Best Life. "They are extremely well connected and well liked. It would not surprise me in the least that George would offer to help Harry find the right writer for his book and make an introduction."
Moehringer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who started his career at The New York Times, has a successful track record for turning bold-faced names' stories into best-selling books.
It was Moehringer's own memoir that prompted tennis champion Andre Agassi to tap him as a ghostwriter for his 2009 memoir Open: An Autobiography, which chronicled his struggles with substance abuse and his difficult relationship with his father. In 2012, Moehringer worked with Nike co-founder Phil Knight on his book Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike. Moehringer also penned a novel called Sutton, based on the life of bank robber Willie Sutton the same year.
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Clooney's connection to the Royal Family goes back to Princess Diana.
In 1997, three days after Princess Diana tragically died in a car crash in Paris, Clooney called a press conference in Los Angeles to deliver a stunning speech condemning the paparazzi and tabloids for their role in the princess's death. At the time, Clooney was on the brink of superstardom thanks to his role as Dr. Doug Ross on the popular medical drama ER. The actor had never even met Diana, but felt a kinship to her because he, too, had been hounded by the paparazzi and been subjected to high speed chases.
"This is not about me," Clooney, clearly furious, began. "But as I sit in front of my TV listening to tabloid journalists and editors dodging their own responsibility and placing the blame on a drunken driver or society or Princess Di, I now feel that the only fair thing I can do is stand up and make one clear, concise statement." He paused and then said, "Princess Di is dead. And who should we see about that? The driver of the car? The paparazzi? Or the magazines and papers that purchase these pictures and make bounty hunters out of photographers?"
George and Amal Clooney attended Harry and Meghan's wedding more than 20 years later.
Years later, George and his wife, high-powered international human rights attorney Amal Clooney, were among the celebrities invited to Harry and Meghan's wedding at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Interestingly, when he was asked about his connection to the couple, George told guests he and Amal did not know them.
Nonetheless, they scored great seats in the chapel and found themselves surrounded by relatives of the Royal Family during the ceremony. Afterwards, George appeared on the breakfast show Good Morning Britain, where he talked about the wedding and described Meghan (via the Daily Record) as "kind, smart, and intelligent" and said the Sussexes were a "wonderful, loving couple."
The Clooneys and Sussexes seemed to become fast friends.
The Clooneys reciprocated the invitation after the wedding by reportedly hosting Harry and Meghan at the their 25-room villa in Italy overlooking Lake Como in Aug. 2018. ABC News reported the couples took a private cruise on the lake and enjoyed sitting around the Clooneys' pool. A well-known lover of motorcycles, George reportedly also showed Harry his collection of bikes.
A few months later, Amal was among the small circle of friends who attended Meghan's baby shower in New York in Feb. 2019. According to People, a source said: "Amal has been helping Meghan settle into London life. It was a very natural friendship from day one."
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George drew a comparison between the media's treatment of Diana and that of Meghan.
Around the same time, in Feb. 2019 while promoting Catch-22, a Hulu miniseries he directed, George spoke to Australian magazine Who about the way Meghan was being hounded by the tabloids, comparing it to the treatment Diana had been subjected to that he had condemned more than two decades earlier. "They're just chasing Meghan Markle everywhere. She's been pursued and vilified," George said. "She's a woman who is seven months pregnant and she has been pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was and it's history repeating itself."
Later that year, Harry made the same comparison that George did during his infamous Oct. 2019 interview with ITV News' Tom Bradby for the documentary Harry and Meghan: An African Journey. "Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash it takes me straight back, so in that respect it's the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best," he said of his mother. Later, he added, referring more obliquely to Diana and his own wife, "Everything that she went through and what happened to her is incredibly raw every single day, and that is not being me being paranoid. That's just me not wanting a repeat of the past."
It's a concern Harry has continued to express as recently as in a 2021 episode of his Apple TV+ series The Me You Can't See, where he said (via People): "History was repeating itself. My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone that wasn't white and now look what's happened. You want to talk about history repeating itself, they're not going to stop until [Meghan] dies."
He added the the idea that he could "lose another woman in [his] life" was "incredibly triggering," and he felt his only option to save her was to leave royal life behind.
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The Clooneys have also attended events at Buckingham Palace where they've met Prince Charles.
Harry and Meghan aren't the only royals on the Clooneys' holiday card list, though. In March 2019, the couple was invited to Buckingham Palace to a dinner celebrating the Princes' Trust Group. Prince Charles presided over the dinner attended by donors, supporters, and ambassadors of Prince's Trust International, which he founded in 1976 to improve the lives of under-served young people in the U.K. George and Amal were spotted having an animated conversation with the prince that evening.
"George and the Prince of Wales share a great interest in the future of young people and passion for helping them make the best out of their lives," an insider told Best Life. "It would not seem so, but they have much in common."
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Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.