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A royal historian has warned that Prince Harry's upcoming memoir could be a point of no return for relations between the estranged son and the family.

Andrew Lownie, an author and publisher specialising in the history of the British monarchy, believes Harry’s deal with Penguin Books might prompt senior members to "shut out" the prince.

His wish to share in-depth details of his experience of royal life may come at the cost of any future reconciliation.

Mr Lownie compared Harry's exploits and his autobiographical aspirations to those of Prince Edward, who released A King's Story: The Memoirs of HRH the Duke of Windsor in 1951 after abdicating the throne for his marriage to American divorcee Wallis Simpson fifteen years earlier.

He told “The lesson was that if you leave the Royal Family you are going to be completely shut out and frozen and it’s not a good move.

“There are people who have stepped down from royal duties. We’ve some more minor figures like the Duchess of Kent and people like that.

“But I think the lesson is that once you’re out, you’re out and you can’t do anything, you will not be part of the family again.

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“They are pretty ruthless like that, and I think that’s a lesson for Harry, that he can’t be half in and half out."

Andrew Lownie is promoting his new book Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, which explores the heated issues that brought an end to Edward VIII's short reign.

He went on: “Frankly, the more he goes on like this, he’s not going to win against institutional monarchy."

“They’ve left the doors open for them, but I think as time goes on it becomes more difficult as things are said.”

It's been a year like no other for the Queen, from the loss of her husband to heartache over Prince Harry. But Her Majesty has also had a lot of cause for celebration, including the birth of baby Lilibet.

To mark what a year the Queen has had, OK! Magazine is bringing you a limited edition collector's issue. Get your hands on it here.

  • Prince Harry
  • Royal Family

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