Prince Harry said he held back stories about his brother, Prince William, in his new memoir Spare because he didn’t want them “out there”. What he did share surely embarrassed the heir to the British throne. And exposed William, their father, and other members of the royal family as cunning, manipulative twits.
Spare is an intimate and detailed portrait of royal life. I’m neutral on the monarchy. But I’m fascinated by what it’s like to be on the inside. Spare is peppered with historical details I never knew about his ancestors like Queen Victoria and others.
Harry paints a portrait of knowing full well that he’s beloved and loathed for all the same reasons. He tells of how his father broke the news that his mother was dead, and how he didn’t believe it for the longest time. He explains his famous mistakes, from doing drugs to his bare butt in Vegas to a terrible choice of Halloween costume – a Nazi uniform that he claims William and his wife Kate encouraged him to wear. And he talks about how he finally found purpose and was finally treated like he was “normal” in the army.
More Than Money, Honey
From the outside, royals appear to have it all. Wealth, fame, freedom. But Harry says that’s mostly an illusion. It’s his father King Charles’s duty to provide for his offspring but they had to apply for funding. Want to buy a couch? Talk to your Dad’s staff who submit the request. No guarantee it will be approved or even submitted. Getting married and you and your bride plan to do good works on behalf of the royal family? Dad says, “there’s not enough money to go around”. Meaning, I will no longer support you if you marry this woman. Because there IS plenty of money and both Harry and the King know it.
I see what people write about Harry. They say he’s whining and complaining about a life of privilege. But mental illness doesn’t care how much money a person has. People think money takes all of your worries away. In reality, it only takes one worry away. If any one of us was chased and taunted every day by photographers, had death threats against the person they love, I don’t think we would handle it well.
The full-on, blatant racism Meghan endured at the hands of the British press was horrifying. They didn’t even try to hide it. A mixed-race, American actress, the papers all zeroed in on her black mother. Harry begged the family to take a stand and release a statement condemning the awful stories but they refused. The palace’s motto is, “never complain, never explain”. In royal hierarchy, hired press secretaries have more power than a prince.
Harry details the times his father’s wife, Camilla, planted stories to make herself look better by making Harry or William look worse. And for all of her grace and poise, Kate has a riding crop up her butt when it comes to being a royal-by-marriage. Meghan’s friendliness and perfectly ordinary attempts to bond as sisters-in-law failed dismally. The bottom line: Kate felt Meghan didn’t know her place.
Save Your Pity
Don’t mistake Spare for an “oh poor me” book. It’s not. It’s his explanation for leaving England for California amid death threats and constant media stalking that threatened his family’s mental health and physical safety. Harry’s return home for his Granny’s funeral and snubs by his sibling and Dad, show just how much royal protocol matters to them over family love. Make no mistake: Harry is the normal one.
This book is his chance to set the record straight and expose the blatant lies printed about him over the years. One by one, he takes them down. He never boasted about how many men he killed Afghanistan. Harry learned to fly an Apache helicopter, an elite, difficult accomplishment. Besides flying there are weapons to master. And he went into it enthusiastically with an absolute willingness to risk his life. Now, with the Invictus Games for wounded vets and other endeavors, it’s his mission to reduce veteran suicide rates.
As for the “heir” and the “spare” that the media have made so much out of. Harry says it was just a fact. He always knew he wasn’t the chosen one, but the one who would step in if something happened to William. Before William and Kate had kids, that is. Now Harry is fifth in line for the throne. He may as well be fiftieth, not that it’s anything he’d want. Harry and Meghan and their two children are happy now in California with round-the-clock security they pay for themselves and control of their own lives.