Four Takeaways From Prince Harry’s Memoir

From a Wall Street Journal story by Max Colchester headlined “Four Key Takeaways From Prince Harry’s Memoir ‘Spare'”:

Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare” is expected to be a bestseller given its role as a rare window into the private lives of the world’s most famous royal family.

Here are four takeaways from the memoir.

​U.K. media a big reason Prince Harry quit royal family, U.K.

Prince Harry really doesn’t like the paparazzi and repeatedly details their intrusions into his private life. He cites the media as a major reason for his decision to quit the U.K. and royal life. The book also focuses on the family dynamic in the House of Windsor, where he alleges that his stepmother, Camilla, the queen consort, leaked stories about him to better improve her image. He accuses his father of similar tactics, including when the tabloid press ran stories about the young prince’s drug use. “No more the unfaithful husband, Pa would now be presented to the world as the harried single dad coping with a drug-addled child,” he wrote. Prince Harry repeatedly details how he asked his father, King Charles, to fight back against negative and inaccurate press coverage but says the palace did nothing. Prince Harry also outlines how, after his mother died in a car crash being chased by paparazzi, he became addicted to reading all that was written about him.

​Brothers urged Charles not to marry Camilla

Prince Harry says that he and his brother, Prince William, urged their father not to marry Camilla. Charles and Camilla married in 2005. “Despite Willy and me urging him not to, Pa was going ahead. We pumped his hand, wished him well. No hard feelings,” he wrote. He later clarified in a TV interview that, despite his criticisms, he doesn’t view her as a “wicked stepmother.”

Heir and spare’s fraught relationship

Prince Harry’s relationship with his older brother, Prince William, was fraught. A theme throughout the book is how the heir and the spare became increasingly estranged. Prince Harry paints his brother as hotheaded and vindictive. He alleges that his brother was jealous when Prince Harry got to wear a beard for his wedding in 2018 because Prince William was barred from wearing one. Prince William also warned him that marrying Meghan Markle would be complicated. Later, relations deteriorated to the point where he alleges Prince William pushed him over during an argument where Prince William alleged that Ms. Markle had alienated staff and proved difficult. They also argued after the funeral of their grandfather, Prince Philip.

​British army and Afghanistan

The prince extensively details his time in the British army. He completed two tours in Afghanistan, one spanning 2007 to 2008 and the other 2012 to 2013. In the book, he claims to have killed 25 Taliban. “So my number: twenty-five. It was not something that filled me with satisfaction, but I was not ashamed either. Naturally, I would have preferred not to have that figure on my military resume, or in my head, but I would also have preferred to live in a world without the Taliban, a world without war,” he wrote.

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