Prince Harry’s New Memoir ‘Spare’ Isn’t About His Family Drama, It’s About Something Else Entirely: Opinion

Cover to cover, I read Spare. I poured over every detail fully expecting to see the “ah ha” moment that confirmed all the rumors; that it was Prince Harry‘s relationship with Meghan that made everything fall apart.

But what I learned was the exact opposite. Harry’s relationship with Meghan wasn’t the cause of his broken relationship with his father and his brother, Harry’s relationship with them was fracturing way before that. His relationship with Meghan just gave him the strength to realize that.

Prince Harry’s New Memoir ‘Spare’ Isn’t About His Family Drama, It’s About Something Else Entirely: Opinion

Prince Harry's New Memoir 'Spare' Isn't About His Family Drama, It's About Something Else Entirely: Opinion | Cover to cover, I read it. I poured over every detail fully expecting to see the “ah ha” moment that confirmed all the rumors; that it was his relationship with Meghan that made everything fall apart.

The “ah ha” moment comes when you realize this book isn’t about his family, it’s about the press and the damage it has caused. Let me explain.

Spare isn’t about Harry’s attempt to dismantle the monarchy, it’s about his longstanding feeling that he’s never had a role or a place in the royal family, despite desperately wanting to fit in. And it’s about the press doing its best to make the divide as big as possible. 

It’s a feeling so many of us can relate to, the sense, the need to belong no matter how much we tell ourselves it doesn’t matter. 

The “spare to the heir” isn’t something Harry called himself, it’s the “shorthand” his entire family and the rest of the world used to describe him. And although Harry says it’s something he’s come to terms with, his writing says otherwise. 

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And while Harry felt glimpses of belonging following the death of his “mummy,” Princess Diana, perhaps the only time Harry felt like he did belong was when he was able to spend moments with her. With her passing in 1997, a 12-year-old Harry longed to feel loved and accepted. 

Prince Harry and Prince William Get Into A Heated Argument At Prince Philip's Funeral3

As Harry explained early in his memoir, he convinced himself that his mother wasn’t really dead. That she faked her death in order to get away from it all. After all, as Harry pointed out, Diana always said she wished she could “disappear.”

Harry admitted that losing his mom stunted his emotional growth. For years he was unable to feel or truly grieve the massive loss. He would turn to sports and roughhousing to feel physical pain just so that he could feel something. 

And while William moved on differently than Harry, often leaving Harry behind to figure it out himself, Harry admits that even when Willy tried to broach the topic of their mom years later, Harry would change the subject.

“Being so obtuse, so emotionally unavailable, wasn’t a choice I made. I simply wasn’t capable. I wasn’t close to ready.”

He opened up about the first time he saw the photos of his mother’s crash, 8 years later. It was the moment he realized that not only did the chase with the paparazzi cause the crash but that they then attempted to capitalize on the tragedy by taking photos of all the victims inside the mangled Mercedes.

“I hadn’t known. I hadn’t dreamed. I’d been told the paps chased Mummy, that they’d hunted her like a pack of wild dogs, but I’d never dared to imagine that, like wild dogs, they’d also feasted on her defenseless body. I hadn’t been aware, before this moment that the last thing Mummy saw on this was a flashbulb,” Harry wrote.

And it wasn’t until 11 years after her death that a then 23-year-old Harry got the closure he needed when he was visiting Paris for the first time and demanded his driver drive through the exact tunnel his mother died in — twice. And then a third time with his brother next to him.

Princess Diana Would Sing This 80s Song In The Car With Sons William And Harry To Ease Back-To-School Anxieties
Image via Shutterstock

“I told myself that I wanted closure, but I didn’t really,” Harry wrote. “I got the closure I was pretending to seek. I got it in spades. And now I’d never be able to get rid of it.”

Harry became familiar with death very early on in his life. It’s not new news that he was forced to walk behind his mother’s casket at the age of 12, then his great-grandmother’s casket just four years later. 

But what may not be well known to the general public is that Harry also lost his childhood best friend, whom he lovingly called Henners, at the age of 17. Before he was even an adult, Harry was all too familiar with what it felt like to lose a loved one forever. For the most part, the first part of his memoir discusses how death became the center of his life.

But to me, Spare is a memoir written by a man who was once a boy that was bullied by fake tabloid headlines and forced to remain silent. Spare is the statement he wanted to make all those years ago when he was told he couldn’t. 

It’s no surprise his family is upset by his openness, especially a family that lives by the motto “don’t complain, don’t explain.”

And that’s not to say the memoir isn’t without its shocking revelations; how Prince Harry lost his virginity (to an older woman in an alleyway behind a bar), his frostbitten nether region, how he dabbled with cocaine and was dependent on weed early in life, his experimentation with shrooms while a guest at Courtney Cox’s house.

Prince Harry

But it was more about how Prince Harry didn’t want to be Prince Harry. He wanted to be anyone else but the spare. 

From a young age, Harry had always been told he was second best. Sure, you could form the opinion that this book is one big sob story, but think of it this way; imagine trying to make your way through your formative years with the world constantly nitpicking at you and tearing you down. 

Now endure all of that without your mother or your best friend by your side. That’s bound to leave anyone with psychological warfare, prince or not. 

It also became painfully obvious that Harry had lost not just one but two people he loved to the fishbowl we had grown accustomed to. His mom and this first real girlfriend, Chelsy, and then a few more girlfriends before Meghan.

It was clear Harry had seen it all when it came to the media and the paparazzi. He wasn’t going to make the same mistake again with Meghan, who he described as the only woman he ever really loved.

Another thing that was made clear is the only person he could ever really trust was Meghan. Thanks to the royal comms teams, he couldn’t even really trust his father or his brother.

Prince Harry Admits He Talks To A Coach To Help With His 'Mental Fitness'
Image via Shutterstock

And while the divide between Harry and William may be more apparent now than ever, it was always there. What brother doesn’t tell their younger sibling that he’s getting engaged and getting married? Harry wasn’t even Will’s best man and vice versa.

This book starts off with a conversation he had with his father and brother while standing in the middle of the royal moor following Prince Phillip’s funeral. Harry was talking with them about why he and Meghan retreated to America and Williams and Charles claimed they still had no idea why they left. This memoir was his answer to their question.

We learn about his life from the moment he was told his mom had died. We learn about how that ultimately affected his behavior, why he was labeled the stupid prince, the moment he met Kate, his ultimate decision to enlist in the British Army, and how it became the first place he ever felt like he truly belonged.

And despite his anger, his decision to share private texts shared between Kate and Meghan, despite the detail in which he described fights and arguments between himself, William, Kate, and Meghan, despite the notion that his book was airing out the Royal family’s dirty laundry, in my opinion, this memoir is one giant love letter to his family.

In my opinion, this is Harry’s way of saying I love you, will you love me too? Will you love me and the family I created for who we are, despite everything we have already been through?

Some have argued that the royal family has always put their country before their well-being and Harry is asking them to change hundreds of years of history. But again, I think people are missing the point.

FINALLY! A Photo of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Youngest, Lilibet...and OMG, Archie's Hair!

Harry has given everything to his country, and I believe he and Meghan would continue to do that. Instead, Harry is asking his family to put him before the press; to put the inner workings of the royal family before the royal ROTA.

“The point was, love took a back seat to law,” Harry wrote in the third section of his memoir. “Indeed, law had trumped love on more than one occasion.”

In the second part of Spare, Harry reveals how the press contributed to his time in the army, the only place he ever really felt himself and excelled. It was reported that after boot camp and being sworn in, he would be boots on the ground and shipped off to Iraq. 

It was then that he became the prime target. His picture was given to Iraqi snipers. He was the one to capture or kill.

“I’d become, in the assessment of Dannatt and others, a ‘bullet magnet.’ And the reason, he said, was the press. In his public statement canceling my deployment, he blasted journalists for their overwrought coverage, their wild speculations, which has ‘exacerbated’ the threat level,” Harry wrote.

And time and time again, the point of his memoir was clear. Harry’s goal wasn’t to destroy his family or dismantle the monarchy, it was to point a finger at who is really to blame; the British press.

Buckingham Palace Addresses Prince Harry's Memoir Announcement
Image via Instagram

The press had ruined so much in his life. He blames the press for his mother’s death, it came between his deployment to Iraq, it put a strain on his relationship with Camilla, who had reportedly hired a spin doctor to help leak some of those stories we’ve all read today, it led people to believe he was a drug addict, and eventually, it came between him and his family, fracturing them.

This memoir was Harry’s way of responding to every false narrative. It shared his truths above anything else. 

No Meghan didn’t ruin cousin Eugene and Jack’s wedding with her pregnancy announcement, no Meghan didn’t personally make Princess Charlotte cry during a fitting, and no Meghan did make Kate cry. 

As a member of the media, I know I’m not free of guilt. I’ve contributed to the clickbait at one point or another, and I’ve fallen victim to the “sources.” 

But Harry has a point, the amount of time we put into people, who are just being humans, makes you cock your head a bit. The interest, I get it, but how did we get to this place? How do we change it?

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