I Read Prince Harry’s Memoir So You Don’t Have To

I Read Prince Harrys Memoir So You Dont Have To

Katie Wiklund, Staff Writer

After spending the last couple of weeks reading Spare by Prince Harry, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it was growing up as a member of the Royal family. While I had initially low expectations, I can confidently say now that I enjoyed the book and found it to be an entertaining read. I had very limited prior knowledge on Prince Harry and the Royal family before reading, so this was an extremely eye-opening read. With all that being said however, there were certainly parts of the book that I did not enjoy whatsoever, and many things he recounted I found to be questionable. He talks about the many scandals he has been in throughout his lifetime, and although he takes responsibility for his actions, it’s not without placing at least some of the blame on his family members as well. He recounts a lot of shocking actions and words from his family, and while they very well may be true, it’s hard to draw the line. Multiple times while reading I would stop and think to myself “Wow, Prince William is a pretty awful human being”, before remembering that this entire book is written exclusively from the point of view of Prince Harry. 

The book is a whopping 407 pages long, and is primarily split up into three parts: Part 1 “Out of the night that covers me”, Part 2 “Bloody, but unbowed”, and Part 3 “Captain of my soul”. There is also a prologue and an epilogue included. There are an astounding 232 chapters in total, however most of which are only about a page in length. It is a common belief that this book would be poorly written, seeing as who the author is, however, I found this extremely descriptive writing style to be enjoyable and easy to read. The book encompasses a lot of details of his life, many of which are extremely disturbing to read, and impossible to imagine experiencing. 

The book begins in 2021 with Harry planning on meeting up with current King Charles and Prince William after his grandfather’s funeral. While waiting for them to arrive he describes the beautiful scene of the Frogmore gardens, and mentions a weirdly morbid fact: when he went to war, he had to choose where he would be buried in case he died while fighting. When his father and brother eventually show up, Harry and William almost immediately get into an argument, and it is revealed that neither William nor their father understand why Harry left in the first place. It then becomes clear at the end of the prologue, that the reason for this memoir is to tell the story of why he left.

Part 1 begins with Harry recounting his admiration for Balmoral Castle, and his remembrance of everyone being there together, with the exception of his mother, Diana. He then talks about the St. Tropez Trip and all of the fun he had with William and his mother, as well as Diana’s boyfriend who they met on this trip. He doesn’t remember too much about him, but he and William agreed that they were happy as long as their mother was. He mentions that he was referred to as a kindred spirit of another royal Henry, who was exiled and came back to annihilate everyone. Seems kind of ironic given the book today’s Harry has just released. He also reflects back on being “the spare”. With William always getting the bigger and better things, and the royal family even referring to Harry as the Spare sometimes, childhood seems to have been very difficult for him. However, he and William did try their best to be like normal kids, eating children’s food, running around the halls of the castle, and eavesdropping on the conversations of the adults. He remembers the one particular night that his life changed, the night of his mother’s car crash. He recalls being so distressed and hoping that she was okay, to the point of not remembering much else.

The time period after her death was extremely difficult for him, especially with the constant harassment of the paparazzi. When the family stopped by the front gates to acknowledge the tribute left to Diana, the paparazzi would not leave them alone, especially when Harry grabbed his father’s hand for comfort. Clearly, they had no shame in relentlessly taking pictures of a distressed 12 year old boy who had just lost his mother. Being so young, he was adamant in his belief that Diana wasn’t truly dead, just in hiding. He held out hope for a long time that she would turn up one day and take him and William away with her. Diana’s funeral was an especially difficult time for both of the princes, as they had to walk behind their mothers casket on the way to her funeral, a truly awful and morbid scene, despite their uncle Charles’ protests.

After the funeral, life had to go back to normal, and so Harry celebrated his next birthday at boarding school, where he received an x-box that Diana had apparently purchased before her death. Harry talks about the matrons at the school, and in particular, Pat. He spent his time occasionally making fun of her to make both his mates, and sometimes even her laugh. He found joy in making others laugh, especially when he hadn’t been able to in months. Some key points from school he remembered were Grub Days, which contained tables full of sweets, and Letter Writing Days, where they had to write letters to their parents. It was on one of these days that he wrote his final letter to his mom, which at the time he didn’t take seriously, which he looks back on in regret now. 

Harry fondly looks back on the time he got to spend with his father, regardless of the circumstances under which it was possible. He truly wanted his father to be happy, which was part of the reason he, along with William, supported his public relationship with Camilla after their mother’s death. 

When in school, Harry reveals his dislike for British History, because it was about people he’s related to. He didn’t like the fact of him being a prince advertised in front of his classmates. He was a rebellious kid, sneaking out at night with his best friend who he called “Henners”. He got in trouble when he was caught but didn’t care, he revealed “No torture Ludgrove could dish out that surpassed what was going on inside me”.

Harry was constantly hounded by the press with rumors that he was actually the child of Major Hewitt, which he denied. However, this was a sign to him that the press would treat him as they treated his mother, awfully. 

In 1998 Harry entered Eton, which was a highly rigorous school, something Harry was not a fan of in the slightest. Additionally, William told Harry to pretend he didn’t know him, leaving Harry with essentially nobody to lean on. He was also on the outs with his housemates, something which he didn’t care too much about. He decided to become a sports person, being a “dry bob who occasionally got wet”, he particularly enjoyed Rugby. Eventually he was able to make mates of his own. Also during his time at Eton, he smoked cigarettes, and began to transition to smoking weed. He still struggled with the press, especially the time he got a bad haircut to be funny, and the press got wind of it, publishing articles like “Harry the Skinhead”. The press made his life absolutely miserable as they began to single him out more and more. Harry was given the label of “the naughty one” by them, especially because he struggled academically. He believed that education was essentially just memorization, and with memories, came grief, causing him to simply not want to remember anything. He hated the label they had put on him, and believed it set up new expectations and rumors of his behavior that were simply untrue. 

Harry smoked a lot of weed in the bathrooms at Eton with his mates. He knew it wasn’t right for him to do, but at the same time he seemingly couldn’t or didn’t want to stop. He then talks about “Club H” (A hangout for him and William), where he was very adamant to point out, there were no drugs. While hanging out in “Club H”, William often tried to talk to Harry about Diana and her death, but Harry couldn’t/didn’t want to. Marko, Prince Harry’s mentor,  was once sent to ask Harry about his drug usage because an editor was set to publish an article about him being an addict. His father didn’t defend him and instead threw him under the bus by advice of a spin doctor hired by Camilla, in order to bolster his own reputation. The article was published, it was the “public sacrifice of the spare”, William says that it’s just the royal way of life. 

After Eton, Harry knew he didn’t want to go to university, he wanted to get a job, most of his ideas were unsuitable for a prince to do. He eventually decided upon joining the army after taking a gap year, with the first half spent on a farm in Australia, and the second half spent in Lesotho. He planned to spend his time in Lesotho with his best friend from boarding school, but unfortunately “Henners” then tragically died in a car crash.

First part of his gap year was spent on an Australian farm in the outback. He wasn’t used to the extreme heat, and things were slightly awkward because the owner of the farm was a friend of Diana’s. He spent a lot of time working with cows alongside George, a son of the owners who was the same age as him. He became less British royalty, and more Australian farmer. He gained the nickname of “Spike”. The press found him in Australia, so he had to leave for the safety of the family he was staying with. However, He decides to bring George with him to Lesotho, since Henners is dead. There was lots of work to be done in Lesotho, so much to the point where he agreed to a press interview to get more exposure to the public of the state of Lesotho which was a shocking and desperate move from him. 

Harry took his entrance exam for the Army when he returned from Africa, and passed with flying colors which he was excited about. However, he faced many setbacks before his deployment, such as injuring his knee while doing a training exercise with William. Despite his disappointment about this, the press began speculating that his knee was fine, and that Harry was just a liar and a coward. 

Also included in part one, is the explanation and story of Harry’s infamous Nazi Costume. He explains his dilemma of attempting to find a costume that worked for the theme of the party he was going to. However, instead of accepting full and sole responsibility for picking the costume out and wearing it in public, he pushes some of the blame onto Kate and William, saying that they encouraged him into getting it, and thought it was hilarious. 

Finally in part one, Harry talks about army boot camp being tough, but Harry firmly believed that this was where he belonged. He was safe from the paparazzi, at least temporarily. While in the army they had to “kill the self”, which Harry was more than happy to do, he was more than willing to give up his identity. Army training was all about death, how to avoid it, but also the glory and necessity of it. On the Long Reach March, he got trench foot, but ultimately finished it regardless, which he was thankful for. Harry loved the army, he felt great, especially since he was already used to having a lack of privacy. For once “the spare outranked the heir” because Harry started earlier than William did. Harry was going to go to Southern Iraq, but he wasn’t scared despite all the recent deaths because he imagined it would be better than Britain. Someone in their inner circle began releasing things to the press, making both him and William paranoid. 

In Part 2, Harry was excited to be deployed, but the press distributed his picture to the point Harry was set to be a huge target for snipers, so he wasn’t going to be allowed to continue for both his safety and that of his men. He was devastated. Harry became tired of the constant following and harassment of the paparazzi, they would try to rile him up or get him to attack them in order to get a better photo. While on a trip to Africa, Harry was extremely stressed, drinking a ton to try and escape it, and his disappointment of not being at war with his men. When he came back to Britain, he threatened to leave the army because not being deployed was too much for him. He was offered to go to Afghanistan as an FAC, which was supposedly the safest option, to do it he needed to go through a difficult training program. He absolutely loved the training he was doing.

When the royals went to Paris, Harry had his driver go through the tunnel Diana died in at the speed she was going to see what it was like, and he began to realize that she was actually gone, and not just hiding somewhere. He talked to William after sneaking out that night, and they agreed they should call for the inquiry to be reopened, because the press didn’t get enough blame for causing the crash that killed their mother. 

Before he went to war, he had to choose where he would be buried if he didn’t make it back and he also had to update his will. When he got to Dwyer, it was extremely sandy, and he was told to focus on staying warm rather than staying clean, because that wouldn’t happen. While at war he wanted to blend in with his squaddies and not stand out for being royal. His job was unfortunately not as exciting as he hoped it would be, however he enjoyed being the “keeper of the ROZ” and communicating with the pilots, forming instant connections with them.  The job was terrifying, life vs death, but Harry loved it, felt like he finally found the thing he’d been preparing for his whole life. Very patriotic. Nicknamed Widow Six Seven, which he also loved, with no bodyguards, he felt free. However, he felt as though he was missing out not being on the front lines, begged and was finally approved to move locations. He was summoned to FOB Edinburgh, and worked closely with the Americans. It was extremely dangerous with many close calls with the Taliban. An Australian magazine leaked news that he was in Afghanistan and it spread, so he had to be pulled out for his safety. Disappointed to have to leave, but didn’t want people to die because of him, so he went willingly. 

Weird to adjust to life after coming back to England. He felt out of place. Thought about becoming a pilot in order to get back to the war. Spent a lot of time trying to find ways to help former soldiers and their families grieve or talk about what happened, worked closely with the Help for Heroes organization. 

Additionally, he talks about a couple of attempted romances he had throughout his life, and he revealed that every woman he had ever been with had been hounded by the press to the point where they couldn’t be with him anymore. Each and every relationship he had was ruined by the press. 

He then talks about the Ahmed Raza Khan incident, where on a video he used an offensive racist slur. He felt extremely bad about it and apologized profusely to Khan, which he accepted. However, similarly to the costume incident, Harry explains that growing up, everyone in his family said that word, again pushing the blame for his actions onto everyone else. 

With the marriage of William and Kate came a time of reflection for Harry, as he always thought he would be a young husband and father, but at the rate he was going that wouldn’t be true in the slightest. 

Harry experienced a lot of difficult but enjoyable pilot training, on a variety of different air crafts to be prepared to go back to war. He also had a seemingly awful training exercise at Bodmin Moor, where he and his companions were essentially tortured, causing the other two men with him to eventually go mad. 

Unfortunately, the Taliban learned about Harry being back on base at war and the details of his tour because of the British Press, 2 American soldiers died, and many more American and British soldiers were injured during the Taliban attack on the base. Harry was a gunner with his partner pilot being Dave. Went on many missions, had more direct contact with the Taliban, being the gunner he was the one physically killing them. Justified by remembering that if he didn’t more British soldiers would die. When he left, the only regrets he had were having to leave and things he hadn’t done, never killed anyone he wasn’t sure was a member of the Taliban. Upon leaving the tour, the press continued to criticize him for everything, including killing during the war. 

Went on his second royal tour, a goodwill tour to promote the rehabilitation of wounded British and American soldiers. The Warrior Games stuck out to him, it was like an olympics for wounded soldiers, he wanted to bring these kinds of warrior games to Britain. Thus, the Invictus Games were born, and they were a HUGE SUCCESS. Everyone loved the games, tons of people inspired and reaching out to Harry about the change he had brought back into their lives and how grateful they were to him

He began suffering from Post Traumatic Stress, and found it really difficult to leave the house and other things like that, terrified of cameras, and public speaking, and public places in general, and big crowds of people. Lived in a small flat, always dark but he said that suited his mood, was not happy in the slightest, told his father who sent him to a doctor. He wanted to prescribe pills, which Harry didn’t want. Suffering a lot from panic attacks and anxiety. He was also facing lots of pressure to marry, which was kind of like the basis of the monarchy. Everyone was married and having a family, and since Harry didn’t have that yet he was an outsider. 

Part Three almost exclusively focuses on Harry’s relationship with Meghan. They hit it off extremely well even from the first date, and after spending as much time together as they possibly could, they decided they were willing to put in the work to make their relationship work. Meghan meets the Queen, William, Pa, and Camilla, all of whom are seemingly impressed by her. 

With rumors of Harry and Megs relationship flying around, a ton of hate is all targeted towards Meghan. So many offensive and racist articles were written, and the Palace wasn’t really letting Harry do much, because its “what the press wanted”, when he did issue a statement, the press didn’t stop, and Pa and William were mad at him for making them look bad, because they had never defended their wives/girlfriends from the press. Paparazzi continued to harass both Meghan and her mom at home in America, making both of their lives really difficult. After Harry snapped at Meghan one night, she told him that she wouldn’t stand being spoken to like that, and that she wouldn’t want to raise a family in that kind of space. She told him to try to go back to therapy after he told her it didn’t work the first time.  When becoming a more visible couple, Meg was given death threats and overall just treated horribly by the press. Harry wanted to fight back but wasn’t sure how to do so. Tried to ask family for help, none of them seemed willing to provide it. In fact, the palace lets Meg get attacked for things that they approved, and then refused to speak out in defense of her.

When Harry eventually wanted to propose to Meghan, he had to get permission from the Queen. William was against Harry even dating Meg, he seemed to think it wouldn’t work out and didn’t seem to be a fan of her career. Pa wasn’t supportive of a potential proposal either, he “couldn’t afford to have another person in the family”. In reality he likely wasn’t happy about Harry and Meg taking attention away from him and Camilla. 

Leading up to their wedding there was tons of drama within the family, with William being jealous of all the freedom Harry was afforded being “the spare” compared to all the strictness on his wedding day. Kate and Meghan were forced into a kind of competition, with them always being compared to one another. 

Even after their marriage, Meghan was constantly slandered by the press, being nicknamed “the duchess of difficult” because of something that William let slip to Pa and Camilla. All of the hate she was getting made her depressed, a letter she wrote to her father was given by him to the press. William was anti-meg, to the point where he fought physically with Harry and injured him, however, Harry had matured and didn’t attack back. WIlliam and Kate stopped working with Meg and Harry, silence from everyone in the Palace, made Harry question if they were ever really on his side in the first place. 

Meghan and Harry were thankfully able to welcome their first child, a boy named Archie into the world. It was private and away from the press, with them not even being notified until after Archie was already back at home safely.

With the continued harassment of the press, and with the upcoming change in privacy laws, Harry and Meghan decided to sue the press.Harry was called into a meeting with Pa and Queen, and said he had no choice due to the lack of support from the family. The hate for Meg was extremely racist and so much worse than anything ever directed at either Kate or Camilla. Meg and Harry decided to get away from all of the awful hate and situation in Britain, had 6 weeks of blissful peace in Canada before the paparazzi showed up, got them thinking about permanently having something as peaceful as this. Harry wrote a letter to Pa, saying they would even go as far as relinquishing their titles in order to get the peace they wanted, and received a response that they needed to discuss in person in a month. If they went ahead before they met, there would likely be consequences.

After lots of hard work coming up with the best way to spread the news without naming anything specific to address why they were leaving, Meghan and Harry released a press statement through Instagram independently, and were happy with the new freedom they had gained for themselves. Harry then had to attend a summit to discuss options, where there were 5 plans of action. Harry wanted option 3, which was closest to his original proposition of living elsewhere for half the year, and returning to Britain for charities and other similar things. Everyone else pushed for option 1 which consisted of them not leaving and trying to go back to normal, but if they couldn’t get that they wanted option 5, complete removal from the family. Harry desperately wanted security measures though, to keep Meg and Archie safe, and avoid what happened to Diana. They came to the agreement that he could have security for the next year while they worked out the finer details of the arrangement.

When deciding where to live however, the palace pulled his security, despite the extremely high need they had for it. Tried to call his father. No response. Tried to talk to William about it, and he said that nothing could be done. During the early stages of the pandemic, Harry and Meg moved to Los Angeles, had 6 good weeks before the paparazzi found them once again, they needed to find somewhere else to live. 

Pa cuts Harry off completely, leaving him with nothing. Was forced his whole life to be financially dependent on his father, and now was stuck on what to do. Him and Meg couldn’t figure out what their next steps would be, and found out Meg was pregnant once again. They were able to buy a house in Santa Barbara, but still under a ton of stress with the legal case against the press, Meg suffered a miscarriage. 

Going back to the scene of the prologue, while walking with William and Pa at Frogmore, Harry is angry at them for both their involvement in the slander of his wife, and for their silence most of all. They were upset about the interview Harry just had with Oprah, which Harry saw as the same as what he had been put through by them. I found this to be extremely hypocritical of him, to be so upset at his family for their lack of support for him, and then go out and bash all of them publicly.  William says he just wants for Harry to be happy, but after everything that has happened, Harry just doesn’t believe him. 

The book ends off with the birth of Harry and Meg’s second child, a girl, and finally the death of the Queen, and the sad scene that entailed when Harry traveled back to Britain both to see her and for her funeral. 

Ultimately, at the end of reading the book, I can say that I would recommend it as an interesting read, however, I can’t imagine you should take anything said with more than a grain of salt. Regardless of its actual truth, I found the book to be an enjoyable read overall, and a cool in-depth look into the life of the Royal family.