The Shadiest Things In Prince Harry's New Book

Prince Harry lays out why being a member of the British monarchy can be a royal pain in his memoir "Spare." The title of the tome comes from an epithet Harry says his own family used when describing his secondary status to his brother, William, Prince of Wales. He has a sense of humor about it, joking, "I was brought into the world in case something happened to Willy. I was summoned to provide backup, distraction, diversion, and, if necessary, a spare part. Kidney perhaps. Blood transfusion."

The book gives readers new insight into some of the key moments in Harry's life, from the death of his mother, Princess Diana, to his marriage to "Suits" star, Meghan Markle, and the couple's exit from the royal family. By leaving, Harry could forsake his family's motto – "Never complain, never explain" — and share his story with readers around the globe. As it turns out, many people wanted to hear what he had to say. "Spare" quickly became one of Penguin Random House's most successful autobiographies, selling more copies during its first 24 hours on bookstore shelves than any of the publisher's other nonfiction offerings, per The New York Times.

"It's a raw account of my life — the good, the bad, and everything in between," Harry told People. And now that he's left jolly ol' England for the land of the free, he's making the Sons of Liberty proud by spilling all the tea.

The spare commented on the heir's lack of hair

Prince Harry is well aware that his crowning glory has lost some of its thickness as he's gotten older. In a 2022 appearance on a Dutch TV special about the Invictus Games, Harry said of his thinning dome, "I'm doomed." The topic also came up during one of his last conversations with his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. They were discussing the effect a long drought had on the lawn of Harry and Meghan Markle's former royal residence, Frogmore Cottage. In "Spare," he recalled making his grandma laugh by joking, "Looks like the top of my head, Granny! Balding and brown in patches."

Harry also made an observation about the state of his brother's pate. When Harry returned home for the funeral of their late grandfather, Prince Philip, he found himself scrutinizing William, Prince of Wales, during an argument. "I took it all in — his familiar scowl, which had always been his default in dealings with me, his alarming baldness, more advanced than my own; his famous resemblance to Mummy, which was fading with time," Harry wrote. In discussions on Twitter, some readers theorized that his words had a deeper meaning, suggesting that Harry was also trying to say that his brother was becoming less like Princess Diana in disposition.

On "60 Minutes," Harry said that his intention was not to harm William, but he couldn't resist smirking when Anderson Cooper read the passage about the heir's baldness aloud.

He wasn't silent about Prince Andrew's scandal

The safety of his family is of utmost concern to Prince Harry, so after he and Meghan Markle stepped down as working royals in 2020, he was naturally upset when he learned that their security would no longer be paid for. In the Sussexes' sit-down with Oprah Winfrey (via BuzzFeed News), Meghan revealed that she pleaded with The Firm to at least allow Harry to keep his security detail. She recalled penning a letter that read in part, "Please, it's very clear the protection of me or Archie is not a priority. I accept that. That is fine. Please keep my husband safe."

When Prince Andrew lost his status as a working royal, his security situation was reportedly handled much differently. In regards to Virginia Roberts Giuffre's sexual assault case against Andrew, Buckingham Palace released a statement reading, "The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen." Per The Telegraph, King Charles III later agreed to shoulder the financial responsibility for Andrew's security at an annual cost of around $3.6 million. According to "Spare," the Sussexes got no such offer. Harry wrote, "[Andrew] was embroiled in a shameful scandal, accused of the sexual assault of a young woman, and no one had so much as suggested that he lose his security. Whatever grievances people had against us, sex crimes weren't on the list."

His father's sadistic sense of humor

Before her marriage to King Charles III ended, Princess Diana had a long love affair with former British Army officer, James Hewitt. As reported by The Independent, Hewitt broke the beloved royal's heart by sharing details about their relationship with author Anna Pasternak for her 1994 book, "Princess in Love." In her 1995 "Panorama" interview, Diana confessed, "Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him. But I was very let down."

For years after the romance revelation, rumors circulated that Hewitt might be Prince Harry's real father. However, the former cavalry officer insisted that this couldn't be the case because his affair with Diana began after Harry's birth. "I must state once and for all that I'm not Harry's father," he told the Mirror (via BBC News) in 2002. According to Harry, his real dad found the rumors endlessly amusing. In "Spare," he recalled Charles saying, "Who knows if I'm even your real father? Maybe your real father is in Broadmoor, darling boy!" Added Harry, "He'd laugh and laugh, though it was a remarkably unfunny joke."

Harry further expressed his displeasure over the speculation that his father so reveled in, writing, "One cause of this rumor was Major Hewitt's flaming ginger hair, but another cause was sadism." Hewitt was more sympathetic to Harry when he was asked about the rumor on Australia's "Sunday Night" (via Marie Claire) in 2017. "It sells papers," he said. "It's worse for [Harry], probably, poor chap."

Prince Harry believes King Charles III wanted to cut him off

According to Prince Harry, there were conversations about King Charles III cutting off his access to the royal coffers long before he and Meghan Markle struck out on their own, eventually signing deals with Netflix and Spotify worth $100 million and up to $18 million, respectively. Per Forbes, Harry also left with an estimated $10 million safety net in the form of his inheritance from Princess Diana.

Before Sussexit, Harry says that Charles essentially wanted to fire him. As he pointed out in "Spare," the king wasn't just his parent, "He was my boss, my banker, my comptroller, keeper of the purse strings." Harry recalled a conversation in which Charles seemed to suggest that Meghan might not want to give up her acting career, allegedly telling his son, "Well, you know, darling boy, there's not enough money to go around." The monarch explained, "I can't pay for anyone else. I'm already having to pay for your brother and Catherine." According to Forbes, Charles divvied out $8 million from the Duchy of Cornwall among himself and his sons in 2020.

But Harry believes that Charles' motivations had nothing to do with money. "What he really couldn't stomach was someone new dominating the monarchy, grabbing the limelight, someone shiny and new coming in and overshadowing him," he wrote. If he's correct, then Charles' worst nightmare came true when the Sussexes kept calm and carried on sucking up headline space after ditching the crown.

He raged against the floral crown hysteria

Prince Harry aired his grievances with the British press in "Spare," calling the media out for breathlessly molding many of its stories about Meghan Markle into scandals, no matter how innocuous they appeared to be on the surface. During its coverage of Harry and Meghan's wedding in 2018, the Express published a story with the sensationalized headline, "How Meghan Markle's flowers may have put Princess Charlotte's life at risk." The publication suggested that Meghan was putting her niece in mortal danger by having her wear a floral crown adorned with poisonous lilies of the valley.

Harry mocked the hysterical semantics of the Express' report, writing, "An accompanying photo showed my poor little niece wearing her crown, face contorted in a paroxysm of agony, or a sneeze. Alongside this photo was a shot of Meg looking sublimely unconcerned about the imminent death of this angelic child." The Express even consulted a floral expert who warned that lilies of the valley are devilishly deceptive beauties containing toxins that can affect the heart and potentially kill if ingested.

Meghan wasn't the only royal to use the blossoms — in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it sentence, the Express admits that they were also featured in Catherine, Princess of Wales' wedding. When she married William, Prince of Wales, in 2011, the Express merely observed that the lilies of the valley in her bouquet were significant because they symbolized a joyful renewal. But, as Harry concluded, "The story of Meghan the Murderess was just too good."

He accused King Charles III of being cold

Over the years, Prince Harry has often spoken about the loss of his mother, Princess Diana. In 2017, he criticized his family's decision to parade him and his brother before the public at her 1997 funeral, where the grieving siblings were photographed and filmed trailing their mother's coffin. "I don't think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don't think it would happen today," Harry told Newsweek.

In writing "Spare" (via The New York Times) Harry had to relive the heartbreaking moment he was informed about his mother's death. He remembers King Charles III being distant and even failing to offer his distraught son the comfort of a hug, writing, "He wasn't great at showing emotions under normal circumstances, how could he be expected to show them in such a crisis?"

When recalling how he didn't break down and cry until Diana's burial, Harry took another dig at Charles, suggesting that his dad never cared for her the way he and his brother did. "It was reported that Mummy's hands were folded across her chest and between them was placed a photo of me and Willy, possibly the only two men who ever truly loved her," he wrote. He further suggested that his family's emphasis on following royal protocol made it difficult for him to mourn properly, musing, "Maybe I'd learned too well, absorbed too deeply, the ethos of the family, that crying wasn't an option — ever."

He feared Camilla would make his life a dark fairytale

In "Spare," Prince Harry refers to queen consort Camilla Parker Bowles as the "Other Woman," a reference to King Charles III's extramarital affair with his stepmother. Per The New York Times, Charles admitted to being unfaithful to Princess Diana in a 1994 ITV documentary. However, he claimed that he didn't plan on divorcing her and only referred to Bowles as a friend at the time. 

But after he and Diana went their separate ways two years later, Charles could begin courting Bowles in earnest. When it came time for her to meet Charles' youngest son, Harry revealed that he didn't really know what to expect. "I recall wondering, right before the tea, if she'd be mean to me. If she'd be like all the wicked stepmothers in storybooks," he wrote. But he ultimately concluded that their first meeting would be more like an uncomfortable, albeit brief, doctor's visit than a dark fairytale. "Just like getting an injection. Close your eyes, over before you know it," he wrote.

Harry further revealed that his first encounter with the future queen consort wasn't very memorable and shared his theory as to why Bowles didn't go out of her way to leave a good impression on him. "I wasn't her biggest hurdle," he explained. "In other words, I wasn't the Heir." Apparently, the heir wasn't all that charmed, either — according to Harry, although he and William welcomed her into the family, both begged Charles not to marry Bowles.

He described the royal family as a 'death cult'

While reflecting back on a hunting trip with William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry came to a morbid realization about the monarchy. "I saw that even our finest moments, and my best memories, somehow involved death," reads one of the darker "Spare" passages. "... Windsor castle itself was a tomb, the walls filled with ancestors. The Tower of London was held together with the blood of animals ... Outsiders called us a cult, but maybe we were a death cult." This sinister turn into Edgar Allan Poe territory comes after Harry recalls William swearing on the life of their late mother during an argument. 

One of the moments in Harry and William's lives that were touched by death came in 2022 when Queen Elizabeth II's funeral brought the warring brothers back together. In his interview with ITV (via WalesOnline), Harry remembered a moment of levity amidst the tension — when he and William shared a dark joke about their mother's funeral. "My brother and I were walking the same route, and we sort of joked to each other and said, 'At least we know the way,'" he recalled. He also explained why Elizabeth's funeral wasn't as somber as Princess Diana's, saying, "Our grandmother had finished life — there was more, I think, of a celebration and respect and recognition to what she had accomplished." But their shared reverence for their grandmother wasn't enough to repair the rift between the brothers.

His royal aide nicknames really sting

When Prince Harry begins referring to "The Fly," "The Wasp," and "The Bee" in "Spare," he hasn't suddenly decided to become a modern-day Aesop by sharing his life story in fable form. According to The Times, the insect epithets refer to the private secretaries of Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III, and William, Prince of Wales. The respective staffers are Sir Edward Young (The Bee), Sir Clive Alderton (The Wasp), and Simon Case (The Fly). In his memoir, Harry accused the men of being manipulative schemers vying for power and influence, writing, "The Bee was oval-faced and fuzzy and tended to glide around with great equanimity and poise as if he was a boon to all living things." Per Newsweek, Young played a role in ensuring that Harry would not be allowed to keep his police security post-Sussexit.

"The Fly had spent much of his career adjacent to, and indeed drawn to, s***," Harry wrote of Case. "The offal of government and media, the wormy entrails, he loved it." The Spectator claimed that Harry was unhappy with Case for working to improve William's image at his younger brother's expense.

Of Alderton, Harry wrote (via The Times), "He'd give you such a stab with his outsized stinger that you'd cry out in confusion." A source claimed to The U.S. Sun that Harry's bitterness toward Alderton stemmed from his involvement in devising a royal exit strategy that the Sussexes were unhappy with.

He swiped back at Princess Diana's former butler

Princess Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell, is an outspoken critic of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's post-Sussexit moves, including their decision to appear in a Netflix documentary. In a 2022 "Lorraine" interview, Burrell complained about the couple's use of footage and photos of Diana. "Talk about exploiting the princess' image," he said. He also snarked about Harry's memoir, saying, "You have to wait for the 'exclusives' to come in the book because the publishers haven't paid millions of pounds for nothing."

While Burrell slammed the couple for profiting from their connection to the royal family, it's something he's guilty of himself — in 2003, he published a memoir titled "A Royal Duty," which features a photo of Diana on the cover and promises to spill some of the secrets she shared with him. Harry eviscerates the book and its author in "Spare," writing, "Mummy's former butler had penned a tell-all which actually told nothing. It was merely one man's self-justifying, self-centering version of events. ... He was milking her disappearance for money. It made my blood boil."

After "Spare" hit bookshelves, Burrell began popping up again, appearing on "Sunrise" to suggest that Meghan is to blame for the changes he sees in Harry. But some of those changes also have to do with Harry growing up. "I first met him when he was in his mummy's tummy," said Burrell. "... I don't recognize the young man I see today."

Harry shared the blame for his controversial costume

The furor over "Spare" hit a fever pitch when one author compared Prince Harry to the Führer. In an interview with Times Radio, A.N. Wilson said of Harry's memoir, "It is like reading 'Mein Kampf,' in that Hitler thinks he's a great hero and you put the book down with absolute disgust." But Harry doesn't just paint himself in a positive light in his book. He also reflects back on some of the mistakes he's made in his life, including an incident he'd likely much rather leave in the past — the time he wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party in 2005. Per the New York Post, Harry later issued an apology for his tasteless behavior.

While he can blame no one but himself for the blunder, Harry claims that Catherine, Princess of Wales, and William, Prince of Wales, had a small role to play in the scandal. In his book, he recalls consulting with the couple when deciding whether he should dress like a Nazi officer or a British pilot. Instead of offering Harry sound advice, they purportedly told him to go with the offensive option. Upon seeing him wearing the costume — which included a fake Hitler mustache — Harry recalled (via Page Six), "They both howled." On "Good Morning Britain," royal reporter, Duncan Lacombe claimed that he later spoke to William about the scandal, saying, "William was very much in on the joke." 

He painted Prince William as elitist and petty

While appearing on "60 Minutes" to promote his memoir, Prince Harry revealed that he and his brother weren't as close as people assumed before Sussexit. He spoke to Anderson Cooper about how it hurt his feelings when William, Prince of Wales, proclaimed that they would not be spending time together at school. "I couldn't make sense of it," he said. 

While Harry also made it clear that Meghan Markle was not the cause of their rift, it probably didn't help that William may have looked down on the "Suits" star because of her line of work and her country of origin. "One day, sitting together in his garden, [William had] predicted a host of difficulties I could expect if I hooked up with an 'American actress,' a phrase he always managed to make sound like 'convicted felon.” Are you sure about her, Harold?" Harry wrote in "Spare." William's reaction to Meghan hugging him also didn't exactly scream a warm welcome. "[It] completely freaked him out," he recalled (via Us Weekly). "He recoiled."

Then there's Beardgate. William was purportedly livid because Queen Elizabeth II had given Harry permission to keep his beard for his wedding, something the heir was not allowed to do. Harry painted his older brother as a petulant child, writing (via Page Six), "At one point he actually ordered me, as the Heir speaking to the Spare, to shave." Ultimately, William did not win their week-long war of the whiskers.

He believes that Camilla Parker Bowles was a leaky sieve

In "Spare" and elsewhere (via ABC News), Prince Harry has portrayed Camilla Parker Bowles as treacherous and ruthless — but he does give her props for making his father happy. Harry has long believed that Bowles is responsible for some of the stories about his family that get leaked to the press. He spoke about her relationship with the media during his "60 Minutes" interview, telling Anderson Cooper, "There was open willingness on both sides to trade information. And with a family built on hierarchy, and with her on the way to being Queen Consort, there was going to be people or bodies left in the street." He suspects that Bowles chooses what to leak in a bid to boost her own image. "I had complex feelings about gaining a step-parent who, I believed, had recently sacrificed me on her PR altar," he wrote in his memoir. 

Before Bowles wed King Charles III, Harry was hopeful that her step closer to the throne would end the alleged conniving and backroom dealing. "In a funny way I even wanted Camilla to be happy," he wrote. "Maybe she'd be less dangerous if she was happy?"

According to The Telegraph, royal insiders refuted Harry's specific claim that Bowles had blabbed about her first meeting with William, Prince of Wales, to a reporter. The sources said that her private secretary was actually responsible and got axed over sharing the story with her media exec husband.

Good press for King Charles III meant bad press for his sons

According to Prince Harry, a member of his father's staff set out to help King Charles III improve his standing with the public in a devious way. In "Spare" (via BuzzFeed News) Harry claimed that the strategy involved cooperating with the press on negative stories about Harry and his brother, which would, in theory, make Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles look good by way of comparison. "For some time this person had been peddling unflattering stories, fake stories, about the Heir and Spare, to all the papers," he wrote. When he and William confronted their dad with their concerns, Charles accused them of being unreasonable and paranoid. "But we had proof," Harry wrote. "Reporters, inside actual newsrooms, assuring us that this woman was selling us out. Pa refused to listen."

In a 2003 interview with The Guardian, one of Charles' former employees, his deputy private secretary Mark Bolland, did confess to collaborating with the press on a story that made Charles look good. Bolland said that the News of the World was desperate to publish stories about Harry doing drugs and drinking, and Bolland came up with an idea to appease the now-defunct outlet. He fed them a story about Charles being a caring, hands-on father by sending Harry to visit a rehab center so that he could see firsthand the consequences of substance abuse. Bolland alleged that the tabloid's resulting report featured misleading details. 

The royal railed against Rupert Murdoch

One of the main villains in Prince Harry's story is News Corporation CEO, Rupert Murdoch. Through the machinations of the mogul's media empire, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have become unwilling tabloid stars. Murdoch's news organizations often go negative when reporting on the couple. There's The Sun's "Harry the Nasty" cover and columnist Jeremy Clarkson's infamous objectionable rant about Meghan Markle. In the since-deleted column, he fantasized about the former actor being stripped naked and pelted with feces by angry crowds, per BBC News (The Sun later apologized for the column). 

In 2012, the same tabloid ignored entreaties by the royal family's attorneys and published nude photos of Harry in Las Vegas. "I couldn't think of a single human being who in the 300,000-year history of the species who'd done more damage to our collective sense of reality," Harry writes of Murdoch in "Spare." According to a 2021 Newsweek report, Harry filed a lawsuit accusing The Sun and another Murdoch-owned tabloid, the News of the World, of hacking his phone. The media mogul's company News Group Newspapers confessed to the latter's wrongdoing but argued that the statute of limitations ran out before Harry filed his lawsuit.

Now that Harry is a bona fide American, he can also attack Murdoch over his political views. "Of course, I didn't care for Murdoch's politics, which were just to the right of the Taliban," he wrote (via The Hill). "And I didn't like the harm he did each and every day to Truth."