Oops, he did it again.
Photo: Jeremy Selwyn – WPA Pool/Getty Images
Like Prince Harry, I have been struggling recently with the question of whether I should reject my birthright. But while Harry’s forthcoming memoir, Spare, seems likely to sever his relationship with his family for good, it may bring me back to my inherited affinity for royals-watching.
Royals-watching was thrust upon me at a young age. I was born the same year as Harry, and as a small child, I recall hearing my mother’s detailed thoughts on Princess Diana’s wedding dress (“Too poofy”), Prince Charles’s affair with Camilla (“Creepy and sad”), and the royals’ mandatory pantyhose rule (“A fine example for us all”). As I grew older, my mom and I watched Sarah Ferguson tell Oprah that royal life is “not a fairy tale,” closely followed the aftermath of Princess Diana’s tragic death, and went to a theater to watch Peter Morgan’s dramatization of the aftermath in The Queen. I woke up early to watch Kate Middleton’s wedding and stayed up late searching for clips online of Oprah’s interview with Harry and Meghan Markle (I’m still upset that CBS didn’t stream it immediately).
This past fall, however, Netflix pushed me past my limit when The Crown slowly examined Prince Philip’s love of carriage-driving and the Harry & Meghan docuseries revealed that their courtship involved a doggy-ears Snapchat filter. I get it — the royals are largely a bunch of monsters. “Harry and Meghan are at least partly correct, but they’re also so annoying,” as Gawker aptly put it. Isn’t this all too much, even for devoted Anglophiles?
Apparently not! I had no intention of reading Spare, which will be released on January 10, but the leaked details are simply too explosive to ignore. Please join me in the coming days as I rank Harry’s big revelations from most to least bonkers and accept that fully escaping the royal family — even when you’re just an American watching from your couch — is nearly impossible.
Spare’s biggest allegation (so far) would strain credulity if it appeared in one of the trashy tabloids that have been inventing stories about the princes since before they were born. Harry claims that in 2019, William “grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and … knocked me to the floor” during an argument about Harry’s wife. According to the Guardian, which has obtained a copy of the book, Harry says William came to his home at Nottingham Cottage to talk about “the whole rolling catastrophe” of their relationship and issues with the press. He showed up “piping hot” and called Meghan “difficult,” “rude,” and “abrasive.” Harry told William that William was just repeating the press narrative about Harry’s wife, and they began shouting insults at each other.
Harry became scared and gave his brother a glass of water in an attempt to calm him down. Then William suddenly attacked him. Per the Guardian:
He writes: “He set down the water, called me another name, then came at me. It all happened so fast. So very fast. He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor. I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out.”
Harry writes that William urged him to hit back, citing fights they had as children. Harry says he refused to do so.
What if the real culprits behind Harry’s most appalling scandal were actually … the future king and queen of England? That’s what the prince alleges in Spare, according to the New York Post. He says he was deciding between dressing as a pilot or a Nazi for a 2005 “Native and Colonial” party and called up his elder brother and William’s then-girlfriend to ask for their advice.
“I phoned Willy and Kate, asked what they thought. Nazi uniform, they said,” Harry writes. He also modeled the outfit for them and “they both howled. Worse than Willy’s leotard outfit! Way more ridiculous! Which, again, was the point.”
But, of course, the public didn’t appreciate the 20-year-old prince’s look when it appeared on the cover of the Sun soon after.
4. In 2005, Prince Harry made headlines when a photograph of him wearing a Nazi costume at a “colonials and natives”-themed party was published in The Sun newspaper. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/keWucFnaXU
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) October 13, 2022
In case there is any remaining doubt about Harry’s commitment to oversharing in this book, here is a snippet from a Post report about the sad state of his willy during his brother’s nuptials. The younger prince had just completed a 200-mile Arctic charity walk and was still suffering from the effects during the big event:
“While the ears and cheeks were already healing, the todger wasn’t. It was becoming more of an issue by the day,” he says.
Following the wedding, Harry says that he went to the doctor after using Elizabeth Arden cream.
Harry also confirms he’s circumcised in the explosive tome, despite longstanding reports that he’s not.
Harry says William returned shortly after the 2019 attack looking “regretful” and he apologized. Then when William departed a second time, he acted like nothing had happened. Per the Guardian:
When William left again, his brother writes, he “turned and called back: ‘You don’t need to tell Meg about this.’”
“‘You mean that you attacked me?’”
“‘I didn’t attack you, Harold.’”
Harry said he didn’t immediately tell Meghan, but he did call his therapist. And he eventually told his wife what had happened when she noticed “scrapes and bruises” on his back. He writes that she “wasn’t that surprised and wasn’t all that angry,” but “she was terribly sad.”
The Netflix docuseries made it clear that Meghan and Harry remain committed to their insufferable habit of calling each other M and H (though “Harry” is already a nickname). It appears William keeps things more formal, as evidenced by the line “I didn’t attack you, Harold.”
Harry, meanwhile, refers to his brother by a nickname — and not the well-known moniker Wills. He writes in Spare that when he tried to calm his brother during their 2019 altercation, he said, “Willy, I can’t speak to you when you’re like this.”
Harry recounts, per the Guardian, what then–Prince Charles said to his wife, Princess Diana, on the day of Harry’s birth: “Wonderful! Now you’ve given me an heir and a spare — my work is done.” Not really Prince Charming, is he?
Sign Up for the Intelligencer Newsletter
Daily news about the politics, business, and technology shaping our world.
Vox Media, LLC Terms and Privacy Notice