Prince Harry’s Spare: Absurd or Fascinating?


Heeseo Yoon, Staff Writer

On January 10, Prince Harry released his memoir, Spare. People have been scrambling to get a copy for themselves, eager to discover the British royals’ personal lives and conflicts hidden behind the walls of Buckingham Palace. As a result, the book was an immediate success—according to The New York Times, 1.5 million copies were sold on the first day of the book’s release, and over 3.2 million copies in the first week. Tens of thousands of people all around the world have been lining up in queues that snake across the front of book stores. According to The New York Times, the only books that have been sold with such success on the first day were the Harry Potter series.  

After stepping down from royal duties and moving to Los Angeles in 2020, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have been subject to many controversies. In their numerous interviews in the United States, the pair openly criticized the royal family’s stoicism, and even claimed that racist comments were made about the pair’s son, Archie. “I had to do everything to protect my family,” Harry stated in the recent Netflix series, Harry & Meghan.

In Spare, Harry continues these accusations. For example, Harry writes that when he was a little boy, adults of the royal family referred to him as the “spare” who was born in case something happened to his older brother William, the future heir to the throne. He also expressed his anger at his family for not accepting Meghan as their own. He even accused the Queen Consort of leaking negative stories about Meghan to the press. As a final blow, Harry wrote that William “grabbed [him] by the collar” and “knocked [him] to the floor” during an argument about Meghan, where he called her “rude” and “abrasive.” 

A caricature of Prince Harry from the Times

Unsurprisinglythe British public was furious at Harry’s allegations. The long-standing monarchy symbolizes the constant power and stability of the nation, and is the source of pride for many in the United Kingdom. They were especially angered by the fact that Harry’s accusations were mostly pointed at William and Kate, who, according to Statista, are currently the most popular members of the royal family. The Guardian described the book as “sympathetic and absurd.” BBC had similar opinions, and sarcastically commented that Spare was the “longest angry drunk text ever sent.” Ever since the release of Spare, public opinion on Harry has been plummeting in the United Kingdom. Harry has been branded a traitor for turning against his own family, publicizing household quarrels that should have been resolved privately, and capitalizing off of his family’s struggles. 

However, unlike the British, the American public have been sympathetic towards Harry. According to NewsWeek, Spare is supported by 47% of Americans. In the book, Harry explains the emotional turmoil that encompassed his life, including the tragedy of his mother, his turbulent teenage years, experience in warfare, his relationship with his wife Meghan, and the conflict between him and his family. Rather than focusing on the royal accusations, the American journalists have been applauding Harry for writing such an engaging book that openly reveals his raw emotions through the lonely, and at most times hurtful years of growing up in the royal family. The Slate complimented Spare for being “a fascinating literary venture.” TIME also commented that the memoir was “revealing” and “surprisingly well-written” despite the controversies that surrounded the dangerously vulnerable book.

For the time being, it is impossible to know whether Harry’s accusations are true or not. Spare has exacerbated the royal family’s drama, and it is doubtful that Harry and his family will ever be able to make amends with each other. With the chaos the book has created, it is uncertain how the future will play out concerning the British Monarchy. One thing is for sure, though—fans of Keeping Up With the Kardashians have found a book to read.