Wedding Dress Texts, Racism Allegations & The Villainous Queen Consort: Key Takeaways From New Prince Harry Memoir ‘Spare’

The wait is over. Prince Harry’s memoir Spare hits bookshelves today (barring Spain where it was accidentally published late last week) and the public is braced for revelations galore, with some reported to be queueing outside bookshops from its midnight release. But Harry hasn’t exactly kept himself out of the public eye over the past week and several of these major revelations have already been leaked, teased or discussed via tell-all interviews with ITV and CBS.

Below we summarize the most shocking before our International Editor-at-Large Baz Bamigboye publishes his review later this week.

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Wedding dress texts

One of the early extracts to have emerged from the book this morning catching the media’s eye concerns a row between Harry’s wife Meghan Markle and brother William’s wife Kate Middleton. Speculation has risen and risen about varying rifts between the two since the Harry and Meghan Oprah Winfrey interview two years ago and the extract backs this up, while also demonstrating a surprising level of privacy invasion from the author. Harry writes that he arrived home to find his wife “sobbing on the floor” following the exchange that came at a time when Markle’s relationship with father Thomas Markle was breaking down. The rift occurred after Middleton’s daughter Princess Charlotte was left “crying” having tried on the dress she was due to wear to Prince Harry’s wedding, further exacerbated by Middleton’s refusal to visit Markle’s tailor after Markle had taken a day to respond as she was in the midst . Cue an angry text exchange. The passage is likely to leave the future King and his wife in an even fouler mood – especially given it includes reference to their daughter and reveals private text messages – and is demonstrative of the lengths Harry has gone to demonstrate the ill feeling within the family at the time of his marriage.

The dog bowl incident

In an extraordinary passage leaked to The Guardian late last week, Harry recounts an incident at his Nottingham Cottage in which his brother William physically pushes him onto a dog bowl, leaving him with scars on his back. This came after William described Harry’s wife as “difficult,” “rude” and “abrasive,” (more on that later) the Duke of Sussex says. The incident is described in detail in the book and paints a picture of a once-close sibling relationship left in tatters. Harry confirmed the incident during his interviews with CBS’ Anderson Cooper and ITV’s Tom Bradby and used the example to draw a dividing line between his and William’s headspace. Harry told Bradby he had “seen a red mist in William” before he had been pushed, but he chose not to fight back as therapy sessions “helped me control that anger and frustration.” And in what has become an incredibly common theme over the past week, Harry told Cooper that William had been “consuming a lot of the tabloid press, a lot of the stories” at the time, leading him to believe “a few issues, which were not based on reality.” The incident’s re-telling became a starting point for further discussion between Harry and his interviewees over his disintegrating relationship with Britain’s future King.

“Briefings, leakings and plantings”

One major talking point to emerge from the ITV interview was Harry’s strong-to-the-point-of-hitting-you-on-the-head hint that the Royal Family has been leaking stories about him to the tabloids in order to protect itself. While the Prince declared that taking the tabloids down a peg or two is a lifelong ambition (he is currently actively pursuing three lawsuits against media organizations), other members of his family are happy to “brief, leak and plant” about his and his wife’s private lives, he said, in an extraordinary broadside. Pushed by Bradby on why he has been so relentlessly public with his story over the past few weeks, Harry said “the level of planting from other members of means in my mind they have written countless books.” He chided some for “getting into bed with the devil”, aka the British tabloid media, in order to rehabilitate their image, as he hinted at the way in which information about his life has been traded for protection.

The Camilla vendetta

Much of Harry’s ire in this space was focused on his father King Charles III’s new wife Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Queen Consort. An extract from the book includes Harry and William telling Charles: “We endorse Camilla. Just please don’t marry her, just be together, Pa.” Their cries fell on deaf ears and Camilla began a “campaign aimed at marriage and eventually the Crown,” according to Harry’s ITV interview, a campaign he said featured a number of stories being leaked to the press. “Stories began to appear everywhere in all the papers about her private conversations with ‘Willy,’” Harry said. “Stories that contained pin-point accurate details, none of which had come from Willy, of course. They could only have been leaked by the one other person present.” It is hard to imagine Harry’s stepmother is high up on the reconciliation list.

Taking on the Taliban

Harry also managed also to attract the attention of the Taliban and wider international peace community after revealing he killed 25 fighters during his tour of Afghanistan and saying he thought of them as “chess pieces.” This came as part of a leak that wasn’t accompanied by necessary context – context provided a few days later by the full extract in which Harry explains: “My number didn’t give me any satisfaction. Naturally, I’d have preferred not to have that number on my military CV, on my mind, but by the same token I’d have preferred to live in a world in which there was no Taliban, a world without war.” But too late. Afghans have since called for Harry to face prosecution or provide compensation for the deaths of the people he admits killing and a group of Taliban officials said he should be prosecuted in the international court and by the international community. Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood suggested the Prince’s admission could create security risks for the Invictus Games. The debacle will be a stain for Harry, who has often spoken with pride of his two tours of the nation during his time in the Army. It suggests a certain naivete on his part.

Race issues

Harry doesn’t hold back in his discussions on race following his marriage to Markle. He again focuses much of his ire on the tabloids’ treatment of Markle due to the color of her skin but also chided William and his wife for “stereotyping” her due to her being an “American actress, divorced and biracial.” It is an extraordinary allegation to make. In the book, Harry writes about the work he has put into understanding his issues with “unconscious bias” – issues that, prior to his awakening, generated headlines across the world when he dressed up as a Nazi to attend a party in 2005. He says he was bigoted before he met Meghan and, incidentally, lays some of the blame for the Nazi incident on William’s shoulders, who he says encouraged him. Speaking to Bradby, Harry said his family could “learn a hell of a lot” from the unconscious bias training he has recently completed and flagged the row between his godmother Lady Susan Hussey and charity boss Ngozi Fulani. Unconscious bias also played a part in an unnamed Royal questioning the color of Harry’s son Archie’s skin, an incident that Harry said was not racist but had very much seemed so when it first emerged during the 2021 Oprah interview.

“Reconciliation” is name of the game

Amidst all of the pain, anger and lashing out, Harry stresses repeatedly in the book and during his interviews that he is after “reconciliation.” When pushed by Bradby on how the interviews are surely making said reconciliation almost unachievable, he said he has “spent the past six years trying to get through to my family privately” but it got to the point where he was “fleeing the country for our safety.” He told Bradby he “100% wants his family back” and that “reconciliation” could “have a ripple effect across the entire world.” Good luck with that one Harry.

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