Spare by Prince Harry – On a first impression, you could say that Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is the enfant terrible of the British royal family. Some examples of his early (mis)behaviour – especially the time when he wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party – can attest to that.
But if there is one word that you can easily associate with him, and that’s audacity. And that sense of audacity has transcended with his best-selling memoir Spare, which marks the first time ever that a bona fide member of the British royal family has written such a book that gives readers such an inside look.
His critics may call him a crybaby, or whiney, but Prince Harry gives a rare inside look at life being a royal that no former assistant, valet or bodyguard could offer. And what he has to say is not pretty. In fact, it’s quite eye-opening and infuriating.
To Harry, being a “spare” in this family (in the shadow of his brother and heir to the throne Prince William) is almost like being a middle child, only more painful and under more intense public scrutiny.
The book focusses on five aspects of his life: the death of his mother Princess Diana, his ongoing battles with the British tabloid press, his relationship and marriage to Megan Markle, his service in the British army, and the difficulties with his family following Diana’s death. The text is peppered with many examples of stream of conscience, in which the reader finds out what is going on in Harry’s mind when he is confronted with a situation whether it be joyous, self-affirming or adverse.
You may think it lays the foundation for a pity party or a “kumbaya” moment, but what it boils down to is someone who carried a whole lot of hurt and pain, and is now airing it out as honestly as possible.
There are plenty of pride and regret that he exhibits in the book. He saves his pride and joy when he is discussing his relationship with Megan and all of the ups and downs that went with it. And he saves his most poisonous venom for the British tabloid press (especially two omnipresent and annoying journalists he dubbed “Tweedle Dumb” and Tweedle Dumber”) and the constant leaks they published in their paper, many of which were trivial in nature, but no less potentially damaging.
Or as Harry bluntly puts it: “Once you’ve been chased by someone’s henchman through the streets of a busy modern city you lose all doubt where they stand on the great moral continuum.”
Then there’s the most painful aspect that he explores: the feeling of abandonment by King Charles, his brother Prince William, and many members of “The Firm”, especially their cold-hearted assistants, whom he labels as “the Bee”, “the Fly” and “the Wasp”.
By the way, the section of the book that deals with his military service years offers great insight into the tough, elite training Harry endured, which was so harsh, it makes a United States Marine Corps basic training boot camp seem like a child’s playdate.
Yes, there are a lot of issues, concerns and battles that Prince Harry airs out in abundance with Spare; so say what you will, but this book is a courageous, audacious and gutsy way to explain in public that life in the shadow of something bigger than himself was tough, but he fought and is still fighting to find the light beyond the shadow.
Other articles from mtltimes.ca – totimes.ca – otttimes.ca