Spare by Prince Harry is quite the story. If anything, it forever tarnished my opinion of royalty, a reaction that I suspect Harry wants. I have even more sympathy for him and everything he went through after his mother’s death and at the hands of his family. While I believe Harry shared WAY more than he should, I admire him for speaking out about the shitshow that is the British press’s relationship with the monarchy and the dangerous impact it had on his wife and him.
Spare reads like a therapy exercise where you are to write a letter to whoever hurt you, confronting them about how they made you feel and why. The trick here is that you never send the letter; the therapy resides in the unburdening of yourself. Except, Harry forgot that part and sent it to the public. His story contains too many intimate and unnecessary details about his past. I am still scratching my head, trying to figure out why he needed to include them since most of these details don’t pertain to his mental health or character. They don’t add anything other than a bit of scandal to a book deemed scandalous before he even wrote the first word.
Harry often talks about how he recognizes how privileged his life is. I do believe he is genuine about that sentiment. However, I do not think he knows the full extent of his privilege. In many passages, Harry is describing something that makes him out to be a regular guy, and he says something so matter-of-factly that it takes you a moment to realize that what he is describing is not how other people live. Want to take a skiing vacation? Go to Pakistan like Harry and his girlfriend! Need to get away from your work stress? Hop on a plane and fly down to Botswana! Want to try something different? Try going to not just the North but also the South Pole! Need a place to crash while in the US? Just go on over to Courtney Cox’s house! It is all so ludicrous that all you can do is laugh. Americans hardly take vacations, let alone fly to remote parts of the world, not just because we tend to be xenophobic but also because we can’t afford to do that. He talks about what would be grand adventures for us as if they were nothing more than another Saturday at the park. It’s ridiculous.
There is no doubt that Harry has severe PTSD. Throughout Spare, what struck me the most was not how his mother’s death impacted him but rather how being the second son affected his life. In listening to him narrate, I don’t know if he realizes how much he suffered because of that one detail. We all have issues with our siblings, but to be repeatedly told or shown that you don’t matter because you are not the heir is cruelty personified. That it was considered a typical outlook for the entire family and their staff speaks volumes about their dysfunctionality.
I finished Spare appreciating the courage it took for Harry to write and publish his most intimate thoughts. I already was a massive fan of his after the actions he took to protect Meghan and his son, but Spare made me understand even more just how high the stakes were. Harry may share too much personal information when airing his dirty laundry. Still, he definitely shines a spotlight on the garbage that is the Windsor family and their courtiers.