Prince Harry’s Memoir ‘Spare’: Everything You Need to Know

Prince Harry’s, ‘Spare’ is the talk of the town! In interviews and excerpts alike, let’s highlight the biggest bombshells to come out of his debut memoir.

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Prince Harry's book 'Spare' in a bookstore

Prince Harry’s been busy! Just in the last week, the Duke of Sussex has gone from American interviews to releasing one of the most anticipated books of early 2023. In the whirlwind of press reports and leaks, the British prince has been celebrated and criticized for the contents of his memoir, Spare.

Just last month, we at Bookstr made predictions on what might be included in Prince Harry’s story, and now we’re here to compare our guesses to reality. If you want to know all the details of some of the most talked about sections of Prince Harry’s memoir, stick with us! We’ve highlighted the ten most poignant sections that will allow you to take a stance on the royals and Prince Harry’s life.

Prince Harry's memoir, 'Spare' book cover with picture of Prince Harry

Before the Duke of Sussex’s memoir was even released, Prince Harry had been in the headlines for over a week. With shocking interviews from Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, Michael Strahan on Good Morning America, Stephen Colbert on The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, and Tom Bradby on ITV, the prince’s name has been everywhere, both in America and the UK, but the reactions to these interviews have been divided. 

This tension only increased when his debut memoir, Spare, was released on January 10th. From heartbreaking revelations about his late mother to more “intimate” details of his life, Prince Harry has documented some of the best and worst times of being born into a system that lives off its relationship with obedience and playing nice with the press.

1. Harry Didn’t Believe His Mother Was Dead

Prince Harry's late mother, Princess Diana wearing diamond crown and necklace.

In our previous article, we predicted that Harry would take the time to detail his brief but beautiful relationship with his mother, Princess Diana. But what we didn’t see coming was how the aftermath of her death impacted the young prince at the time. In his memoir, Prince Harry recounts many saddening details about his mother’s death. 

From his father barely showing any emotion or comforting his son after her death, to shaking hands with British mourners but not crying himself, young Prince Harry had a traumatizing childhood that stayed with him into his early adulthood. One of the most shocking revelations to come out of his memoir was the fact that he didn’t believe his mother was actually dead until he was 23 years old.

“With nothing to do but roam the castle and talk to myself, a suspicion took hold, which then became a firm belief. This was all a trick. And for once the trick wasn’t being played by the people around me, or the press, but by Mummy. Her life’s been miserable, she’s been hounded, harassed, lied about, lied to. So she’s staged an accident as a diversion and run away.”

Prince Harry, Spare

Harry wasn’t the only one who came to this conclusion. Prince William and Harry had multiple discussions about where their mother could possibly be, and when she might return for them. But after going through the police report and seeing photographs from that night, both princes faced the heartbreaking reality that their mother was indeed gone.

2. Prince Harry Re-Created Diana’s Death

Prince Harry visits the tunnel where his mother died in France.

Since Prince Harry was only 12 years old when his mother died, many questions came once he grew old enough to understand the details of her death. However, pictures and witness statements only do so much for a grieving son. Harry needed to know just what happened on the night of August 31st, 1997.

While in Paris for the World Cup, Harry decided to ask his driver if he knew of Pont de l’Alma. Soon enough, Harry was face-to-face where his mother took her last breaths. In a similar car, at the same speed, Harry prepared himself for the daunting task of going through the tunnel, but what shocked him was that it wasn’t sinister or inherently dangerous at all.

“We zipped ahead, went over the lip at the tunnel’s entrance, the bump that supposedly sent Mummy’s Mercedes veering off course. But the lip was nothing. We barely felt it. As the car entered the tunnel I leaned forward, watched the light change to a kind of water orange, watched the concrete pillars flicker past. 

I counted them, counted my heartbeats, and in a few seconds we emerged from the other side. I sat back. Quietly I said: Is that all of it? It’s…nothing. Just a straight tunnel. I’d always imagined the tunnel as some treacherous passageway, inherently dangerous, but it was just a short, simple, no-frills tunnel. No reason anyone should ever die inside it.”

Prince Harry, Spare

Unfortunately, this experience didn’t help the prince’s grief and only made his mother’s death all more real. Any doubt that his mother was just hiding somewhere was taken away. Princess Diana was a memory now, and Harry was only just starting his journey on how to heal after the loss of his mother.

3. Prince Harry’s Troubled Past

Young Prince Harry in black coat and yellow tie.

After losing his mother, constantly being compared to his brother, the heir, and not being given any outlets to express his grief and pain, young Prince Harry struggled with alcohol and drug abuse starting at the young age of only 16.

“I had been doing cocaine around this time. At someone’s country house, during a shooting weekend, I’d been offered a line, and I’d done a few more since…it wasn’t much fun. It didn’t make me particularly happy as it seemed to make everyone around me…But it did make me feel different, and that was the main goal. Feel. Different. I was a deeply unhappy seventeen-year-old boy willing to try almost anything that would alter the status quo.”

Prince Harry, Spare

While Harry tried to keep his partying out of the spotlight, it was only a matter of time until the press eventually found out about his weekend activities. The British press hammered the young prince for years about his “rebellious stage.” After these incidents, Harry was known as the Party Prince, and a troubled one at that. But if we take a closer look, this was merely a teenager trying to find some sort of avenue to deal with the anger, grief, and frustration over his life in the royal family, especially after losing the one resource he thought he could always count on.

4. Prince William and Kate Encouraged Harry To Wear Nazi Uniform

Prince Harry's older brother, William with his wife Kate.

The controversy that young Prince Harry faced only continued, and this certain situation was about to blow up in his face for years to come. However, we’re now getting inside details on the Halloween “costume” that has haunted Harry to adulthood. The infamous image of Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform consumed the media for months. But one little detail was seemingly left out of the story, one that has ramifications for the future King, Prince William. 

In his memoir, Harry details that this idea didn’t just come out of nowhere, but was suggested by his brother and his wife Catherine.

“I phoned Willy and Kate, asked what they thought. Nazi uniform, they said…I rented it, plus a silly moustache, and went back to the house. They [William and Kate] howled. “Worse than Willy’s leotard outfit! Way more ridiculous!””

Prince Harry, Spare

It’s not surprising that racism and antisemitism are still running rampant in certain parts of Europe, but the implications behind the future King of England encouraging his young brother to wear such an offensive outfit are deeply troubling. While Harry faced the furry of the press–which was 100% valid–William and Kate were never mentioned in this scandal, until now.

5. Prince Harry’s Time at War

Prince Harry in his military uniform with a green hat.

In one of the more controversial portions of the book, Prince Harry recounts his time spent as an Apache helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. After having such a difficult time at home, his father sat him down to have an in-depth talk about his future. School was never Harry’s forte, and he was far too young to just sit around Buckingham Palace all day. So, his father and Harry came to the resolution that he would go and serve in the British Army. 

Harry’s time spent in the army allowed him some sense of normalcy. Nobody treated him like a prince, the press was nonexistent, and Harry was surrounded by others like him, not just royalty. After fighting for 10 years, Prince Harry eventually finished his service, and now uses his public presence to raise money for veteran affairs around the world.

But in, Spare, Harry breaks open Pandora’s Box and tells the whole world about the lives he took while serving. This has now sparked debate online from veterans to your typical British tabloids.

“I had killed: 25. It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me…I’d been trained to ‘other-ize’ them, trained well. On some level I recognized this learned detachment as problematic. But I also saw it as an unavoidable part of soldiering.”

Prince Harry, Spare

6. A Little Too Intimate, Harry

If you’re looking for a laugh or want to feel secondhand embarrassment, take a look at the veteran retreat Prince Harry attended at the North Pole. This particular section of Spare has been horribly taken out of context in both America and the UK, partially because it involves the “crowned jewels” of Prince Harry. While Harry physically served his country in the army, he also took the time to participate in charity events for veterans. But this event was about to bite off a little more than Harry could chew. 

In 2011, Harry attended Walking With the Wounded charity organization that helps injured veterans after their service. While all of Harry’s intentions were good during this trip, he forgot one piece of protection that would’ve helped him prepare for the -35 Celcius temperatures of the North Pole, a special cushion just for his privates. After walking for miles in dangerously cold weather, Prince Harry’s cheeks, ears, and now his nether regions had all been inflicted with frostnip; the earliest stages of frostbite.

British newspaper reactions to Prince Harry memoir, 'Spare'
British newspaper reactions to Prince Harry memoir, 'Spare'
British newspaper reactions to Prince Harry memoir, 'Spare'

But what took everyone aback was how Prince Harry was instructed to treat the damage to his skin, by putting on Elizabeth Arden cream, which just so happened to be what his mother used. I understand that many are attracted to this situation due to the hilarity and bluntness in how Harry describes his injury, but it’s also good to point out that scenes like these have been completely taken out of context, and it’s not the first time the British press has done this either. In fact, the press has made its claim to fame by taking nuanced topics and conversations out of context, all to make a quick buck, which is unlikely to end anytime soon.

7. Harry’s Conflict With Charles and Camilla

Prince Harry's father getting married to Camilla wearing a grey dress.

Familial relationships all have their ups and downs, more so if your family is in the public eye. From childhood, Prince Harry recounts how his father was never good at handling emotions, especially after the death of Princess Diana. In Spare, Harry describes the morning of his mother’s death with his father.

“Pa didn’t hug me. He wasn’t great at showing emotions under normal circumstances, how could he be expected to show them in such a crisis? But his hand did fall once more on my knee and he said: It’s going to be OK. That was quite a lot for him. Fatherly, hopeful, kind. And so very untrue.”

Prince Harry, Spare

Emotional availability aside, Harry still had a tumultuous relationship with his father and Camilla, far beyond the death of his mother. In Spare and his interview with Anderson Cooper, Prince Harry reveals the worrying implications of Camilla mingling with the British press.

“Because of the need for her to rehabilitate her image, that made her dangerous because of the connections that she was forging within the British press. And there was open willingness on both sides to trade of information. And with a family built on hierarchy, and with her on the way to being queen consort, there was going to be people or bodies left in the street because of that.”

Prince Harry, 60 Minutes

And bodies there were. Charles and Camilla took private information about the lives of Harry, William, and Kate, and made sure their troubles were all over the front page. This issue became one of the reasons why Harry published his memoir in the first place. If his whole life is going to be sold to the public anyway, he might as well tell his own story first.

8. Harry Sees Meghan for the First Time

Between all the gossip and drama, we were secretly hoping for a little bit of romance from the Duke of Sussex. While popular docuseries, Harry & Meghan mainly focused on Meghan’s reactions and treatment from the royals, it was a breath of fresh air to hear about the love story that has taken us all by storm in, Spare

After talking online for months, the time finally came for the two to meet in person, and the description that Harry gives of seeing Meghan is pulling on all of our heartstrings. 

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In Harry’s own words and voice, we get to hear about the moment when fate becomes destiny. The lives of this prince and actress would change forever after meeting each other, sometimes for the best, and other times for the worst. But if there’s one thing that we can hold onto from this scene, it’s that they’re facing all these battles together.

9. The Infamous Fight of Heir and Spare

Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William wearing dark blue suits.

Years before Prince Harry’s memoir came out, we could all tell that the once tight-knit relationship between the two British princes had been splintered. But what exactly caused all the strife? From Harry’s point of view, it all had to deal with his relationship with Meghan. From the get-go, Meghan was disliked in and out of public, but this conflict reached a fevered pitch in 2019. 

A year after Harry and Meghan got married, Prince William had gone to Harry’s home in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace, for what should’ve been a normal conversation. But in Harry’s mind, his brother had already been fed lie after lie from the press about his wife. In Spare, Harry says that William began calling Meghan, “rude,” “difficult,” and “abrasive,” along with other insults that he did not include. 

Once Harry called out his brother for these brutal accusations, it was William who instigated the fight. After pushing and throwing his brother to the ground so hard, Harry broke a dog bowl once he fell, causing his back to be cut up. When William called for Harry to fight back, the younger sibling stayed relatively calm, telling William to get out of his home. 

It’s hard to say what will happen to these brothers now that Harry’s memoir is out for everyone to read, but one thing’s for sure. Any sort of reconciliation between the two is farther away than we hoped.

10. Moving on From the Monarchy


The main criticism that keeps coming up for Prince Harry is why tell all of this to the public? Why not settle these issues in private? But what people seem to be forgetting is that Harry and Meghan tried for years to deal with these issues between the family. However, every time they tried to communicate, their messages would be leaked out to the press. That doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. Those leaks come from somewhere, and as Harry has been in the institution for most of his life, he knows exactly how information gets leaked, by his own family. 

Time and time again, the British royals have shown the general public that when somebody new and successful comes in and takes the attention away from the Monarchy, they will do anything in their power to regain control and destabilize the other. We saw what happened to Princess Diana. And if it weren’t for the actions of Harry and Meghan, we fully well could’ve seen history repeat itself. It’s no wonder that Harry has vehemently stated that while he would love to see a resolution with his family, the chances of him and Meghan returning to royal life are slim to none. 

Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare, was a bombshell of a book, to say the least. From trying any way possible to reconnect with his mother, to the high tensions inside the palace, Prince Harry has certainly told his truth. The only question left to ponder is, what’s next for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex? 

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