What if you were born a prince in one of the most notable royal families in the world? But you are superfluous prince, called the spare. You can only be the heir if your father, brother, and your brother’s kids die.
What if you were born so famous that the media can’t get enough of you, but you are told to never overshadow your grandmother (the queen), father, or brother? The limelight follows you, but you must seek shadows. Act cute, but never juvenile. Never show disgust at the photographers who hunt you.
What if you were born privileged, but as you grow older, the privilege feels like a burden? You are told to appreciate your privilege. Never complain. You feel like you are serving a life sentence rather than a life of opportunity.
What if you were born the object of a relentless media that focuses on controversy and tells stories about you that you know are not true? But you are not allowed to defend yourself or your family.
What if you were instructed to date only non-controversial women whose families are above reproach?
Prince Harry, born of Charles (now the king) and Diana in 1984, tells his story in Spare, which is creating waves that reach around the world. In the book, he opens up about parts of his life that have not been so golden. And he is angry.
His mother’s death in 1997 left him, at age 13, wondering when she would come back. Today, he blames the paparazzi for chasing Diana and her boyfriend, leading to the fatal car crash in Paris. He says that the independent photographers tormented his girlfriend and now-wife to the point that he and Meghan had no choice but to seek refuge in Canada and, eventually Santa Barbara County in California, where they have stayed. He blames the media for its “racism, misogyny, criminal stupidity” in its reporting about his wife, an American actress.
I found Spare to be believable and sincere. Harry tells some stories like a victim, but credits many good times as a member of the royal family. He loves and misses his family in Britain, although he says they are “dysfunctional.” He believes that life with Meghan and their two children in Montecito offers more freedom and safety than it would have offered in Britain. Also, he moved for his own sanity. Harry has sought counseling to help him deal with anxiety and depression, very unroyal struggles.
He apologizes for his screwups, like when he wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party. He feels that he has a right to explain his mistakes, but his family has pressured him to stay silent. He tells about clashes with his brother and father. There are specifics about spats between his wife and William’s wife Kate. A few of the stories about his family and himself may be too personal to be made public, but they are making headlines, likely boosting book sales.
Harry describes his school life and military training that led to two tours of duty in Afghanistan, including one as a helicopter pilot. He service was interrupted each time when the enemy proclaimed him a prime target, leading his superiors to pull him from the front to protect him and his fellow soldiers.
The book, ghost written by Pulitzer-winner J.R. Moehringer, is well-written, but the content is repetitive. I don’t doubt the stories are Harry’s, but I found myself wondering how the book would have turned out if he wrote every word himself.
4 thoughts on “Harry Pleads: Spare Me and My Family”
Interesting post, Reg. you say: ” I found myself wondering how the book would have turned out if he wrote every word himself.”… it would be different for sure. I am not sure I will read it. I tend to stay away from drama etc.. What would this book teach me ? We read to learn something that can be useful , to inspire us ( like you hikes… it is funny because I am watching videos on YouTube about TMB – with Efren Gonzalez and I mentioned to my husband that I should re-read your book ( if ever I get time). How is your planning of the VP progressing ?
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I think you would enjoy the Tour du Mont Blanc…we walked it in July, which worked out well.
We booked the Via Podiensis, or the Le Puy route, with Walk the Camino, which worked with us on an itinerary and took care of half-board accommodations. We did the same thing on the TMB and it worked well. We normally book our own and carry everything, but decided to have luggage transport this time. We plan to walk from Le Puy to St. Jean; we begin Sept. 3 and finish Oct. 18, with three rest days and an extra day in Le Puy and one in St. Jean.
We have friends (including you!) who have walked it and recommended it, and we have wanted to do it for years. A challenging trek, as you and your husband know, but we are excited about it. As they say, easy things are often boring. I will definitely reread your book!
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Fantastic. i would not say it is too challenging as long as your feet have no problem. And not having to carry your bag will make a difference. the first stage is the most “challenging” but I see you are taking 11 days to get to Conques which is good. You are going to sleep in 20 of the 37 villages/towns where we stayed. Are all the meals included in the cost ? I hope you get to visit with pilgrims during this Camino as for me it was certainly on the the highlight of this time in France. I am so happy you get to walk the Chemin du Puy. You know that I post videos of each stages on YouTube ? so far there are 3 or 4 from the VP and one from Spain but there are going to be almost all posted by the time you get to leave for France… If you have any questions about VP, send me a mail…
Thanks for your note! Our planner split several long days for us, so our itinerary is a bit different than the one on their website. Yes, all breakfasts and dinners are included. We may miss some of the pilgrim interactions because we are not staying in gites…we loved that part of the Camino Frances when we stayed in albergues most of the time. We have watched some of your YouTube posts and plan to watch more!
Thanks for your nice offer…we will be in touch as questions arise.