Prince Harry’s Autobiography “Spare” is a Must-Read

Melanie Southern, Writer

Spare, the autobiography of Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex, was a popular pick on its release date. With over 3.2 million copies sold worldwide, it beat a world record for the fastest-selling memoir of all time. In the memoir, Prince Harry talks about the struggle of being born into royalty and living life as the “spare.” Prince Harry defines being the spare as “the shadow, the support, [and] the Plan B” and being the “provided backup, distraction, diversion, and if necessary, a spare part” while alongside the rightful heir, his brother, Prince William the Duke of Cambridge.

The book captures many key moments of Prince Harry’s life. This includes the death of his mother, Princess Diana, scandals, serving in the war in Afghanistan, traveling, finding a suitable partner, getting married, and dealing with the press continuously. Each chapter reveals a point of view from his perspective and truly describes what it means to be a royal. Spare doesn’t disappoint. It keeps you interested and I sincerely recommend this book. 

When immediately reading the first pages of the book, the press are mentioned quite often, and would be brought to attention throughout the entire memoir. In my opinion, the amount of times the press was mentioned was a bit overkill. However, Prince Harry’s emotion toward the press is very well expressed through each chapter. He mentions many accounts in which the press has done some serious damage and shares some of the highlights of the press’ antagonizing appearances. Prince Harry first noticed the brutal “paps” as a young child, then as he grew older, without his mother in the spotlight, became the center of attention, along with his brother, Prince William. Countless scandals and false stories were being made continuously. It seemed like they never took a holiday. 

One of Prince Harry’s first significant encounters with the press involved August of 1997. Prince Harry recalled his father telling him the news that would change his life forever: “Darling boy, Mummy’s been in a car crash.” Prince Harry continues to describe how he didn’t recollect what he said that night, however, after the matter, would continuously tell himself that “[Mummy’s] hiding,” particularly from the press. I distinctly like this quote from Prince Harry because it frames the grief he expresses later in the memoir. It also foreshadows the drag of the press Prince Harry would feel later on in his life. 

Grieving the death of his mother nine years later, Prince Harry decided to go into the army. Through his experience in training and constant debate with the palace on whether joining the army was a good idea, Prince Harry finds a way to describe it all. From his experience in bootcamp, to learning to fly a helicopter, and the mental effects of war, you really see how much this experience impacted his life. I loved the description he provided–it was very well done. It felt like being there myself and I admired the picture he painted with his well-written words. After serving in the army for 10 years, Prince Harry begins to experience some mental issues and opens up about his mental health. He includes his experiences with panic attacks, anxiety, and PTSD and embraces therapy as a coping response. I was very pleased to see an important topic being discussed in such a spotlight and appreciated the insight he gave the readers. 

Reaching the end of part two in Prince Harry’s memoir, Prince Harry feels as though he’s falling behind in the relationship department. With his brother married and a second child on the way, the press continuously hounded him with questions regarding his love life. However, finding a suitable partner while being royal is quite difficult. With many of the royal family’s relationships, there was a main problem that was persistent: the press. Many of Prince Harry’s relationships were ruined because of the media alone. When Meghan Markle, now known as the Duchess of Sussex, came into the picture, the press escalated. It was harassment to the extreme. I really liked the emotion described through these moments in his life. He scratches the surface of racist remarks, constant lies and false narratives, harassing of their friends and family, and invasion of their privacy. These are just some examples of what extremities the press would go to and would be the reason why Prince Harry and Meghan would remove their titles. I quite enjoyed the way Prince Harry described these moments. Coming from another angle that isn’t the press was extremely fresh and imprinted the way I see the British media.

Altogether, I think Spare is painstaking. Considering that Prince Harry isn’t entirely into books, and with help from J.R. Moehringer, it’s an engaging piece of literature. Even if you aren’t truly invested in the Royal family like me, I highly recommend this book.