‘Spare’ by Prince Harry (2023) Book Review – A shocking and eye-opening memoir

A shocking and eye-opening memoir

Anyone who’s aware of the media will know just how toxic and awful they can be. There’s a reason why any new Prime Minister meets the British press before anyone else. Journalists have unfettered access and a surprising amount of leniency when it comes to breaching privacy laws too. In Mo Farah’s book, he speaks about the suffocating media presence on his family after winning medals, forced to hide inside while paparazzi camped on his front lawn and shouted through the letterbox to him. The News Of The World have been under fire in the past for illegal wiretapping, and they already have blood on their hands for more than one famous face either committing suicide (Caroline Flack) or being driven into a Paris tunnel, never to be seen again (Princess Diana).

The Royal Family have a complicated symbiotic history with the media. Almost all the Royals have faced the wrath of lies and toxicity from newspapers and magazines alike, but perhaps none more so than Princess Diana and Prince Harry. While the former’s fate was sealed that horrible Parisian evening, Prince Harry however has had constant abuse throughout his years of life.

From being called stupid to a partygoing lunatic, all the way across to being a drug addict, Harry’s relationship with the media stagnated the day his mother died and has only grown more sour and toxic as the months and years have passed.

Much has been made of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, with opinion swinging like a pendulum between outright hatred to incredulous disbelief. Following their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey and the subsequent fall-out with the Royal Family, Harry and Meghan have attempted to lift the curtain and explain exactly what’s happened and what’s led them to where we are today.

Spare is a revealing and deeply personal memoir in that respect, ghostwritten by J.R. Moehringer but written in first-person perspective to authenticate the feel of what’s in here. Prince Harry’s book is split across three parts in this 410 page book. After a brief prologue starting at Prince Philip’s death, we cut back to just before Princess Diana’s death, leading through Harry’s years growing up as the “Spare” to Prince William (the “heir”) along with his time in the military and up to the Queen’s death.

The writing itself is mostly reserved to short and snappy sub-chapters, which are split into three parts, the first focusing on the past and growing up, the second on Harry’s time in the military and the third on Harry’s love life and meeting Meghan Markle.

You can tell this whole experience of writing Spare is cathartic for Harry, as he discusses all the ups and downs of his family, including exactly what it feels like being on an allowance and suddenly cut off by his own father, a man that Harry himself calls “boss, banker, keeper of the purse strings.” While the media called him a sponge, Harry himself writes: “there’s a big difference between being a sponge and being prohibited from learning independence.”

There are actually some really great quotes in this book and learning more about Harry and his issues, not to mention his personal demons he’s been wrestling with most of his life (even going to therapy to work through them), makes for a deeply personal examination of a damaged man. A man desperate to work and do right by those around him but also thwarted from doing so by the “cut-throat criminals” and “low-life” journalists standing in his way.

There is a desire, however, for Harry to over-indulge One such story about Harry’s first sexual encounter and a particular case of frostbite feel like they could have been omitted completely. Another sees his experience with magic mushrooms brought out in the open, including talking to a bin. Harry leaves no stone unturned, and on occasion there’s the slight feel of walking in on a stranger having a shower. It’s uncomfortable but perhaps, that’s the point.

While one could argue that this book is simply Harry airing dirty laundry about the Royal Family, the nonchalant reaction from the Palace toward credible threats to Harry and Meghan Markle’s life, including that reinforced family motto of “Never complain, never explain”, make this feel more like a desperate cry for help from a man thrown to the ravenous, hungry wolves of the media.

Spare is an eye-opening and damning assessment of the poisonous media that have a stranglehold over Britain. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have undoubtedly been the subject of a war of words and actions in recent years, and Spare is another bombshell in that battleground. It’s a book that reveals far more about the underbelly of the Royal Family than you’re likely to see anywhere else. Quite how this story will eventually end is anyone’s guess but for anyone remotely interested in the Royal Family, this is an absolute must-read.


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  • Verdict - 8/10
    8/10
8/10

8 thoughts on “‘Spare’ by Prince Harry (2023) Book Review – A shocking and eye-opening memoir”

  1. You are a disgrace Harry and that dreadful woman that you made a huge huge mistake marrying (it will all end in tears
    Harry). I have given up reading this load of complete rubbish
    only after page 66 and I don’t intend to go back to it, CAN I
    PLEASE HAVE A REFUND!!!! How dare you disrespect our
    current King Charles and our future King William by literally dragging both of them continuously through the mud in this
    book. You are a very very jealous individual especially
    regarding your brother William and his gorgeous wife Kate.
    NOW DO THE DECENT THING HERE AND DON’T COME
    TO KING CHARLES CORONATION WE DON’T WANT
    YOU IN THE UNITED KINGDOM!!! It is just a pity that
    William did not beat you senseless with the dog bowl.
    Yvonne Curtis.

  2. It’s about time the truth come out and we’ll done to Harry for getting away from the royals I’m not a fan of thm at all the best part of the royal family was the queen now it’s time to rip thm apart

  3. The book is phenomenal, Prince Harry is telling the truth, somehow I find King Charles has a good heart towards his son, is unable to express his true feelings due to his upbringing.
    I hope that Prince Harry and his wife samt children are invited to the coronation, it will proof King Charles fatherly feelings.
    As for the British press they are despicable, without professional ethics, leading by Pierre Morgan who has not a bit of decency.

  4. If I was able to rate spare hands down it’s definitely a ten! This read will pull at your heartstrings. I applaud Harry for his courage to share with us his painful and happy moments living under the scrutiny of the Royal Palace and that awful UK media. He only had to do three years in the military but he did seven additional years because he was able to find peace, friends and a sense of self in the military. Also, the military helped him escape the press. Harry is truly telling his truth! Kudos to the ghostwriter! The book is well written! There is nothing threatening about Spare. People please read Spare I totally loved it!

  5. Thanks for all your kind words and for reading the review! re. Michelle you’re absolutely right about the ghostwriting, I genuinely didn’t know that so I’ve gone in and corrected the review accordingly.

    Thanks again!

    -Greg W

  6. I appreciate the glass half full review of “Spare” at a time when trashing it has become de rigueur.

    Harry yearns to be understood and sincerely mystified as to how got to this moment. My impression after reading the book is that Harry could have been told/asked anything a million times and he’d still be taken aback. An exasperating personality for family who seems to be pathologically unable to back away from the very media machine he alleges to loathe. A very conflicted and sad man for whom I hope life gets better.

  7. I read it. Just finished it last night. This review is spot on. A difficult life bravely told. Exposing the monarchy and press for what it is. One can forgive the Crown as it’s such an intrinsic part of British history but not the press and paps as piranhas and vultures. Shocking. They should be banned. I think they are at the root of the problem…just think of Diana.

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