Thursday, June 15, 2023

Book Review: Spare by Prince Harry


Goodreads Overview:

It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on.

For Harry, this is that story at last.

Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with anger, with loneliness—and, because he blamed the press for his mother’s death, he struggled to accept life in the spotlight.

At twenty-one, he joined the British Army. The discipline gave him structure, and two combat tours made him a hero at home. But he soon felt more lost than ever, suffering from post-traumatic stress and prone to crippling panic attacks. Above all, he couldn’t find true love.

Then he met Meghan. The world was swept away by the couple’s cinematic romance and rejoiced in their fairy-tale wedding. But from the beginning, Harry and Meghan were preyed upon by the press, subjected to waves of abuse, racism, and lies. Watching his wife suffer, their safety and mental health at risk, Harry saw no other way to prevent the tragedy of history repeating itself but to flee his mother country. Over the centuries, leaving the Royal Family was an act few had dared. The last to try, in fact, had been his mother. . . .

For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.

Jacque's Review:

I have been a fan of the Royal Family for as long as I can remember and have read several books about Princess Diana, the Queen, etc. I really enjoyed listening to this book on audio with Prince Harry as the narrator. He did a fantastic job as a storyteller, but as is the case with every autobiography, we are only hearing one side of the story. 

I really felt for him and what he had to go through after his mother died, dealing with the stalking by the media, and the fear for his family's safety. I don't blame him in the least for wanting to be able to live a "normal" life. (He isn't exactly living like a commoner out in LA with the lucrative deals he and Meghan have made selling their story, but it is far more normal than life as a working royal.) 

I found it interesting to read about his tours of duty and the charitable causes he has supported over the years. Being able to use his influence for causes he believes in, similar to what his mother worked so hard for, is very noble. His time in Africa seemed like some of the best times in his life as he was recounting the stories. He could be himself and help others with very little contact with photographers. 

He did air a lot of dirty laundry related to his relationship with his brother, Prince William, and his father. The way Harry views some of their more recent interactions, and I'm sure what ultimately caused him to sell out the family, is really sad. I'm sure his mother would be devastated to see how their relationship unraveled, but like I said...we are only hearing half of the story. I was hopeful that Harry would eventually rejoin the family once all of the media drama died down, but after the Oprah interview, the podcasts, Netflix series, and now this book, I'm afraid he has probably burned that bridge. 

The fact that Meghan and their children did not attend the coronation of King Charles is a pretty clear indication that things are still on shaky ground. Can you think of a better way to celebrate your birthday than to attend the coronation of your grandfather? Instead, they used Archie's birthday as an excuse for the family not to attend. It is sad that the children do not have a real relationship with Harry's side of the family or an opportunity to learn their family history firsthand. 

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