11 Takeaways From Prince Harry’s Memoir, ‘Spare’

Fear of public speaking morphed into a fear of crowds, and then full-blown anxiety attacks on the cusp of his 30th birthday. In the book, Harry sees the afflictions as a form of PTSD, attributing them to both his military service and the death of his mother. When he told his father what was happening, Charles said: “I suppose it’s my fault. I should’ve got you the help you needed years ago.” Harry writes: “I assured him that it wasn’t his fault. But I appreciated the apology.”

A trip to the North Pole left Harry with some discomfort. “Upon arriving home I’d been horrified to discover that my nether regions were frostnipped as well, and while the ears and cheeks were already healing, the todger wasn’t,” he reports. When home remedies — like applying Elizabeth Arden cream — did not work, he finally saw a doctor.

One evening during their courtship, “Meg said something I took the wrong way,” so “I snapped at her, spoke to her harshly — cruelly.” Meghan left the room. “I went and found her upstairs. She was sitting in the bedroom. She was calm, but said in a quiet, level tone that she would never stand for being spoken to like that.” Harry writes:

She wanted to know where it came from.

I don’t know.

Where did you ever hear a man speak like that to a woman? Did you overhear adults speak that way when you were growing up?

I cleared my throat, looked away. Yes.

Harry told Meghan he’d tried therapy, but it hadn’t helped. “No,” she told him. “Try again.”

The exchange between father and son when Harry announced his intention to marry did not go as expected.

Does she want to carry on working?

Say again?

Does she want to keep on acting?

Oh, I mean, I don’t know, I wouldn’t think so. I expect she’ll want to be with me, doing the job, you know, which would rule out “Suits” … since they film in … Toronto.

Hmm, I see. Well, darling boy, you know there’s not enough money to go around.

I stared. What was he banging on about?

He explained. Or tried to. I can’t pay for anyone else. I’m already having to pay for your brother and Catherine.

Harry writes: “Pa didn’t financially support Willy and me, and our families, out of any largesse. That was his job. That was the whole deal. We agreed to serve the monarch, go wherever we were sent, do whatever we were told, surrender our autonomy, keep our hands and feet in the gilded cage at all times, and in exchange the keepers of the cage agreed to feed and clothe us.”

But it wasn’t about money, of course: “Pa might have dreaded the rising cost of maintaining us, but what he really couldn’t stomach was someone new dominating the monarchy, grabbing the limelight, someone shiny and new coming in and overshadowing him.”

“The public had been told that I was to be best man, but that was a bare-faced lie,” Harry writes. “Willy didn’t want me giving a best-man speech. He didn’t think it was safe to hand me a live mic and put me in a position to go off-script. He wasn’t wrong.” Still, he managed to present the newly married couple with an ermine thong at the wedding reception: “The room let out a collective gasp,” he writes, then “a warm, gratifying wave of laughter.”

“I couldn’t think of a single human being in the 300,000-year history of the species who’d done more damage to our collective sense of reality,” he writes. But those hired to shoot photographs for British tabloids are targets of his anger, too.

“The paps had always been grotesque people, but as I reached maturity they were worse,” he says. “They were more emboldened, more radicalized, just as young men in Iraq had been radicalized. Their mullahs were editors, the same ones who’d vowed to do better after Mummy died.”

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