Prince Harry Should Not Have Written Spare


The controversial book written by Prince Harry leaves much to be desired. Image by Amazon

Everything about Spare is bold, from the revelations that Prince Harry drops about William’s hairline to his startling cover. A debate has been raging over several controversial points in the book including a Hitler costume, a frostbitten “todger,” and many juicy family secrets. Harry didn’t hesitate to spill the British tea on all aspects of life as a monarch. This was a mistake. 

Before reading Spare, I had a very specific perspective on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. As a recent 16 year old, I was too young to remember the tabloids that slandered and dissected Prince Harry’s life. I had no knowledge of his drug use, partying, controversial costumes, or previous girlfriends. Because of my unique timeline, the first memory I have of Harry and Meghan was the Oprah interview. When I watched the Megan and Harry documentary on Netflix, the show seemed to confirm the image of a couple in a horrible situation. Spare didn’t completely destroy that image but it did cast his priorities in a different light. 

One of the Archewell Foundations slogans is “shared purpose, global action, leading the way with compassion.” One might assume that Spare would have the same underlying themes and bring attention to the problems he has been campaigning against. There was so much potential to share why certain foundations are close to his heart or what drastic steps he took to protect his family. Spare did include some of those topics but spent the majority of the book talking about drama within his family, getting drunk, and killing people in Afghanistan. Those subjects are not off limits, but he spent less than a paragraph condemning the dehumanization of the Afghanistan people by the army. To put that in perspective, he references William’s hair loss and appearance multiple times in the book. As such a strong advocate for “leading the way with compassion,” it was disappointing that Harry didn’t have a lot of compassion for the 25 people he killed. 

Eric Schriffer, chair of Reputation Management Consultants, told Newsweek, “The backlash largely comes from the cognitive dissonance created when you build a brand on a positive foundation and then you turn it into a missile aimed not at a third party enemy but at your father and your brother.” As a cynic of William and Charles, I didn’t really mind all of the digs at his relatives. From my point of view, they deserved to be taken down, and yet the constant negativity in the book did seem out of character from the wholesome, good-doing Harry. 

In my opinion, Harry had the perfect opportunity and misused the publicity that came with the book. An autobiography was the perfect way to tie mental health issues to his own experience with therapy. Over the years, Harry built a respectable platform that a lot of people supported. Hearing about a Prince going to therapy could inspire others to seek help. Harry did briefly mention his mental struggles but didn’t dive deep into the problems that need to be fixed. 

Due to his position, Prince Harry was able to travel all over the world. In doing so, he saw the many obstacles facing countless people. It isn’t Harry’s job to fix everyone’s problems but it isn’t a good look for him to rant endlessly about the family drama and ignore the other issues he claimed to support in the past.

Prince Harry’s priority in Spare was holding the press accountable for their many past wrongdoings. That is entirely understandable and valid based on how much was taken from him by reporters. However, critics say that the book including personal conversations and revelations about his family is hypocritical. There isn’t much of a difference between the press publishing gossip and Prince Harry publishing family drama. Prince Harry responded to the criticism by saying: “That would be the accusation from people who don’t understand or don’t want to believe that my family have been briefing with the press.” I have no trouble believing his family is backstabbing each other to the press. My issue is that Harry sunk to their level instead of simply telling his side of the story. 

The Harry and Meghan documentary was absolutely perfect. It showed their side of the story without entering the pointed accusations flying from the palace. The book wasn’t a good idea in the first place, but would have worked if it simply focused on “leading with compassion.” Spare managed to turn Prince Harry into a controversial topic in America where he used to be widely supported. I personally think he should have left it at the documentary. The book was a misstep for Harry, but maybe in the future he can recover and focus on the good work being done by the Archewell Foundation.