“That was the night all doubt fell away. ‘She’s dead,’ I thought. ‘My God. She’s really gone for good.’” 😭😭
⭐️ Five stars for Prince Harry’s memoir Spare. ⭐️
When I heard Prince Harry was coming out with a memoir, I initially wasn’t interested. Not sure what changed between the announcement and release date. Perhaps I got caught up in the hype? 1,400 holds on the physical copy at the library certainly got my attention. Anyway, I listened to the audio version on Audible and devoured this book in a week. (He reads it so that helps a ton.)
What I expected from this memoir: A brief history of his life, revealing how he felt losing his mom, a few spicy details about the royal family, a strong defense of Megxit, a takedown of the British press, clearing up some widespread rumors. It’s all there. Check, check, check, check, check, check.
But it’s so much more.
First of all, the tea – as they say – is PIPING HOT ☕️. There are some shocking details in this book. We need The Crown to keep going so they can dramatize some of these scenes. Sheesh! Ultimately, I finished the book liking William a lot less and Kate a little more. (I like Kate, but I know a “mean girl” when I see one 😏). Camilla is the true villain though and Charles is a mess. Overall, I can’t believe there is still a literal monarchy in 2023 🙄
But I digress…
Spare wasn’t ALL drama. He talked A LOT about losing his mom and thinking she wasn’t dead. For years he thought she willingly disappeared and was going to come back for them . The quote I opened this review with is what he said when he finally realized – ten years – later that Princess Diana really passed away. Losing her is a thread that is woven throughout the book 💔
He also talked at length about his life in the military. It clearly meant the world to him. Wasn’t super interesting to me, but other readers might like that part 😬
I was most surprised about his enduring desire to get married. He talked about being in his late twenties and early thirties and longing for a wife and family of his own. That surprised me because, for a while, Harry was the most eligible bachelor in the world. Remember that weird reality show “I Wanna Marry Harry” and it was a Prince Harry lookalike, but the women contestants supposedly thought it was really him? Truly bizarre television. Harry describes pretty transparently how lonely he felt and how much he wanted to have his own family.
And then he met Meghan Markle.
Part three should have just been called “Harry loves Meghan and that is the beginning, middle, end, and everything you ever need to know”. Have you heard the quote, “the face that launched a thousand ships”? That is how Harry feels about Meghan. It’s so sweet and kind of funny to me how flabbergasted he is that everyone is not as enamored with her as he is. He’s basically yelling from the rooftops: “this is the smartest, most beautiful, most selfless, most talented, most perfect soul to walk the planet.” And the rest of the Royal Family just shrugs like “she emails her staff early in the morning & that’s rude” and “don’t bring her when you say your final goodbyes to your grandma” 😵💫
It’s not clear why they didn’t like her. Perhaps they thought the relationship moved too fast? William and Kate dated for ten years and King Charles dragged his relationship with Camilla through decades and an entirely separate marriage for both of them. So perhaps they thought Harry and Meghan should have waited a few years? I’m not sure. But it’s clear the Royal Family wasn’t invested in Harry and Meghan’s success as a couple or as individuals. In fact, reading this memoir does give you the impression that had the Royal Family actually defended Meghan to the press for once instead of standing by while she received an unprecedented onslaught of criticism and attacks, they would have never left.
What an awful situation for Meghan to marry into!
I don’t like how the British press painted Meghan as this divisive person who broke up Harry and William’s happy brotherhood. Clearly, the princes were never besties. In fact, Harry comes off somewhat delusional when he talks about wanting to get married and be “the Fab Four” with him, his wife, William and Kate. Prince William clearly had no interest in a close relationship with Prince Harry and getting married wasn’t going to change that.
I also cannot comprehend what it’s like to grow up in the very definition of “the lap of luxury” and then be tossed out into the world with no work history, ability to make money, or security (that you’ve had around the clock since birth). THEN have your family say it was YOUR decision. The way they’ve treated Harry is just cruel.
But I’m providing too much general commentary now 🙂
Back to the book: I was NOT expecting Spare to be so…relatable. If you know what it’s like to lose a parent suddenly, or what it’s like to think “when this happens [I get married, have a baby, etc] this terrible familial relationship over here will be magically fixed” or what it’s like to fall out with family members, or what it’s like to be the subject of terrible rumors, or what it’s like to long for a solid committed relationship, or what it’s like to walk away from the thing that was basically your identity, you will find yourself in these pages.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a memoir about a perfect person. This is not the Bible and Harry is not Jesus Christ. He’s made mistakes. He has done dumb things. He has some reasonings that make no logical sense to me. At times, he paints himself as a selfless hero and others as cartoonish villains. He lacks touch with reality in some parts and he is “woe is me” in others. He gets a little TMI in his descriptions and he leaves big gaping holes of information in other descriptions. Plus, this is only one side of a complex reality with various perspectives.
However, he comes off as a great person just trying to find his way in the world. It’s sad that he has been treated as a “spare” for his entire life.
Overall, this is a fantastic memoir, completely living up to its massive hype. I highly recommend it!