Review | ‘Spare’ by Prince Harry



Spare by Prince Harry
Published on January 10, 2023
by Penguin Random House
Genres: Memoir, non-fiction
The fonder the memory, the deeper the ache.


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.

My Thoughts

Was this an amazing memoir? No. Were there a lot of parts in the middle I skimmed or glossed over because I couldn’t possibly care less about Prince Harry’s time in the army? Yes. But do I applaud him for trying to take back control of his narrative and exposing the British Royal Family for their hypocrisies that basically ended up holding him and his wife captive, and driving Meghan Markle to thoughts of suicide? Absolutely. All of the supposedly backhanded and malicious excerpts where Prince Harry airs dirty laundry between them and his family members is totally justified, so don’t even believe everything you read in the media. The anecdote about his penis malfunctioning after a visit to the North Pole was completely random and served no purpose whatsoever, though.

I think the weakest part of Spare is the fact that, aside from his mother and the family drama that is/was his life, his life in general… hasn’t been all that interesting? It’s marked by toxic masculinity, unresolved trauma, and uber amounts of privilege. But that didn’t surprise me based on what we already know about Prince Harry. But I do applaud him for doing the work to confront his demons and process the grief from his mother’s death that he never processed at the time. And I’m always here for pettiness and spilling of tea. Get them, Jade! That being said, if you’re on the fence about reading this book, I’d sooner recommend watching Harry & Meghan on Netflix, which is better.

Centuries ago royal men and women were considered divine; now they were insects. What fun, to pluck their wings.

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