Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
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.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(4 / 5) I rarely read memoirs! How do I rate someone’s life story??
I have to admit, Bookstagram made me read this, cause FOMO is real and I couldn’t be left out of the discussion. I’m not one to keep up with the royals, or anything to do with the monarchy so take my opinion with that in mind.
There is the debate that Prince Harry is whining and complaining. I disagree. A lot of his decisions and experiences made sense to me. While I definitely haven’t experienced what he has, I’ve had similar events in my own life that made him honest and real for me.
Unless you’ve experienced it yourself, losing a parent at a young age just changes your entire future. I wish this wasn’t true, but as an adult I can go down the line of my life and pick out ways I would have been different if I hadn’t lost a parent. It shakes your world and you are forever changed. Sometimes that change comes for the good but many times the child is not able to grieve effectively, therefore affecting their way of just living.
His story reminded me of losing my own parent, how could it not? Those similar moments that a child remembers. Looking at irrelevant situations and trying to see it as a message or sign. Or the “shutting down” you learn because your living parent doesn’t know what to do with you, let alone themself. I connected with him immediately from the shared experiences. I had similar memories and feelings. Then throw in a brother that just doesn’t particularly care for you and the similarities were blazing. Siblings should be relying on each other through grief. However, at a young age it’s nearly impossible to have the skills to be able to do so.
I hate to point out the many more life similarities, because that’s getting a bit too personal but Prince Harry made sense to me. His decisions, while I didn’t agree with a lot of them, still made sense to me. I could see his train of thought, his need for independence, his quest to find himself. While there are always at least 2 sides (more with this one) to the story, I believe with this one there are many truths. I don’t necessarily feel I have a definitive understanding of why they were cut off, but I do feel I understand Harry better. Everything and everyone tends to view royalty as a fantasy, but honestly, it’s always sounded horrible to me. All the people, the responsibility, the paparazzi, the lack of independence, it sounds horrible. I think that’s Harry’s problem: lack of independence. Every single thing he (and Megan) did or wanted to do had to be run by someone or multiple someone’s, even for basic things. I can’t imagine that life. No wonder he left.
AUDIO REVIEW: He read it. Enough said. Y’all know I love when the author reads their own work but as a memoir I feel there should be no question. It felt as if he was telling me the stories of his life. Sad, that he feels the need to tell everyone but I understand that too. It was well done with his beautiful accent and emphasis on stories that nobody else could have done as well.
My takeaway is that being royal is not all it’s cracked up to be. While I assumed this, it was better to hear it with his own words. I’m happy to report that Google says Harry and Megan are living in California and working! I was so worried they were going to struggle to find work to pay for their security. But they are still helping people, now with an aspect of mental health. They are employed through Netflix also and have multiple other companies.
General content summary: F words= 22 (but honestly, that accent is rich. He may have said other words such as feck instead. There were times I wasn’t sure. It’s the American in me coming out!) Content: one being sexually aroused by soldiers being whipped, watching spouse die (previous), attempted assassination (previous, multiple), funeral and grief, references to being circumcised vs not, boarding school mass baths (few details), smoking and drinking and drugs (some underage, multiple, cocaine, psychedelics used to self medicate anxiety, hallucinations, marijuana), hunting (deer, blood on his face, face into the carcass, cutting it up), watching 9/11 on tv, depression, losing virginity to older woman in a field (no details), deaths (natural causes), car accident death and grief, knee injury (blood), trench foot injury (details), killing goats for food (some details), bomb (deaths, few details), IED death (no details), heads on spikes for helping army, child injured, multiple injuries from battle, boys tell stories of lightening strikes and sexual abuse and more, frostbite (genitalia details), naked pics, war killing, anxiety and panic attacks, PTSD, beating and mugging, seeing rhino bodies killed by poachers (details), racism, suicidal thoughts, physical aggression (injuries), laughing gas, suicide death, pregnancies and births, miscarriage (some details), dead body of a family member.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for the gifted copy!
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