On Tuesday, Jan. 10, I flocked to my nearest Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of “Spare”— a jarring memoir by Prince Harry. Like many others, I have taken an interest in the whirlwind of drama produced by Meghan and Harry’s estrangement from the monarchy.
The negative discourse surrounding the division is focused on the couple’s alleged desperation for attention. The couple allegedly needs to stay relevant for money since they no longer rely on funds from the monarchy. And their Netflix series, media appearances and Meghan’s podcast are more than enough evidence to prove it.
The response to the memoir and the surrounding content has been extreme. Leaks to the news and social media have startled audiences with Harry’s account of the number of people he killed in the army.
When reading the book, I found this instance much less dramatic than how it is portrayed in the media.
Harry recounts the number of people he killed in Afghanistan, but doesn’t brag about the number like the press says. Instead, he describes what it feels like to know you have taken a life. During his interview with late night talk show host Stephen Colbert, he shared why he included his kill count in his memoir.
“My whole goal and my attempt with is sharing that detail is to reduce the number of suicides (among war veterans),” Harry shared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
Harry and Prince William have been open about mental health and grief, especially after losing their mother. Many of the issues that come along with Harry’s suppressed grief can be helpful to anyone dealing with their own.
He sends the message that no one is alone. Harry touches on the sheer difference between British and American cultures surrounding therapy. In Britain, therapy has only now become normalized — even though the stigma has not disappeared. In the United States, therapy has been a known mental health aid for decades.
Torture from the British press on family vacations, at school, in his relationships and in all corners of Harry’s life has caused his disdain for the media. His mother’s death was partly caused by her car being chased by paparazzi. He writes that when he saw photographs of the car accident, he realized that the glow of camera flashes was the last thing his mother ever saw.
No one seems to be interested in the wholesomeness of the couple’s story. Aspects such as Harry holding back Meghan’s hair as she vomited from food poisoning after their fourth date, or traveling to Africa together after only meeting twice were not emphasized in the press. It’s beautiful to see a couple so in love and caring about their family.
Would I say “Spare” is worth a spot on your book list? I believe it is. The gossip behind the book undermines that the Duke of Sussex is revealing his darkest thoughts and experiences. Never before have we received such an intimate perspective into the world of Britain’s monarchy.
No matter how you view the royals or Harry, it is undeniable that his passions surrounding mental health, family and philanthropy are respectable. Even if you have trouble looking past this book from a publicity or money-hungry standpoint, these themes are important for everyone.
Harry simply wants to be listened to. He yearns to share his story on his terms — not to be exploited by the press like he has been his entire life.