‘Spare’: Is it a royal fantasy?

Dennise Delgado

The rave of Spareby Prince Harry headlined social media from the day of its release on Jan. 10.  As a reader, disliking the memoir came as a surprise. 

The memoir is filled with written accounts of his most impactful memories and ranges from tragedy to love as we step into the life of a royal. We get to see Prince Harry process the grief and hardships to which he endeavors, but are these emotions an excuse for the controversy that follows him?

The title Spare,” as Prince Harry explains, was birthed by the nickname King Charles called him throughout his childhood. With Prince Harry’s older brother Prince William holding the title of heir to the crown, Prince Harry was seen as the “spare.”

The book is divided into the three parts: the death of Prince Harry’s mother Princess Diana, his time in the military and his love story with Meghan Markle. 

Focusing on the death of Princess Diana, King Charles breaks the news to both sons who later, after years of grieving, eventually accept the passing of their mother. 

Prince Harry explains his enrollment at boarding school became a prominent memory when dealing with the death of his mother. It is clear he needed his family during this moment in time but, as he expresses further into the chapter, his family was emotionally distant and couldn’t give him the support he needed. 

During his time at boarding school, Harry’s title became the “rebel” as he experimented with drugs, despite his denial of any allegations at that time. 

Prince Harry’s journey to the military raises the most controversy. According to Prince Harry, of the two Afghanistan tours he was involved in, he had killed 25 suspected Taliban insurgents.  

“It was not something that filled me with satisfaction, but I was not ashamed either,” Harry said. I think his honesty attracts readers like me who were surprised by his blunt statement and questioned how closing himself off emotionally in regard to his time in the military contributed to his shamelessness and impartialness. 

The book then shifts its focus to the love shared between Meghan and Harry. Although some have called this chapter self-absorbed and out of touch, I find their relationship to be a perfect example of love at first sight. 

Meghan and Harry’s timeless love story kept me intrigued, only to eventually learn about the low efforts Prince Harry put into resolving issues between Meghan and Queen Elizabeth. I was disappointed by his lack of effort in easing tensions between his wife and mother, especially because it would’ve healed and strengthened their relationship. 

A recurring theme throughout the book is exposing the reality of royalty. For Prince Harry, the unknown privileges of royalty included a loveless childhood and complex grief. 

I noticed that Prince Harry’s portrayal of the royal family was filled with negative comments and hostility. By solely conveying his side of the story, there is no space for members of the royal family to contribute or defend themselves. 

The memoir is anything but conventional as it meshes adventure, laugh-out-loud stories with frostbitten private parts and brotherly confrontations. With a span of emotions, readers can develop sympathy and a new understanding toward Prince Harry. 

Overall, this book’s intention of storytelling forces us to follow the raw and unfiltered truth of Prince Harry’s past. I suggest this read if the British royal family and Prince Harry’s upbringing intrigues you. 

For me, reading “Spare” simply repeated information I already had knowledge of from the media or interviews. This memoir is for understanding the controversy that follows him, but not much more than that. 

Rating: 2 out of 5