Spare, Prince Harry’s autobiography, is an ill-advised romp

Bookshop staff stack books from Britain's Prince Harry's autobiography 'Spare' at Waterstones, London, Britain on January 10, 2023 (Reuters)
Bookshop staff stack books from Britain’s Prince Harry’s autobiography ‘Spare’ at Waterstones, London, Britain on January 10, 2023 (Reuters)

What is the most embarrassing moment of “Spare”? Is it when the prince harry describe how you lost your virginity to an older woman who “smacked me on the tail” and used you “like a young stud”? Or when she talks about her frozen “penis”? Or when she reveals that Meghan calls his dogs – British readers, look away – “stuffed babies”? Or, or, or…

The distance explains Harry at one point in the book, “between oneself and them”, that is, between us and him, is “an essential part of royalty”. But here there is no distance. None. You can even see the freckles on your body when you undress and they check you for ticks on balmoral.

When the leaks of “Spare” began to appear on January 5, an atmosphere of delighted disbelief settled in the British newsrooms. The royal correspondents, accustomed to subsisting on crumbs – a hint buried in six hours of anodyne nonsense from Netflix here, a brave first day of school for the prince george over there – suddenly found themselves sated with revelations about everything from how many Taliban (25) killed in Afghanistan until their “nether regions”. Best of all, these disclosures did not come from press hoaxes, but were volunteered by Harry in exchange for money. The press grew rich on the shame; Harry got rich on shame.

It may interest you: “Spare, in the shadows”, by Prince Harry: the key passages of the controversial book

In a way, this book is funny. Penguinthe publisher, had threatened with some “literary memoirs”; fortunately, “SpareIt’s not nearly as boring. His literary style is that of a masculine thriller. His phrases are simple; disturbing thoughts occur to you Harry on italic; the paragraphs are short and forceful.

To give effect.

It is, in short, a game. And obviously the access is excellent. Alan Bennett wrote a novel about the queen in which she imagined the humdrum side of royal life, and this book does it better than Bennett. You learn that the footmen served the young princes their televised dinners under silver domes, like kings in a cartoon; that her grandmother made a very good salad dressing; than the king Charles III he would stand with his head against a door in his underpants to ease his back.

Everything is very attractive. But it is also somewhat doubtful. “the autobiographyhe once wrote George Orwell, “it is only to be trusted when it reveals something shameful… since any life seen from the inside is simply a series of defeats.” This book manages to feel both a series of defeats and something unreliable at the same time. Things are rarely just the fault of Harry. The decision to go to a costume party as a Nazi is explained by saying that he was simply following the orders of Herr und Frau Obergruppenführer William and Kate. They seem that kind. Stretcher she is an intriguing villain; Carlos he is a wimp; an editor is apustule”. Only Meghan -“it’s perfect, it’s perfect”- is exempt.

Despite all the fiddling, this book seems less like a lark than a terrible miscalculation. Harry, as he himself points out, is the creature in the golden cage. Presumably he hoped to free himself by writing his memoirs. But the cage is not built for royalty, but for the eyes of the public.. By revealing so much, all he has done is bring the bars closer. The Firm it would have prevented him from producing a book like this. And that would have been a service.

© 2022, The Economist Newspaper Limited. All rights reserved.

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