As in his time on the battlefields of Afghanistan, prince harry He pulled the trigger and fired a missile that blew everything up. A bomb of 550 pages which is already a literary milestone with millions of copies sold —something less and less common in the more visual and less textual world of the 21st century—, a source of scandalous and scandalized headlines, and a reading that intersects juicy passages with others much less memorable .
the scandal yields and that is nothing new. More than anything when the famous, successful and powerful take their clothes out in the sun. Perhaps it is because ordinary mortals savor the pleasure of seeing that their lives are not so idyllic, or because we are intrigued to know how those who are far from our daily world live, or because they have converted -thanks also to the permanent exposure that the social networks and the internet in general– in soap operas 24/7 that we follow with the spirit of rabble, criticism or curiosity. And whoever comes looking for that, or a juicy text about royalty, will have it here in abundance.
And the figures know that scandal pays off. Because it allows them to give their version without so many intermediaries (even through fiction), tell their “truth” and, above all, capitalize on it. Veteran artists do it with literary biographies, documentaries, with series or films about their lives, who take advantage of their brand and make a few last millions before retirement or to order their wills, Shakira does it singing her criticism of Gerard Piqué, and now does the prince, with In the shadow.
The objectives of the book are inferred as it is read: the first, more personal, is the cathartic factor. It is an attack against the darkest face of the British media, against the tabloids and against the paparazzi. Also against the family disappointments to those who claim a lack of support at critical moments; is a volley against his brother Williamwhom he paints as an aggressive, frustrated and vengeful type, and is, perhaps, the one who is left in the worst position in the whole matter.
Prince Harry published his controversial memoirs
It is also a way of taking control of the debate motivated by his departure from the royal family, motivated by the pressures and attacks that he and his wife suffered. Meghan Markle, as was the interview that the two gave to the American host Oprah Winfrey in 2021, or the Netflix series that shows his life and that premiered in December of last year. And now that they are no longer financially dependent on the British monarchy, safe money is not bad.
The most scandalous revelations
Between The CrownHarry’s debacle and the death of the queen elizabeth ii, the British royal family has not lacked for new controversies or the rescue of some old ones. A good part of these events are recapitulated by the prince in his memories, which somehow have the death of his mother, Dianaas the trigger for a good part of the traumas and confrontations that he later went through in his life and that he recapitulates here.
While the Princess of Wales generated waves with the book that Andrew Morton wrote in 1992 thanks to his direct testimonies, Harry takes that post, although presenting himself as the author of his own book (which has as its ghostwriter to JR Moehringer, author of openthe biography of André Agassi) and not much is saved.
According to In the shadowAfter Diana’s death, Harry was left relatively adrift between a father who didn’t know how to bond with his children, a brother who imposed distance, and a clan that saw him only as a “replacement”, as someone who didn’t matter much for himself. his position far in the line of succession to the throne.
In addition to the logical pain of loss, Harry puts the media in the spotlight as those responsible for constant and systematic harassment, without any kind of control and sometimes even favored by the royal house. Harry accuses his father, his stepmother Camilla and family employees of allowing the media access to confidential information or allowing falsehoods to be published to whitewash his public and media image and to beat him instead of him. to them.
Refers to royal life as a “golden cage” on different occasions, and above all, he states that the alleged rivalry with his brother and sister-in-law Kate was not so much a media invention as a reality, generated by a kind of culture clash with Meghan and by jealousy of his brother, frustrated with the impositions generated by his role as heir.
Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP
Harry’s estrangement with his brother William is one of the hottest points in the book.
Harry recounts physical attacks from William and other quite intense verbal ones for details such as being allowed to wear a beard and not him. He reviews his experiences in the Army and claims to have killed 25 Taliban fighters, recounts his experiences with drugs (cocaine, marijuana and hallucinogens, from mushrooms to ayahuascato which he assigns a therapeutic role and a necessary escape at a critical moment in his life), says that Markle flirted with suicide during her first pregnancy due to harassment by the media, and points out that on a trip to the North Pole she suffered sores on the penis from the cold.
Apart from being spicy, the book articulates moments of self-parody humor with others that are more prosaic and sweet. Very sweet. Much of the tone and pun is lost with a translation that doesn’t do a book that feels a little bloated much favor, though it stands to reason that Harry wouldn’t want to stick to the punches or the more complicated and also summarize. his idyllic link with Africa or review his charity work, which are also part of his life.
Framed by two funerals – that of his grandfather, Prince Philip, at which time he confronts his father and brother in a cemetery about their flight to California, a scene that seems straight out of The Crown, and that of his grandmother, whose death he learned from the press—, In the shadow It is an uneven and even contradictory book.
The book was published worldwide on January 10.
Although it is clearly noticeable that there are things that he is careful not to tell (the queen almost does not appear in the narrative and ultimately does not finish solving why she went to the United States beyond her confrontations with the media), the book is for a painful side and the clear exercise of exorcising traumas brought to light thanks to therapy. It is the story of a man who suffers from being in the public eye all the time, since he had to walk behind his mother’s coffin during his early adolescence, and the review of the life of an aristocrat who faces problems like those that Any other person can suffer and he realizes that he is one more human being.
But it is also a book about an aristocrat who, although he understands that he is privileged, does not manage to get out of the scheme that this implies, and there are moments in which, quite simply, he is a bit stuck. Like when he recalls the incident in which he was dressed up as Hitler at a costume party or when he uses the racist term “paki” to address a fellow soldier and claims ignorance about the implications of those issues (as a full-fledged adult). . Or without noticing that not everyone can escape his problems and take refuge in a mansion in California. Of course, bought with a mortgage.