top of page

BOOK REVIEW: Spare by Prince Harry

“He was, I realize now, one of the most truthful people I’ve ever known, and he knew a secret about truth that many people are unwilling to accept: it’s usually painful.” ― Prince Harry, Spare

Like a lot of people, we were both excited for Prince Harry's autobiography to be released. While there have been documentaries, interviews, etc. coming out about Prince Harry and Meghan's perspectives, nothing quite so explicit to Prince Harry had been released. Our book club was also interested in reading this, so it became our latest book club read. And oh boy is there a lot to discuss.

First off, this is really a book about his life up until this point, not just since his relationship with Meghan began (which a lot of the press surrounding this release really honed in on). Now of course we're going to preface our whole review with the disclaimer that we know every story has more than one side. Much like Kelsea Ballerini's new EP states, "The rumors going 'round, but the truth is kinda nuanced."

It was shocking, yet not at all, the relationship between William and Harry - "the Heir and the Spare." If both have been living in the same toxic environment for years, with similar yet vastly different expectations of them, of course there is going to be animosity and tension. The extent of it, however, was not something we were expecting. We've even gone back and watched some of the interviews Harry mentions in the book to see if we can pick up on any of the things he brings up, and if you pay close enough attention, you can pick up on little looks and smirks, especially coming from Prince William. It is also a little sad to us to see the tension and competitiveness between the brothers from Prince Harry's perspective. As two brothers, and young boys, who went through a horrific tragedy, and mainly only had each other to lean on, you would think that relationship would be the most important and loving for the two of them. They both lost their mother. They both had to grieve and be present in the public eye. Only they can know how the other may be feeling and coping. We can never imagine being in that type of situation, but we would imagine leaning on a sibling would be the most comforting.

Speaking of Princess Diana, we find it heart wrenching that Prince Harry did not receive the grief counseling he so desperately needed. It was clear through the many pages of this book that Prince Harry did not receive the support he truly needed, and even did not fully believe his mother died. How far into his teens did he keep referring to his mother's disappearance rather than her death? We both found this incredibly sad and yet so telling. Instead of spending the necessary time to work through his feelings and even his thoughts of what occurred, he is instead thrust into the limelight of the world to watch his every movement as he grieved and went through the motions of the funeral arrangements. Then fairly quickly after this, Prince Harry is sent off to boarding school, in the mindset of, "Okay, that is done, let's move on." You could tell from Prince Harry's point of view he thought he would have his brother to spend time with, to lean on, and to even just be there for him, but no. Prince William told him explicitly that he did not know him while at school. Harsh, but coming from an older brother perspective, understandable.

We also loved seeing Prince Harry's relationship with Africa. The friends and the experiences he found there may have been just what he needed to find peace in a life filled with so many negative experiences. And it seems that may have been when first had spiritual experiences that really altered the course of his life. Granted, he already had a connection with Africa because of his mother, but he really took her legacy and expanded on it so much that it has now become part of his legacy as well. It was nice to see that Harry found a passion in Africa, as well as friends who seemed to have become chosen family.

While we loved Spare, we do realize there are inconsistencies. However, one of the big ones we've been hearing about is how he and Meghan continue to interact with the press despite leaving the Royal Family because they wanted a quieter life. Our opinion, based on the book, is that they mean the British press. They have harassed his family for years, generations even, with no repercussions. And, in fact, even had help from other members of the Royal Family, which was quite shocking. We were most surprised, or maybe we shouldn't be, of how Camilla used the press and Prince Harry's antics to her benefit to look better in the public eye. And on top of this, Prince Harry mentions there were times both Camilla and Prince Charles used the British press to their benefit and to Prince Harry's detriment. Reading that is quite shocking - this is your son, and you are going to paint them in a negative light to the world to benefit yourself? Once Meghan came into the picture, the hate campaign emerged, and Prince Harry and Meghan were pitted against Prince William and Catherine. How and why? As Meghan mentioned in the Oprah interview, why does it have to be one or the other? You can like one of them and not have to hate the other. Who truly began this comparison, with Catherine always shining and Meghan always in the negative?

Additionally, Harry did seem to go pretty easy on his "granny." Which we understand based on the references to them each treating each other special compared to other relatives. After all, once he lost his mother, Queen Elizabeth was the mother figure for him. Reading through the pages and lines, we think Granny was his source of comfort in some ways, and he brought fun and laughter to her. However, there is no way the Queen was so ignorant of the things going on around her. Was she aware family members called Prince Harry "Spare" to his face, or is that how things are done in the Royal Family (the Queen's own sister was called that as well)? Did the Queen approve of family members using the press against each other, or did her own team do so as well for her own benefit? When Prince Harry and Meghan reached their true limit of pain and negativity, did she truly listen and try to help them, or make it as difficult as it ended up being? We will never truly know, and as we already said, there are two sides to every story.

It was empowering to see Prince Harry found a purpose for himself with the military. To see him find strength, courage, belief in himself and what he was capable of was inspiring. He went through rigorous training and wanted to be there alongside his comrades, the men and women he spent weeks and months with learning each other's strengths and weaknesses. Seeing himself as a danger, not only for himself but for his fellow comrades, was sad. We were glad to see he was able to find a compromise and a way to spend some time overseas to fight for what he believed in. Though we don't know if he should have shared quite as much as he did about his experience, we appreciate his candidness and openness. And taking those moments, experiences, and connections, and putting that to one of the best uses he could by creating the Invictus Games was beautiful. We think it is that one thing in his life he can truly feel he made the biggest difference ever for the men and women who have put everything into their military careers and sustained life changing injuries and illnesses.

There is no doubt Prince Harry has experienced insane amounts of physical and emotion hardship throughout his life. With each negative experience or situation, he finds a way through, resilient as ever. He comes across as a dedicated and talented soldier who loved what he did. He comes across as an ordinary guy just trying to live his life, find love and happiness in the simplest of things (binge watching Friends made us both laugh as we love that show!). He also comes across as a very privileged young man who has had access to education, people, and places that many others could not dream of. With all this in mind, we truly feel for Prince Harry. At the end of the day, we feel he is still just the lost, little boy searching for his mother and direction. That one moment in time truly changed the rest of his life, and who can say if it was for the better or worse.

We will not dive too deeply into the relationship between Prince Harry and Meghan. There is a lot of negative press about the two of them, and there is also a lot of media news catching the two of them in lies or changing things they have said. All we will say is that Prince Harry printed a beautiful tale of the two of them falling in love. We are happy they had longer together as a couple before they were outed to the world than we thought. It sounds like a whirlwind romance and the fact they both chose each other, even knowing how difficult it could be, is beautiful. We wish them all the best and hope that the choices they have made bring them happiness in their lives.

Overall, we saw a lot of comments of how this book was not good, and was just a hate filled tale of Prince Harry's unhappiness and spilling his family's secrets. We did not see this. We thoroughly enjoyed this story in the fact we were able to learn more about Prince Harry from the direct source himself. Reading his side of many moments in history we saw in the news was enlightening. And truthfully, we were both saddened by how lost Prince Harry came across through most of his tale. We truly wish Prince Harry can find happiness in his new life and some semblance of peace when it comes to his family, the Royal Family.

If you’d like to see what we are reading now, check out our Goodreads profiles (Kelli and Chelsea) or follow 2 Girls Bookin' It on Instagram and Facebook! Thanks for reading with us!

14 views0 comments
bottom of page