“Spare” Book Review

The divisive controversies of Prince Harry’s life and relationship come to light in his new memoir.


Iyla Hernden '26

After leaving his royal position, Harry and Meghan have been on a tell all campaign, including the recent memoir Spare.

“Pa? Willy? World? Here you go.”

This is how Prince Harry introduces the first chapter of his memoir “Spare,” a book that gives us a closer look at the royal family from someone who actually experiences life as a royal. In “Spare,” Harry dives into the years of headlines about his personal life and familial struggles – from his mother’s death to his time in the army to his marriage to Meghan Markle and his decision to leave England. He leaves nothing out and even expresses personal details about his health, sexual experiences, and intimate family conversations. This book was engaging and shows the royal family’s life behind closed doors. “Spare” is divided into three sections. In the first section, titled out of the night that covers me, Harry discusses his relationship with his mother, the second section, titled bloody, but unbowed, depicts his experiences fighting in Afghanistan, and the final section, titled “Captain of my soul,” showcases his relationship with Meghan Markle and his decision to leave the UK.

In the first section, he details his mother and early childhood living in the public eye. Harry recalls the moment he first learned of her car crash at age 12 and remarks that he couldn’t accept the news and still held out hope. He even considered that Diana had staged her death to run away from the paparazzi and royal family. Harry describes public support during this time as overwhelming and that he was angered by how many people were crying over a woman they didn’t really know. Harry continuously recalls her presence, influence, and even feeling like she was in the room with him at some points. Princess Diana’s life and death shaped Harry’s life and he expresses his memories of her fondly. Harry also expresses his lack of privacy as a royal in this section. He remarks that after his mother’s death, the sounds of cameras started to sound more like the cocking of a gun.

Harry then discusses his experiences fighting abroad in Afghanistan as it was the first time a royal had been deployed in 25 years. He remarks that public opinion on this event varied from those who thought sending a royal into battle was unwise to those who resorted to an “If he dies, he dies” philosophy. These stories prompted Harry to reconcile going to war by saying that if he died at least he wouldn’t have to deal with fake headlines again. Harry also recalls his experiences as a royal in war and that he could not go anywhere without an escort. His experiences during the war contributed not only to his public image but also to his understanding of navigating being a royal in the outside world.

The final section of “Spare” is dedicated to Harry’s early adult life and his relationship with Meghan Markle. He is continuously featured in British tabloids for everything from his alcohol use, his beard, and eventually for his relationship with Meghan Markle. While they were dating and eventually after their marriage, tabloids often criticized Meghan for being American and a person of color. Harry points out the hypocrisy of these tabloids who praised Kate but critiqued Meghan for seemingly every choice she made. This coverage causes Meghan to blame herself and Harry describes an interaction where Meghan states he would be better off without her. This lack of privacy for himself and his wife is described as being a major part of why Harry left the royal family in the first place.

“Spare” has been very successful, with the memoir selling over 1.4 million copies on its first day of sale, making it the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time. Prince Harry and Meghan have even been featured on talk shows, getting the opportunity to tell their story to Oprah Winfrey and the world. They even produced a documentary on Netflix that shares their story and is Netflix’s second most successful documentary series.

Overall, “Spare” was funny, engaging, and informative. I would rate this book an 8/10 and I found it to be compelling and intriguing. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story, whether they are familiar with the royal family or not.