Prince Harry’s memoirs mercilessly destroy the royal family. He didn’t go far enough

Queen Elizabeth II, Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry

Queen Elizabeth II, left, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images)

in His memoirs, “Reserve”, Prince Harry spills more British tea than a certain group of revolutionaries did 250 years ago – with results that could be as upsetting to the current monarch as George III’s Boston Tea Party.

Many wondered if the Tell All book, which was published last week, could be contained Enough new revelation To maintain the public interest in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who Six-part docuseries “Harry and Meghan” It premiered just last month on Netflix. The answer so far is A resounding yes: “Spare” breaks sales records and has inspired more headlines than almost any other book in recent memory.

When it comes to juicy tales, “Spare” is just that: no news is too stinging, too trivial, or too controversial to make the cut. The former prince writes about losing his virginity to an older woman in a field behind a pub, stumbling upon mushrooms in Courteney Cox’s bathroom and excitingly meeting his now-wife, ex Meghan Markle, early in their engagement. He also provides more prosaic details, such as the exact number of people he killed while serving in Afghanistan (25) and the belief he clung to for many years that his mother, Princess Diana, did not die in a car crash in Paris but actually disappeared. .

And he’s unflinching when it comes to his family, portraying the Windsors as a cold, dysfunctional, and ruthless clan. A hug beyond pale but leaking stories to the Sun about your kin is standard practice. In Harry’s novel, Charles is detached and relentlessly self-serving, Liam is boring and brooding and Camilla is a conniving stepmother straight from the epicenter of Disney villainy.

For all his scandalous, soul-stirring confessions, Harry is unable to identify, let alone condemn, the true source of his woes: the monarchy itself. While I took in every morsel of gossip about the wedding seating Harry was eagerly willing to share, I kept waiting for him. go there and criticizing the establishment that fostered such unbridled entitlement and bitter resentment in the first place.

Instead, he spent nearly 400 pages building a de-facto case against the concept of hereditary sovereignty—and certainly no one would want to. Choose To have a passionate daredevil like Charles in charge if they could – but ultimately evade the very pertinent questions he raises about the bloodline he once summed up.

for harry, Frostbite little ones are fair gamebut the “M” word seems to be the last real taboo.

“No one wants to hear a prince argue about the existence of a monarchy,” he wrote in the closing pages of the “Speer,” any more than they want to hear a prince argue against it. “My feelings are complicated about this, of course, but my basic position is not. I will forever support the Queen, Commander-in-Chief, my grandmother. Even after she is gone. My problem has never been with the monarchy or the concept of monarchy. It has been with the press and the sick relationship that developed between her and him.” the palace “.

The claim that Harry – who eventually named his book “Spear” – has no problem with the concept of hereditary monarchy, which almost inevitably pits him against his older brother and his father against them, seems disingenuous.

He devotes many pages of diary to detailing the ways, overt and fantastic, that made him feel disposable and inferior from the moment he was born, for no other reason than William getting there first. Early on, Harry remembers how their bedroom at Balmoral was divided into two halves – his brother’s being larger and more luxurious. Later, in adulthood, that tension coagulates in unexpected ways. William, allegedly upset that he couldn’t choose what to wear on his wedding day, tries to pester Harry into shaving his beard. Charles is no better, looking the other way as his wife Camilla allegedly feeds stories to the tabloids about her sons in exchange for favorable coverage and constantly puts his personal interests ahead of theirs because, well, he can.

The banalities described in Spear are startling, as vain controversies over lip gloss escalate into quasi-constitutional crises. And British Republicans, sensing an opportune moment to revive their campaign against the monarchy after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, have mulled over the ugly family drama.

Stacks of books with a man's face on them

Copies of “Spare” went on display at a London bookstore earlier this month. (Ken Cheung / Associated Press)

This rift destroys the monarchy and any sense of mystery or myth that preserved it in the past. Graham Smith, CEO of the anti-monarchist group Republic, said: Recent press release. “Harry has also highlighted the cruelty of an institution that raises children under a strict order of pecking, telling youngsters that they must always consider the rights and ranks of their siblings. This is no way to raise a family, and it is no way to rule a country.”

In fact, it doesn’t take a child psychologist to know that Harry grew up in an unhealthy environment, denied physical affection while posing for the cameras. “No matter how much you love a person, you can never cross the chasm between, say, a king and a child. Or an heir and a cut. Physically but also emotionally. The older generation has maintained an almost absolute ban on physical contact. No hugs, no kisses, No pats.” This included, apparently, moments of intense tragedy, such as Diana’s death. (Harry got a hand on his knee from his father.) When William embraced Harry upon returning home after a frightening incident on the front lines in Afghanistan, it was “a brilliant and unprecedented display of physical affection.”

Whether Harry was willfully naïve or simply in denial, Harry also seems to believe that there is a meaningful distinction between the British press and the institution of the monarchy. However, the two beings share a deep symbiotic relationship, serving as interdependent parts of a system that maintains wealth and power for the very few. Saying “My problem isn’t with the monarchy, it’s with the press” is like saying “My problem isn’t with sharks, it’s with their teeth.”

And on some level, Harry knows it’s hard to defend the establishment in a post-colonial democratic age. says James Holt, a former palace spokesperson who now runs the Archewell Foundation In the first episode of “Harry and Meghan”: “When you actually put [the monarchy] Under pressure and saying there is a family anointed by God with blood to rule this country and other countries around the world, it’s a difficult conversation. For the institution to survive, it must be modernized, but it must also have mass popular support.”

This support, in turn, relies on a steady stream of publicity—most of it of the good kind, celebrating weddings, anniversaries, and lavish nuptials. funerals But so are the endless ribbon-cutting ceremonies. In other words: The royals need the press to cover all of their good deeds, otherwise we might start to wonder where those crowns came from.

This reliance on publicity breeds paranoia and resentment within the family. Harry remembers a particularly tense Christmas at Sandringham, marred by the bitterness of the court publication – the annual record of official engagements of the royal family, which inspired the press to draw conclusions each year about who was lazy and who was a workhorse. “The tension around all of this may have been caused by the overarching pressure around the monarchy itself,” Harry writes. “The family was feeling the tremors of global change, hearing the cries of critics who said the monarchy was outdated.”

Harry may be reluctant to condemn the establishment more forcefully because of how completely he has internalized the imperial mentality. He devotes nearly a third of his “reserve” to his military service in Iraq and Afghanistan, without giving much thought to the role of the British Empire in their history. Some of Speer’s most disturbing passages relate to his experiences in Africa, a continent he seems to truly love but which he writes uses naive cliches: “In Africa all distance vanished. All creatures mingled freely.” He even admits to thinking about getting a Botswana tattoo on his foot during a drunken trip to Las Vegas. Instead, he returns to the tabloids after losing a round of strip poker.

Since stepping away from royal life three years ago, Harry and Meghan have diligently rebranded themselves as progressive celebrity philanthropists. and multimedia business. Meghan’s Archetypes Spotify podcast aims to dismantle “labels that try to hold women back,” while the documentary series “Live to Lead,” her second Netflix project, offers serious glimpses into left-leaning icons like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

They earned their liberal credibility, such as it is, by distancing themselves from an ancient institution and calling out the unfair treatment Meghan received based on her race, class, and gender. However, the House of Sussex has not yet renounced their royal titles. In a friendly interview with “60 Minutes,” Anderson bluntly asked Cooper why they hadn’t taken that final step. The Duke of Sussex (still) replied with a shrug: “And what difference does that make?”

The answer is: a big one.

This story originally appeared Los Angeles Times.

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