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Prince Harry calls the book Spare and shows that he has not moved away from the royal family


What are you looking for in a beach read? An exciting page-turner, all dead drops and men named Sergei? A saucy romance where bodices get ripped and bosoms rise a lot? The story of a brave Yankee lawyer fighting for justice in the American South?

Really, when it comes down to it, what most of us want when we’re sandblasting ourselves on the beach and forget to reapply SPF 50 is to be entertained and drawn into exciting new worlds, not, as a rule, wallowing in the agony of a dysfunctional family for hundreds of pages.

Come early next year, though, that’s something we’ll be able to do after this week’s announcement Prince Harry the upcoming memoir hits shelves and Kindle on January 10.

Then on Friday the name of the book is Spare – and the coveran awkward close-up shot Duke of Sussex steadily looking straight down the barrel of the camera, were released with great flourish.

The whole thing almost audibly throbs with emotion and meaning; here is a man, as we are told, who knows how to take offense.

What is so noticeable is the distinctly negative tone of the whole affair.

Let’s start with the name, which seems to refer to the expression “heir and spare”. It’s impressive that even after almost three years in North America – three years where he was able to make his life his own, freed from the royal restrictions and finally given the freedom to show the world who he it is – Harry sense of identity is still so tied to what it is not, ie. the heir.

If anyone was wondering if the duke has serious issues with not being destined for the throne or his family’s treatment of him because he’ll never wear the crown, voila !

The “Spare” selection doesn’t say much here, and clatters and clatters about the place with a cacophonous din. Harry may be long out of the palace gates, his endless collection of gray polo shirts and beaded bracelets now in Montecito, but ‘spare’ means he has yet to truly move on. After all, it would seem, he still views himself through the prism of his monarchical status.

Having chosen the title, the Duke and his publisher didn’t take this opportunity to introduce the world to Harry 2.0: An All-American Edition, perhaps building their image on optimism and a certain “heal yourself!” cheerfulness of spirit, but instead of selling him to the masses as a man defined by an unmistakable sense of sacrifice.

Duncan Larcombe, former royal editor at The sun and Harry’s biographer told The Daily Beast: “Spare is a bad word in the royal realm, where it’s a pejorative, highly loaded term that suggests you’re a replacement and not important.”

At what point will he take control and start defining himself by what he did with his life instead of his childhood?

Another question raised by the title is whether Harry expects us to feel a ton of sympathy for him because his brother is destined for the throne and he was destined for a role of undermining understudy? Again, it’s a stupid scenario he’s put himself through, but is anyone entitled to even a shred of sympathy just because he’s not going to be king? There is no violin in the world so small as to play here.

“I’m not sure how good it’s going to be,” Larcombe said beast. “He may not have had the easiest life, but who did?”

Then there’s the book cover with his olive t-shirt and sun-bleached lighting that suggest a sort of military atmosphere. Has a picture been taken that reminds of his two tours in Afghanistan? Really convince readers that this is a man who served his country beyond opening a hospital wing from time to time? Again, Harry seems pathologically stuck in the past.

Unsurprisingly, the royal family are reportedly unimpressed with the Duke’s title, with Telegraph reporting that it was “particularly painful for family members who tried to help the prince avoid a ‘back-up’ role when he was a working royal”, while one royal source described the choice as “very serious”.

“Imagine if he published this while the Queen was still here?” another source of reasoning.

It’s also worth pausing to consider just how far the memoir might be from what was first announced in July 2021, when Harry said in statement“I write this not as the prince I was born to be, but as the man I have become.”

If what was revealed on Friday is any indication of the “man he’s become”, it’s someone who still carries the emotional baggage of the A380 with him and who can’t or won’t move on.

I’d like to know what happened to the “inspiring, courageous and uplifting human story” that Penguin Random House first promised readers last year? how now Spare it all looks about as much fun as being stuck next to the newly fired, slightly tipsy Liz Truss at dinner.

Harry’s story was always meant to be shaped and shaped by tragedy. The man went through hell. No one can ever look at these shameful images of him and his brother Prince William walking behind their mother’s coffin and not feel so deeply for this 12-year-old boy with a broken heart. (Lord only knows the psychological toll this experience took on his very young psyche.)

And yes, Harry had a pretty terrible time as a child and teenager, growing up in a family that seemed much happier killing little birds or hiding Queen Victoria’s ivory collection than expressing emotion.

That means Harry got hit by the trash, but… so did hundreds of millions of other people. Yes, there is a certain amount of uniqueness to his suffering, but it is also, unfortunately, all too common. His suffering does not make him unique.

All of which leaves us here: Is Harry okay?

I ask not jokingly, but completely seriously. If these new details from the book give us the tiniest glimpse of what’s rattling around the 38-year-old royal’s head, then it would seem like a dark place indeed.

If Harry hasn’t found peace by now, can he ever be? He’s got his own 16-bathroom mansion, years of therapy, a wife he clearly loves to the core, two adorable kids, and a string of fat commercial deals to keep his days and his bank account going. If that’s not enough to free him from the pain of his past, can he ever be free from them?

Here’s a wild, purely speculative, rosy theory (no facts were harmed in the creation of this): The Harry of 2022 is a much happier guy than we ever imagined, loving his new life and starting each day with a bang! But this story? Well, he’s saving that for the second book.

Daniela Elzer is a writer and royal commentator with over 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media outlets.

Originally published as The title of Prince Harry’s new book suggests he hasn’t moved on

Read related topics:Prince Harry


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