Dissenting opinions over Prince Harry’s autobiography ‘Spare’


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Prince Harry’s memoir “Spare” already has become a bestseller, providing an inside look on Prince Harry’s life and that of his wife, Meghan Markle.

On Jan. 10, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, released his new memoir titled “Spare.” The New York Times puts it among the list of bestselling hardcover books in recent history, selling over 400,000 copies in Britain alone on the first day of its release.

According to Town and Country magazine, the memoir was ghostwritten by J.R. Moehringer, a writer responsible for various well-known autobiographies. The memoir is the latest in a number of inside looks that the Duke and his wife, Meghan Markle, have released detailing their lives at Windsor Castle. The couple also has done a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, a six-episode Netflix documentary series, and several interviews with news stations worldwide. 

The memoir’s title, “Spare,” ties in with the word’s historical use. It is a word that has been used to describe members of the royal family for decades. As Victoria Murphy writes in her Town and Country article, “Princess Margaret was often described as Queen Elizabeth’s spare and Prince Andrew (and sometimes ostensibly Princess Anne) labeled the spare to Charles. It is a word that Harry knew was attached to him as he grew up alongside his brother, the heir Prince William.” 

Leading up to the release of “Spare,” members of the British royal family have found themselves in the middle of some controversial debates and conversations, but this is not the first time that they have been embroiled in controversy. Many people recall Princess Diana’s exit from the royal family after her divorce from the now-reigning king of England, then Prince Charles. After her exit from the institution, Princess Diana did a series of media interviews where she opened up about her experiences, both good and bad, in the royal family. 

Guilford College sophomore and psychology major Darniece Carter thinks that the late princess’ actions influenced the actions of her son, saying, “Harry noticed the positive feedback and attention that she was receiving, and this prompted him to take the same course of action. “

Years later, the family was immersed in scandal again when Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, leading to a media frenzy. In recent years, Prince Harry has been very vocal about the treatment that his wife has endured at the hands of the U.K. media.

The Duke has stated that he blames the media for the death of his mother, and he did not want the same to happen with his own wife. Some see the couple’s hardships and blame the U.K. media for being a racist entity that will protect the crown no matter the cost.  After the broadcast of the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Marverine Duffy, director of undergraduate journalism at Birmingham City University in Birmingham, England, told CNN that “‘right-learning’  U.K. media were targeting Meghan simply because she is black. However, critics have posited that while Harry has spoken out against the negative attention his family has recieved from the U.K. press, he and Meghan tried to grab the spotlight in the U.S media. In a segment of TalkTV posted on the “Piers Morgan Uncensored” Twitter account, Morgan said, “He calls the tabloids ‘the devil’…but it’s his smirking face on the cover of the U.S. tabloids, which he’s done interviews with.”

Attention-seeking or not, “Spare” takes readers into a world beyond what the media has shown and gives a first-hand account, by Prince Harry himself, of what he lived through as a part of the British royal family. There are numerous detailed accounts in the book that have shocked readers; responses vary among different audiences. Don Lemon, a host on “CNN This Morning,” said on his show that the memoir is “gauche” and questioned the Duke’s intentions with this release. 

Several Guilford students believe that this memoir could shape the view that spectators have about the royal family, including junior Seth Jeffries. When asked if he thought this memoir would have a more positive or negative effect on the way that the public views the institution as a whole, Jeffries said, “I believe it depends on who you ask. Perhaps it will humanize the royal family. They won’t be seen as much as media focal points, but also real people who have family problems like we all do.”