When Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare,” hit bookstores on January 10, 2023, it quickly became an international success that forever transformed the Duke of Sussex’s public image.
With sales in the millions from day one, the controversial book unleashed a wave of scandal inside and outside the walls of Buckingham Palace as it exposed ultra-private details of the prince’s life along with scathing criticism of other prominent British royals.
A year on from its publication, we review the unprecedented publishing phenomenon that continues to generate headlines about its author, for some detractors the disgraced spare now dubbed the “vengeful prince.”
Spare, Prince Harry’s memoirs
Despite attempts to conceal its contents before release, leaks from the publisher allowed some of Harry’s explosive confessions about episodes of violence with his brother or his 25 Taliban killed in Afghanistan to reach the media days ahead of schedule.
The uproar was massive. The memoirs, written by the writer J.R. Moehringer, offered a crude X-ray of the inner workings of the royal family, with abundant details about quarrels and resentments.
While Harry initially contemplated not publishing the book after he visited the UK for Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, he eventually went ahead with his plans.
The result: more than 3 million copies sold worldwide in its first week in bookstores and a multimillion-dollar profit for the author thanks to a juicy pre-contract.
But the publishing success was accompanied by a perhaps definitive estrangement from the rest of the Windsors.
From the palace, there was no comment on the content, but Harry’s verbal attacks on Charles, William, and Camilla in “Spare” would have dynamited any possibility of reconciliation with them.
Twelve months later, there have been no rapprochements and the prince remains absent from family events.
Despite alleged last-minute revisions to soften certain passages, Harry’s words about his closest relatives were unrelenting.
From calling William an “archenemy” to holding Charles responsible for his emotional shortcomings, each chapter was riddled with darts at the Windsors.
For many, the publication of the biography marked a turning point in the public’s antipathy toward the Duke and Duchess of Sussex couple, now seen by some British media as opportunists thirsty for money and media attention.
A recent poll revealed that Harry’s popularity fell to 36%, his lowest level to date.
Be that as it may, a year after the publication of “Spare” it is clear that the book changed everything for its author.
While it achieved great heights of fame and personal enrichment, it also seems to have dynamited his family ties perhaps irreparably.
Time will tell whether the prince will one day manage to rebuild the bridges or whether he will continue to cultivate his image as the “black sheep” of royalty.