After watching some of the recent interviews with Harry and Meghan, my curiosity was piqued to read Spare by Prince Harry. For those who have been following along, this is a great book. Fans of Princess Diana will appreciate it too. The book effectively captures his tone. It offers the kind of inside look that audiences never get access to. Prince Harry bravely takes up vulnerable and taboo topics in the book. He openly admits to his bad behavior. He openly admits to his anxiety and depression.
Where this book is a triumph is in its ability to show the royals as real, fallible, human people. Of course logically we know this, but due to tabloids, celebrities often get distilled down to products for consumption rather than treated as real people. I appreciated that about the book.
Strangely, I sort of identified with some aspects of Prince Harry’s experience. He writes about visiting the site of his mother’s death years later and mentions that its the first time he’d been to Paris, but I assumed he would have traveled to all of the world’s major cities frequently. His visit was in close proximity to my own first visit to Paris. But for me, it was more understandable. I was raised in a rural location without a lot of firsthand experience with the outside world. I could read about it, but I’d never actually, for example, walked the streets of Paris. It’s great, but it’s also a somewhat isolated experience. Prince Harry’s experience seems somewhat similar. While school and studies take up a big part of his life, another big part of his life seems to have been safely sitting alone in castles.
It’s clear that Prince Harry is traumatized by the loss of his mother at the hands of paparazzi. It’s clear that the trauma informs his own reaction to the paparazzi today, and that’s made even more evident in his drive to protect his new family. While others may say that he should ignore it, or that by recounting these baseless stories in his book, he’s just giving them more air time. There’s no accounting for a broken heart and how it will make you feel and what it will make you do.
I am sympathetic to Prince Harry, but I don’t see eye to eye with him on everything. I don’t need to. In fact, challenging the audience in these areas is probably part of what makes him so compelling. I am more sympathetic to the circumstances of the other members of the royal family. I think they’re in both a really privileged situation and a really limiting one as well. As is made clear in Spare, the royals are, again, real people with all of their own strengths and challenges, living within a limited, but also very privileged world.