Too spare to care – Harry: The Interview is now streamingWatch now
Ever since Prince Harry released Spare, his 407-page tell-all exposé of life in the palace and the latest Windsor wars, we’ve been snuffling through the juiciest titbits like piglets at the royal trough. If the word “todger” now brings to mind frostbite, fancy face cream and The People’s Princess, we’ll be joining you at the eye bleach station – cheers!
After that, if you have questions or you aren’t going to read the book at more than R1 per page (R550 per copy) but still want to know about some of the most tantalising bits, Showmax has snatched up Tom Bradby’s face-to-face with the Prince in Harry: The Interview.
Here are 10 of our most shocking revelations from Harry: The Interview.
1: Gaslight, gatekeep, etc
Harry claims he has spent six years trying to convince his family that the ongoing racist and misogynist attacks on his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in the media are dangerous (and not just to her), to no avail. “Everything is just, ‘No, you, this is not what’s happening. You are imagining it’. And that’s really, that’s really hard to take,” Harry tells Tom.
“You can’t just continue to say to me that I’m delusional and paranoid when all the evidence is stacked up, because I was genuinely terrified about what’s gonna happen to me. My wife shares her experience. And instead of backing off, both the institution and the tabloid media in the UK doubled-down.”
2: “Mummy faked her death”
Harry reveals he blocked out an enormous number of childhood memories following his mother’s death when he was 12: “I lost a lot of memories, on the other side of this mental wall.” And that for five years he even partly (like 70%) convinced himself that his mother was alive but in hiding for five years.
In a book extract read during the interview, we find out that the family didn’t bring in therapists and counsellors for the princes, and that a lot later, when Harry admitted he was struggling, King Charles admitted with a genuine sense of apology, “I suppose it’s my fault. I should have got you the help you needed years ago”.
3: Who killed Diana? The paparazzi
Harry notes that when he demanded the top-secret government files on his mother’s death during his teens, his secretary first removed any photos that showed the dying Diana’s face, despite the fact that paparazzi surrounded her taking pictures from every angle as she died.
In his 20s Harry asked to be driven through the tunnel in which his mother died to see the conditions for himself and he insists in the interview that the paparazzi are to blame for her death, saying, “The people that were predominantly responsible for it, all got away with it.”
This discussion is directed at supporting Harry’s campaign for media reform – perhaps an appeal to those who might hate Meghan, while still being Diana obsessed.
4: The call is coming from inside the house
Harry exposes his stepmother Camilla’s habit of leaking details of personal conversations with Prince William to the tabloid press. “Stories began to appear everywhere in all the papers about her private conversation with Willie, stories that contained pinpoint accurate details, none of which had come from Willie, of course. They could only have been leaked by the one other person present,” says Harry in an extract read from the book.
In the interview, Harry claims that the family has been not only complicit in Meghan’s vilification in the press through their silence, but actively contributed to it. Harry declares. “My family have been briefing the press solidly for well over a decade … what people are starting to understand now is that a royal source is not an unknown person, it is the palace specifically briefing the press, but covering their tracks by being unnamed. Some of the most heinous, horrible things that have been said about me and my wife, are completely condoned by the palace ‘cause it’s coming from the palace.”
5: The actress
Harry believes that William and Kate built up a mental image of what Meghan would be like as a successful Hollywood actress (in the book he notes they were both massive fans of her legal drama show, Suits) – high maintenance with don’t-you-dare-make-eye-contact energy. He points out that the royals not only read the tabloids, they are obsessed! And it absolutely colours their opinions of people and their treatment of strangers (again, playing into Harry’s campaign for media reform, using his own family as a model for demonstrating how the tabloids drive bigotry).
“It felt to me as though, unfortunately, stereotyping was causing a bit of a barrier to welcoming her in … If you are, like a lot of my family do, reading the press, then there is a tendency where you could actually end up living in the tabloid bubble rather than the actual reality,” he explains.
6: You don’t know me like that
Some of the bad blood between Meghan and Kate seems to stem partly from Meghan trying to comfort a moment of forgetfulness from Kate by ascribing it to post-pregnancy hormones, which Kate took offence to because she saw it as crossing a line and getting too personal. And the press cycle pitting the women against each other did not help.
“The idea of the four of us being together was always a hope for me. But, very quickly it became Meghan versus Kate. You can’t hide from that. Right? Especially when within my family you have the newspapers laid out pretty much in every single palace/house that is around,” Harry says.
7: William the rage monster
William, a grown man in his 30s, physically attacked Harry and threw him to the ground during an argument in which he accused Meghan of being “rude”, “abrasive” and alienating half the household staff, then demanded that Harry hit him back, which Harry, an actual grown-up, refused to do.
“William and I used to fight all the time. Now the difference to that was when we were kids, we used to shoot each other with BB guns, we used to have firework fights, all of this stuff that I talk about in the book. What was different here was this level of frustration. I saw this red mist in him,” says Harry, adding, “So much of the relationship between me and William and the way it played out was because of the distorted narrative that was being pushed through the British press.”
8: “On mummy’s life”
Harry reveals that within his immediate family, the most solemn oath or promise they can make is to swear on Princess Diana’s life. In his book he calls it, “the secret code, the universal password, ever since we were boys those three words were to be used only in times of extreme crisis, ‘on mummy’s life’. For nearly 25 years we’d reserved that soul-crushing vow for times when one of us needed to be heard, to be believed quickly, for times when nothing else would do.”
9: The Jeremy Clarkson thing
Hatred has been fanned to the point that in December 2022, Victoria Newton, editor of The Sun newspaper in the UK (owned by US-based company NewsCorp, which, like Fox News, is owned by Rupert Murdoch happily printed an “opinion” column by former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s in which he ranted, “Meghan, though, is a different story. I hate her. Not like I hate Nicole Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level. At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her … Everyone who’s my age thinks the same way.”
Not the least bit reassured by Jeremy Carkson’s “whoopsy, clumsy me” non-apology (paraphrasing), Harry says in the interview, “What he said was horrific and is hurtful and cruel towards my wife, but it also encourages other people around the UK and around the world, men particularly, to go and think that it’s acceptable to treat women that way. There is a global pandemic of violence against women. It’s no longer a case of me asking for accountability, but at this point the world is asking for accountability.”
10: He won’t call his family racist, but …
When Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie, was born, “There was – there was concern about his skin colour,” Harry admits. But when Tom asks him, “Right. Wouldn’t you describe that as essentially racist?” Harry replies, “I wouldn’t, not having lived within that family.”
Which is certainly interpretable in a number of interesting ways. As Harry goes on to talk about the concepts of racism and unconscious bias, this is one of the segments of the interview worth re-watching carefully, because of how slippery he becomes when Tom tries to pin him down on the royal family’s attitudes to race and what Harry has implied in previous interviews, like his 2021 talk with Oprah Winfrey.
Bonus: He might not attend King Charles’s coronation!
Harry implies that what’s needed is an actual apology and acknowledgment of his family’s culpability in the press’s treatment of Meghan. “There’s a lot that can happen between now and then. But, you know, the door is always open. The – the ball is in their court. There’s a lot to be discussed and I really hope that they can – that they are willing to sit down and talk about it, because there’s a lot that’s happened in six years. And prior to that as well,” says Harry.
Final impressions of Harry: The Interview
This is a fascinating snapshot of the key points in Prince Harry’s argument in favour of updating press standards and accountability – as he uses the royal family as a test case to show how even his family has been divided by NewsCorp (primarily) and other media conglomerates’ tactics to drive sales through inciting hatred.
We also see Harry sheep-dogging his interviewer with little nips when the conversation strays off this track. And it’s a bit of an eye-opener about how well versed he is in creating slippery statements that imply clear criticism, but allow him to steer clear of accusation when someone tries to pin him down.
Watch the trailer for Harry: The Interview
Five favourite no-context book bits that got left out in Harry: The Interview
- He went to his brother’s wedding with a frostbitten … appendage … that not even Elizabeth Arden face cream could help, besides which, the scent made him think of his mother.
- He lost his virginity to an older woman at the age of 17 in a field behind a busy pub – and rushed his fences to the point that he found her reaction to his technique humiliating.
- Growing up, (then) Prince Charles referred to Harry as “the spare” to his face and joked about his paternity. Harry writes, “He’d laugh and laugh, though it was a remarkably unfunny joke, given the rumour circulating just then that my actual father was one of Mummy’s former lovers: Major James Hewitt. One cause of this rumor was Major Hewitt’s flaming ginger hair, but another cause was sadism.”
- At Ludgrove school, the female matrons bathed him and dressed him and tucked him into bed at night until he was 13 years old.
- After Harry moved out, Camilla turned his bedroom into her dressing room. In the palace. Because they’re short on rooms there.
Who’s Tom Bradby?
British journalist Tom Bradby was ITV’s royal correspondent during the 1990s. He conducted the first official interview with Prince William and Kate Middleton following their engagement in 2010 and was a guest at their wedding. He also made a BBC documentary, Prince Harry In Africa, covering Prince Harry’s charity work in Lesotho in 2016.