Like millions of people I eagerly awaited the arrival of his book ‘Spare’. Ignoring the various media comments on this book, I threw myself into the revealing 400 odd page account. Starting with a meeting Harry starts to explain his actions to his father and brother but they weren’t listening. That is his reason for writing “my story, my words”.
“Ok Harry, let’s hear it”
It was a well written book, as one might expect from J. R.Moehringer, his ghost writer, who also wrote Andre Agassi’s book “Open”. The account is told sensitively, touches all the emotions, humour, sadness, anger and frustration and is an attempt to correct the imbalance, although I doubt this will be the vehicle.
The life of a member of the royal household is different, steeped in antiquated tradition with some people always in the public eye. The persistent hounding of the press and photographers can have an exhausting wearing down effect. The family’s rules of not showing emotion, not responding to false or inaccurate claims, and saying nothing is one way of remaining out of the argument, but as Harry describes in the book, he feels that it should be countermanded. Also the revenue generated from this story must help his financial status, since he no longer receives any income from the Crown.
There have been reviews that it “is part confession, part rant and part love letter. In places it feels like the longest angry drunk text ever sent”. Is it surprising when he had to keep his emotions and feeling suppressed? After all he is a redhead, a statistically rare group, who are known to feel a profound sense of being not only different from other people but also inferior and insecure. Fighting and jealousy amongst siblings is quite normal for most families. However the way Harry describes these events, suggest that he wanted to hold onto an idyllic belief of a happy family, and found these events disruptive.
A troubled boy is apparent. Most know that childhood trauma can have devastating consequences. I felt at times that he was very insecure. Studies of red headed children reveal they often receive negative treatment leading to lowered self-esteem, that they feel different, and cognizant of being the centre of attention.
It maybe difficult to forget all the bad press but do try. This is a well written account of a seriously troubled person trying to find his way in life. Hounded, or persecuted by the press, and with little or no support from the family firm, the book starts with his school life. Another example of having to follow tradition, despite it not suiting the individual. The following description of his army career and the excursions into Africa show a much happier and even a well adjusted person. Once again the hounding of the press for a scoop on more than one occasion, deny him his following of this career, as it puts the rest of his unit in danger. Prince Harry may not have demonstrated any particular academic prowess, but he flourished in the military.
The writing is both frank and intimate. There are glimpses of happier moments with his grandmother, father and brother. Suffering from appalling panic attacks, he is still expected to speak and appear in public. It is a book that invokes exasperation, anger, laughter and sadness from the reader. There are various reviews calling it a weird collection of events. One review in support is from Henry Mance of the FT. It is not a story of a sophisticated and polished young man, but more one of a real person struggling to find himself, come to terms with the traumatic death of his mother and not being able to protect his new family.
The book changes in tone after his meeting with Megan and the start of his romantic life. He despairingly recounts the relentless hounding of the press and their stories with no countering from the establishment. It triggers the reoccurrence of his mother’s death and his fear of not being able to protect his new family. Forced away from the privileges and protection of the royal household he has to seek protection, financial funding and privacy.
What are your views?