With a name as pointed as Spare, Prince Harry’s memoir was always going to be a figurative bombshell of revelations about the royal family. Even so, it’s safe to say no one was quite prepared for how explosive it would be.
While its release date fell on January 10, leaked copies made their way to several media outlets, which published a bunch of its biggest bombshells. Now that the book has finally dropped, it’s safe to say the media storm has reached new levels.
So with that in mind, we’ve rounded up the biggest revelations from Spare. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
1. Prince William allegedly physically assaulted Prince Harry
In Spare, Prince Harry claims he and his older brother Prince William got into a fight which turned physical inside the kitchen of Nottingham Cottage, where the Sussexes were living at the time.
Harry alleges the fight began when William called Meghan “difficult” and “rude” (Meghan wasn’t present at the time).
“[William] set down the water, called me another name, then came at me. It all happened so fast. So very fast. He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor. I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out,” he writes.
Harry claims that when William was leaving, he turned back to Harry and said, “You don’t need to tell Meg about this.”
Harry replied to him: “You mean that you attacked me?”
William responded: “I didn’t attack you, Harold.”
2. The origins of Harry’s Nazi costume
Prince Harry claims that Prince William and Kate Middleton encouraged him to wear the controversial Nazi costume to a dress up party which caused a media storm in 2005.
While Harry confirms that the idea of wearing the problematic costume was his own, he alleges that the now Prince and Princess of Wales “howled” with laughter when Harry asked them for their thoughts.
“I phoned Willy and Kate, asked what they thought,” Harry explained, adding that when he tried it on and showed them, “They both howled.”
“Worse than Willy’s leotard outfit! Way more ridiculous! Which, again, was the point,” Harry writes.
3. Willy and Harold
While we’ve always known them as Prince William and Prince Harry, it appears the two brothers have their own preferences when it comes to nicknames.
Willy is pretty self explanatory for the future King, but Harold is a little more interesting given that Harry’s real name on his birth certificate is actually Henry. When he was born, it was intended that he be called Harry only by his family and friends, but the name trickled out to royal watchers the world over. Harry it was.
It’s certainly odd to hear that William calls his brother Harold—we can only imagine this was an inside quirk the brothers shared while growing up.
4. Harry drove through the tunnel Princess Diana died in at a fast pace
Harry also detailed his desire to drive through the same Parisian tunnel in which his mother died in 1997.
The Duke describes being in Paris in 2007 when he asked his driver to speed through the tunnel at 65 miles per hour, the same speed Princess Diana’s car was travelling when it crashed.
“I want to go through it,” Harry told his driver at the time.
“At sixty-five miles per hour—to be precise.”
‘We came to the mouth of the tunnel. We zipped ahead, went over the lip at the tunnel’s entrance, the bump that supposedly sent Mummy’s Mercedes veering off course. But the lip was nothing. We barely felt it,” Harry writes.
The Duke then recalled thinking: “Is that all of it? It’s…nothing. Just a straight tunnel.”
He said the experience didn’t end up giving him any closure, rather, “it brought on the start of Pain, Part Deux.”
5. Harry and William urged King Charles not to marry Camilla Parker Bowles
While both Harry and William were all smiles for now King Charles’ wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, the Duke of Sussex has now alleged that he and his brother never wanted it to go ahead.
“Willy and I promised our father that we would welcome Camilla to the family. The only thing we asked for in return was that he didn’t marry her,” Harry shares in Spare. “‘You don’t need to get married again,’ we asked him.”
6. More insight on the ‘Meghan made Kate cry’ narrative
It’s a story that’s done a million rounds in the press over several years—did Kate make Meghan cry? Did Meghan make Kate cry? Did anyone actually cry!?
As Prince Harry has alleged in Spare, there was an argument. According to the Duke, Meghan and Kate were having a discussion ahead of the Sussexes 2018 wedding about its rehearsal and the bridesmaids dresses, and Kate was upset because Princess Charlotte’s dress was too big.
“Right, and I told you the tailor has been standing by since 8am. Here. At KP [Kensington Palace]. Can you take Charlotte to have it altered, as the other mums are doing?” Meghan allegedly wrote in a text to Kate.
Kate was apparently not happy with the response, saying that she’d talked to her own wedding dress designer (Sarah Burton) who allegedly told her they should be remade.
Meghan replied: “I’m not sure what else to say. If the dress doesn’t fit, then please take Charlotte to see Ajay [the tailor]. He’s been waiting all day.”
Harry said his then fiancee was so stressed out about the interaction on top of everything else around the wedding that he found her on the floor crying. The next day Kate came around to apologise with flowers.
7. The rumours about Harry’s “real” father addressed
For many years, rumours have swirled around Prince Harry’s paternity due to Diana’s affair with riding instructor, James Hewitt—but Harry clears these up once and for all in his book by confirming that the Princess “didn’t meet Major Hewitt until long after I was born”.
That said, the Duke also claimed that King Charles did joke about the gossip: “Pa liked telling stories, and this was one of the best in his repertoire. He’d always end with a burst of philosophising… Who knows if I’m really the Prince of Wales? Who knows if I’m even your real father?” Harry wrote. “He’d laugh and laugh, though it was a remarkably unfunny joke.”
8. Harry talks about using cocaine as a teenager
It was always rumoured, but never confirmed—now, Prince Harry has discussed using drugs as a teenager and how it didn’t impact him in a positive way: “It wasn’t very fun, and it didn’t make me feel especially happy as seems to happen to others, but it did make me feel different, and that was my main objective. To feel. To be different.”
9. Harry killed 25 members of the Taliban
The Duke writes that during his two tours of duty in Afghanistan during his 10 years of service with the British army, he killed 25 members of the Taliban.
“It seemed essential for me not to be afraid of that figure. Among the many things I learned in the Armed Forces, one of the most important was to be accountable for my own actions,” the Prince shares.
He adds that his “number” wasn’t something that filled him with satisfaction, “but I was not ashamed either.”
10. He lost his virginity in a “humiliating” episode
Among the revelations about his youth is how the Prince lost his virginity at age 17.
He reveals that he and an “older woman” were in a field behind a pub when it happened, with the older woman treating him like a “young stallion”.
“I mounted her quickly, after which she spanked my ass and sent me away.”
While multiple names have been put forward (some serious and some not-so-serious), the identity of this women remains very much anonymous.
11. How he found out about Princess Diana’s death
When Diana died in a car crash in 1997, Prince Harry, then aged 12, was staying with his father and brother at Balmoral Castle. Charles woke Harry in the middle of the night to tell him the news.
“Darling boy, Mummy’s been in a car crash,” Harry recalls his dad saying.
“I remember waiting patiently for Pa to confirm that indeed Mummy was all right. And I remember him not doing that,” the Prince writes.
“They tried, darling boy. I’m afraid she didn’t make it,” Charles told him.
Harry said that the now-King didn’t hug Harry at the time, explaining that he “wasn’t great at showing emotions under normal circumstances.”
12. How Harry’s famous relationships came to an end
The Duke of Sussex explains how three of his famous girlfriends, Chelsea Davy, Caroline Flack and Cressida Bonas, were weighed down by the pressure from paparazzi during their relationship with the Prince, and it was the ultimate clincher for the subsequent breakups.
“Chels [Davy] said again that she just wasn’t sure if she was up for this. A lifetime of being stalked? What could I say? I’d miss her, so much. But I completely understood her desire for freedom. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t want this life either,” Harry writes.
He added that his and Flack’s relationship was “tainted, irredeemably” by the pressures from paparazzi and media.
Harry also had “massive affection, deep and abiding loyalty” for Cressida Bonas, but he writes that “she was always clear about not wanting to take on the stresses of being a royal, and I was never sure I wanted to ask her to do so.”
13. Harry and William weren’t each other’s best men at their weddings
While both Harry and William were each other’s right hand men at each other’s weddings, they weren’t best men.
Despite what the world was led to believe back in 2011, Harry explains that the Palace wanted to fulfil the expectations of the pubic and saw no choice but to say that Harry was William’s best man.
“In truth, Willy didn’t want me giving a best-man speech. He didn’t think it safe to hand me a live mic and put me in a position to go off-script. I might say something wildly inappropriate. He wasn’t wrong,” the Prince quips.
In 2018, the palace announced that William was Harry’s best man, but in reality, it was Harry’s friend Charlie.
14. William and Kate also felt trapped by the press (and Charles and Camilla)
“Willy told me that both he and Kate felt trapped, and unfairly persecuted, by the press and by Pa and Camilla,” Harry alleges in his memoir.
He also claimed that, “Pa and Camilla didn’t like Willy and Kate drawing attention away from them or their causes. They’d openly scolded Willy about it many times.”
15. William and Kate loved watching Suits
“Their mouths fell open,” Harry writes of the moment he told the Waleses who he was dating.
“Willy and Kate explained that they were regular—nay, religious—viewers of Suits. Great, I thought, laughing. I’ve been worrying about the wrong thing. All this time I’d thought Willy and Kate might not welcome Meg into the family, but now I had to worry about them hounding her for an autograph.”
16. How Harry found out the Queen had died
The Prince reveals that the then-Prince Charles called Harry on September 9, 2022 to tell him the queen wasn’t well and he should come to Balmoral Castle, where she was staying, immediately.
Harry added that Charles told the Duke to come alone, to which Harry took offence. But the now-King “stammered, apologetic, saying he simply didn’t want a lot of people around. No other wives were coming, Kate wasn’t coming, he said, therefore Meg shouldn’t.”
Harry heeded the advice and got on a flight, but the Queen had passed away before he laded.
“I checked the BBC website. Granny was gone. Pa was King.”
The Prince was greeted at Balmoral by Princess Anne who asked him if he’d like to see his grandmother, to which Harry obliged.
“I whispered to her that I hoped she was happy, that I hoped she was with Grandpa. I said that I was in awe of her carrying out her duties to the last.”
Spare can be purchased online, $35.95 at Booktopia.