‘Spare’ offers a sympathetic view of Prince Harry’s life in the British Monarchy 

3.5 out of 5 stars  

The British monarchy: drama, glamour, paparazzi and petty feuding. While I’m not somebody who particularly cares about the British monarchy, this book piqued my interest.  

In light of all the recent press and media coverage that has plagued Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan Markle and the late Queen Elizabeth, this memoir could not have been published at a better time.  

“Spare” is a positively British reading of the life and tragedies of Prince Harry. He splits the memoir into three parts, one for each “chapter” of his life, so to speak: childhood, his military service and his life with Meghan Markle.  

Throughout the first section of this book, Prince Harry generates immense sympathy for his younger self as he is thrust into the woes of royalty, fortune and the scourge of the paparazzi, which young Harry and William (or “Willy,” as he calls his brother) refer to as “the paps.”  

Readers are pulled into a young Harry’s mind as he struggles to recall memories of his late mother, Princess Diana, and recounts adolescent struggles with mental illness and substance abuse. 

The overarching theme of Harry’s memoir is the idea that he will always be the “Spare,” that he will always be the “second best” behind his brother Prince William. This idea is exemplified by Harry’s own father, who after the prince’s birth is documented to have said to Princess Diana: “You’ve given me an Heir and a Spare — my work is done.” 

While there are some very upsetting moments of racism and prejudice depicted in the book — such as Prince Harry himself dressing up in a full Nazi costume for his brother’s birthday costume party — he makes a point to apologize and atone for his past misjudgments.  

The level of vulnerability presented in this autobiography is compelling and completely draws readers in. Unfortunately, at some points the vulnerability starts to read like the Jake Paul autobiography, with strange outbursts of inner thoughts and adolescent desires that could have just been edited out. 

While Prince Harry’s writing stumbles at times, there are moments of beautiful, allegorical imagery throughout the book, particularly in chapters where he describes the estates he lived in growing up.   

One of the best lines in this memoir would have to be from Part One, Chapter 20, when Harry writes: “I opened Hamlet. Hmm: Lonely prince, obsessed with dead parent, watches remaining parent fall in love with dead parent’s usurper … ? … No, thank you.” Harry’s self-awareness of his surroundings and the British public is quick-witted and humorous.  

Prince Harry brings a sense of humanity to the royal family as he grapples with love, death and birth. Despite its questionable moments, “Spare” is a noteworthy read and marks a pivotal moment in the modern British monarchy. 

Photo from nbcnews.com.