In his highly anticipated autobiography, Spare, Prince Harry recounts what he says was a physical attack by his brother, William, now Prince of Wales, as their relationship fell apart due to the young prince’s marriage to the actor Meghan Markle.
Describing a confrontation at his London home in 2019, Harry says William called Meghan ‘difficult’, ‘rude’ and ‘abrasive’, what Harry calls a ‘parrot’.[ing of] the press account” about his American wife.
The confrontation escalated, Harry writes, until William “grabbed me by the collar, ripped my collar, and…threw me to the ground”.
The extraordinary scene, which Harry says resulted in a visible back injury, is one of many in Spare, which will be released worldwide next week and is likely to spark a serious outcry for the British royal family.
Amid tight pre-launch security around the book, the Guardian has secured a copy.
The title of the book comes from an old adage in royal and aristocratic circles: that a first son is heir to titles, power and fortune, and a second is therefore a saver, should something happen. thing to the firstborn.
Spare is a remarkable volume, in which the altercation between the two princes forms a striking passage.
Harry writes that William wanted to talk about “the whole continuing disaster” of their relationship and their struggles with the press. But when William arrived at Nottingham Cottage – where Harry was then living, within the grounds of Kensington Palace and known as ‘Nott Cott’ – he was, Harry says, already ‘very warm’.
After William complained about Meghan, Harry writes, Harry told him he was repeating the press story and expected better. But William, Harry said, was not rational, leading to the two men yelling at each other.
Harry then accused his brother of acting like an heir, unable to understand why his younger brother wasn’t content to be a stand-in.
Insults were exchanged, before William claimed he was trying to help.
Harry said, “Are you serious? Help me? Sorry – is that what you call it? Help me ? »
That comment, Harry said, angered his brother, who swore as he stepped up to him. Now frightened, Harry writes, he went to the kitchen, followed by his furious brother.
Harry writes that he gave his brother a glass of water and said, “Willy, I can’t talk to you when you’re like this.
He writes: “He put down the water, called me by another name, then came to me. It all happened so fast. So very fast. He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my collar, and knocked me to the ground. I landed on the dog bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I stood there for a moment, stunned, then I got up and told him to get out.
Harry writes that William urged him to fight back, citing the fights they had as children. Harry says he refused to do so. William left, Harry said, then returned “with an air of regret and apology”.
When William left, his brother writes, he “turned around and said, ‘You don’t need to tell Meg about this.’
“‘You mean you attacked me?’
“‘I didn’t attack you, Harold.'”
Harry says he didn’t immediately tell his wife – but called his therapist.
When Meghan later noticed ‘scratches and bruises’ on her back, and so he told her about the attack, Harry said she ‘wasn’t that surprised and wasn’t that angry “.
“She was terribly sad.
Harry’s resentment of being the ‘spare part’ is the unifying theme of his book, through chapters on his childhood, schooling, career as a royal and in the British army, his relationship with his parents and brother and his life with Meghan across the yard. , marriage and marriage to their own experience of parenthood.
From the start, Harry tells the story of how his father, now King Charles, allegedly said to his wife, Princess Diana, on the day Harry was born: “Wonderful! Now you have given me an heir and an heir – my job is done.
Whether describing his memories and love for Diana, who was killed in a car accident in Paris in August 1997, or his similar love for his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, who died last year, Harry is ruthless in its retelling of intensely private scenes and conversations.
Harry met Meghan in 2016. They married at Windsor Castle in 2018. As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they started life as royals, but quickly grew distant from the family and eventually embarked on a largely separate existence, moving to Canada and then California.
Their acrimonious split from the Royal Family has been the subject of endless media coverage, some of it directed, including via a famous interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that caused huge controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. And in the world.
Topics from this interview and a recently released Netflix documentary, including a miscarriage suffered by Meghan and her suicidal thoughts, and suggestions of racism in royal circles, are covered extensively in Harry’s book.
The book has been followed and two interviews with Harry are due to air in the UK and US this weekend, with ITV News at Ten and CBS 60 Minutes. Both interviews are eagerly awaited, trailers and teasers are reported as news as speculation about what Harry chose to say in his book continues.
In an excerpt from the ITV interview, Harry said: “I would love to get my dad back, I would love to get my brother back.”
Given the details recounted in his book, that might not seem immediately likely. Indeed, one of Harry’s most relevant revelations about private conversations between members of the royal family comes from the very beginning of his book.
Harry recounts an anguished encounter with Charles and William after the funeral at Windsor Castle of Prince Phillip, the Queen’s husband, in April 2021.
Charles, he said, stood between his warring sons, “watching our red faces”.
“Please boys,” Harry quotes his father as saying. “Don’t make my last years a misery.”