In the weeks leading up to its release, Prince Harry’s forthcoming memoir Spare has no shortage of revelatory details about his complicated relationship with the Royal Family, previously confined to keep up appearances. The book is complete and on its way — out Tuesday, Jan. 10 — but the Duke of Sussex has been bringing the drama from the pages to the screen in a series of interviews leading up to its arrival, including an appearance with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes on Sunday.
Prince Harry’s sit-down with the CBS program marks his first and only U.S. television appearance in promotion of Spare so far. The Royal Family tends to prefer that its skeletons stay in the closets of Buckingham Palace, and both Harry and his wife Meghan Markle were, for a time, content with helping to keep the door shut. All they asked for in exchange was their support. But, as he told Cooper: “There becomes a point when silence is betrayal.”
During the candid interview, Prince Harry spoke of the devastating loss of his mother, Princess Diana, when he was 12 years old, and his inability to cry about it, or even accept she was dead until he was in his 20s. He grappled with acceptance by visiting the Paris tunnel where she died in the car crash, turned to drugs and drinking, and even psychedelics. He credits his military service in Afghanistan as a saving grace.
“My military career saved me in many regard,” he said, adding: “[It] got me out of the spotlight from the U.K. press. I was able to focus on a purpose larger than myself, to be wearing the same uniform as everybody else, to feel normal for the first time in my life. And accomplish some of the biggest challenges that I ever had.”
In one of the lighter moments from the interview — where he addressed painful details regarding the death of his mother, his family’s grappling with him marrying Markle (the “American, an actress, divorced, Black, biracial with a Black mother” being apparent issues with his family), and more — he joked: “There’s no prince autopilot button you can press” when in the military.
The family tension over Markle once led him and his brother, Prince William, into a physical fight, where Prince Harry was pushed to the floor by his elder sibling and cut his back. He also shared that when Queen Elizabeth II was under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle in Scotland before she died on Sept. 8, 2022, he was in London and inquired how the family was planning to travel to visit her. He was not invited to join them as they took a plane together to see her. By the time he found his way there on his own, he said she had already died. He also revealed he is not currently speaking with his brother, Prince William, or his father, King Charles.
Nearly two years ago, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke with Oprah Winfrey for a 90-minute interview, to delve into the reasoning behind their decision to step back from their responsibilities as working members of the Royal Family. Harry joined Markle midway through the interview, often declining to comment in detail about the racism, harassment, and financial retaliation they faced.
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In December, the couple released a six-part Netflix docuseries going back to the very beginning of their relationship and tracing through the complete unraveling of their connection to the family and the British public following their wedding. But nothing Prince Harry has shared on-screen has matched the intensity and candor of the stories he saved for Spare.
The pages of his memoir recall moments of physical confrontations with his older brother Prince William and verbal altercations with Markle herself. Prince Harry also delves further into the time he spent in Afghanistan — where he says he killed 25 people during active duty — as well as the complicated interpersonal relationship between himself, Markle, William, and Kate Middleton.