Your coverage and thoughts on the book have really complemented my reading so very well - thank you! I echo your thoughts about what it must have been like for Harry to lose his mother so young and try to process that effectively alone. I lost my father when I was four, and that portion of the book really struck me. I also spent so many years (even though I had found him) trying to tell myself that it wasn't real, that he would come back for me...on and on. That kind of trauma has SUCH a profound impact on a person, and his description of it...it's hard for me to look at some of his behavior in a fully critical light. People process how and when they process...and imagine doing it under such a spotlight. Goodness.

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I’ve finished the book in a need to gobble it up instantly. The only thing I did side-Google was what in the world a “biro” was. He was given one for Christmas by Princess Margaret and he had one in hand in an Iraq scene. It’s a pen, a brand of pen apparently!

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So I am now finished and had a few days to digest. I had a kind of lightbulb moment of the jealousy that had been going on between W/K and H/M. If you think about what Harry said, he never had cash, had no access to an ATM card or credit card. So many things were bought “on Meghan’s credit card”. W/K would have to ask the palace for anything they wanted and H/M had her money and her credit card (in addition to whatever allowance Harry was given through the palace) The little treats she brought the staff, the parties she had, the gifts, etc. I wonder if W/K felt it made them look bad because they weren’t able to do that without asking someone else permission or the money to do it. Meg just whips out her card and buys cupcakes for her staff and W/K can’t. It seems like so much of the anger coming especially from Will is that Harry had things and did things that he wasn’t able to do. And as the Heir, he felt he should be the one with more rights and privileges. (I see this play out with my oldest daughter and she’s not royal!) Which he clearly has, but those privileges are less immediate and less tangible. It also seems like so many of the stories planted by W/K office were projecting. The bridesmaids dress story made Meg the villain when it was Kate all along. Perhaps the bullying stories are actually a way of making her look bad because they themselves looked bad by not being able to compete with her generosity.

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Jan 18·edited Jan 18

I'm a few chapters into Part III and the audiobook has been my part-time job this past week! I keep thinking about how one-sided Spare is but not necessarily in the wrong way. When you hear about Prince Harry's life, you know that every other family member has an equally rich story and history. The Queen (and even Charles and Camilla) have such stamp mark traits (IE: the Queen's humor and C&C love story) that make them seem more human. I hope that as the world progresses, William and Kate can find their voice to personalize their roles in the monarchy. If their true desire is to protect their private life fiercely, that should be respected like Harry's wish to be public. Prince William definitely comes across cold in this book and that's not how he comes across publicly. I think it's an American thing not to be "fake," but in England maybe it's viewed traditional and respectful.

I had an ah-ha moment because even I grappled with why this book is so fascinating and important. Many famous families in America (and around the world) strive for this fame and are arguably not historically relevant for hundreds of years. Harry was born into the most famous family in the world. As the world's political landscape progress, and there are cringe-worthy terms like "fake news," this book might seem frivolous now but is important for historical context and as a reference for fact-checking. For instance, Harry's honorable military service is explained, but at first glance to people who don't know his story, it seems like he was stripped of his honors for leaving Britain and not wearing his uniform at the funeral.

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Thank you for your thoughts, (always!) and for consolidating all of the links for extra reading/watching in the end!

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Super late to the party and currently listening to the audiobook!

Reading this line from this post, "Harry and Will were on their own, and dealing with the unimaginable heir-spare dynamic, which would magnify all of this tremendously," I immediately thought of Diana reportedly saying, "They will look after the heir and I will look after the spare." But Diana died, so who looked after the spare?

This is not to say that only William was cared for or was somehow better off - him being the heir obviously comes with it's own set of challenges, exacerbated by the family culture and William's experience of life with and then loss of his mother, all under the unblinking gaze of the public eye. William's version of this story would be rough as well, but as I listen to Harry's, I really feel for him given the trauma, anger, denial and loneliness he carried for so long.

And on a side note, I think about how often Meghan was criticized for the handholding with Harry, but given the lack of affection in that family, I have to wonder if it was Harry all along driving it.

Thank you Elizabeth for creating this space to share and allow us all to have so many thoughts!

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I’m still in deep in Spare - just stared in Part 3 - and I commented this on IG but thought I would discuss here. I’m having a hard time royal watching while I process/take in Spare. Because they trot out Kate as the shiny distraction, I can feel some knee jerk internalized misogyny on my part to project my current feelings about the institution, etc. onto her instead of onto the whole shebang. The clothes, their events, none of if’s speaking to me and I think it’s because I’ve had Harry literally talking into my ear for weeks.

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I needed a minute. So much. So glad I read the book and listened along. Cant wait to join some discussions. Thank you so much

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Elizabeth, thanks for your analysis! In addition to Byrony's Substack, I've also recommended Mic Wright and David Challen in the comments of other posts for more analysis.

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Jan 31·edited Feb 1

Sorry I'm so very late to this! I've posted about this before, so for anyone reading this, please understand I'm repeating it b/c I think it may help to understand Harry's "memory wall" & the lack of family physical affection.

As always, Elizabeth's outstanding thoughts go straight to the heart of the issues.

I can only speak about this from experience & I apologize in advance for not knowing the correct psychological terms. For some people, when they experience a trauma, their brain goes into what I call "protection mode". That protection mode often blocks access to certain memories. I know this from experience It DOES NOT happen to everybody. Also in my experience, some memories can return. I've slowly started getting some memories back. I still don't have them all. My brother & sister have shared memories of the 3 of us, but I still can't remember. I understand my brain isn't ready, I'm not forcing it...not to say it isn't frustrating, but I'd rather be protected. Everyone is different.

I've also said this on another thread, and I understand it's really difficult to believe that hugging isn't encouraged. Based on my experience, I think it's partially generational & partially ethnicity. My great grandfather's immigrated to America. Germany. & Great Britain. My childhood home wasn't physically or verbally expressive with love. And yet, just like Harry is learning, the "no hug" cycle can be broken. ♡

During the Oprah interview (there may be others where he's said this), Harry commented on the fact that shouldn't his dad STOP doing the things he hated from his childhood? It made no sense to him. Watching the BRF, I've had the exact same question. I realize the BRF is loaded with Pomp & Circumstance, and endless time honored rituals, but a family that can't even hug each other? If they want real change, they must be part of that change...Show true kindness within the family! Share a genuine smile within the family! None of those things will bring down the Monarchy, but they will help: •break the cycle of dispassionate treatment amongst each other •show signs of real empathy •slowly stop petty jealousy, such as allowing family to be treated horribly simply because of past experiences/endure similar treatment •begin to ease the behavior of always being "on" even behind closed doors.

Yes...Harry was talking about a much larger picture...the overall Firm. But even the smallest steps count, too. Think about what a big deal it is when a baby takes it's 1st step...

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