Prince Harry interviews: What we learnt from sit-downs with Tom Bradby and Anderson Cooper

Paul Carey sums up what the Duke of Sussex had to say and conclusions viewers may have reached

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Latest: 27 new claims in Prince Harry's book Spare

Prince Harry's first TV interview to publicise his memoir, Spare, was broadcast on Sunday night, with a list of complaints against his family and the British media, his determination to “tell his truth” and some poignant moments as he discussed the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Duke of Sussex spent much of the interview, not tearful, but certainly slightly “dewy-eyed”.

He sat military upright in a chair opposite the interviewer, dressed casually in shirt and jumper, and spoke clearly as he unloaded decades of anger. He was also heard reading excerpts from the audio version of the book.

Despite tight security around the book's publication, with copies not landing in UK bookstores until a few hours before release on Tuesday, the juiciest lines have already been pored over by journalists who got a Spanish copy that accidentally went on sale early.

It covers an alleged physical altercation with his brother, Prince William, his claim that he killed 25 Taliban while serving in Afghanistan, and his admission of taking drugs in his teens.

But Prince Harry expanded on those claims with ITV journalist Tom Bradby, a friend of many years who has interviewed him several times, as they sat down at his home in Montecito, California, for the 90-minute programme. A few hours later, a second interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper was broadcast.

This is what viewers learnt, some if it new, some of it old, some of it with fresh eyes, all of it in intimate detail:

Diana's death looms large more than 25 years on

There is no doubt that the death of his mother Diana in 1997 scarred the then 12-year-old and has blighted his life since.

He even demanded to be driven through the tunnel where she died, at the same high speed, so he could experience what it had been like.

Prince Harry gives an emotional account of the night his father, clad in a dressing gown, came into his room at Balmoral Castle to tell him that his mother had been killed in a car crash in Paris.

He said he now has compassion for his father “as a parent having to sit with that for many, many hours, ringing up friends of his, trying to work out, how the hell do I break this to my two sons?”

Prince Harry also says he now struggles to remember his earlier childhood.

Haunted by mother's funeral

Once he realised his brother was due to walk behind their mother's coffin at the funeral then he was determined he would too.

“The decision was made for both of us to walk behind our mother’s coffin. And there’s absolutely no way that I would let him do that by himself,” Prince Harry said.

“And there’s absolutely no way that he would let me do that by, by myself. It was, if it was role reversal.

“So, you know, it happened, the memories of the bridles chinking, going down The Mall, the hooves going down the concrete and the occasional gravel underneath the foot and the wails from the crowd.

“But otherwise, complete silence is something that will stick with me for ever.”

Diana, Princess of Wales, holds Prince Harry in Majorca, Spain, in 1987. AP

Harry has seen photos of his mother in her crashed car

The duke demanded that his private secretary show him the secret government files relating to his mother's death.

He said he would remain forever grateful for being given access but also that his secretary removed some of the more graphic images.

Prince Harry saw images of Diana slumped in the back of the car, but not those with blood or her damaged body.

Reading an excerpt, he says: “At last, I came to the photos of Mummy. There were lights around her, auras, almost halos. How strange.

Anticipation builds ahead of the release of Prince Harry's book — in pictures

“The colour of the lights was the same colour as her hair. Golden. I didn’t know what the lights were. I couldn’t imagine. I came up with all sorts of supernatural explanations.

“As I realise their true origin, my stomach clenched. Flashes. They were flashes, and within some of the flashes were ghostly visage and half-visages.

“Paps [paparazzi], and reflected paps and refracted paps on all the smooth metal services and glass windscreens. Those men who’d chased her.

“They’d never stopped shooting her while she lay between the seats. Unconscious or semi-conscious. And in their frenzy, they’d sometimes accidentally photographed each other.

“Not one of them was checking on her, offering her help, not even comforting her. They were just shooting, shooting, shooting.”

Harry suffers post-traumatic stress

Bradby raises passages in the book in which the duke talks about “appearing to have half-convinced yourself that your mother was in fact still alive and in hiding”.

“I mean, like, you talk about seeing her in your dreams and saying, 'Mummy, Mummy, is that you?'”

Harry: “Mm-hmm.”

Bradby: “I mean, it, it’s a haunting description of really, post-traumatic stress disorder really, isn’t it? I mean, that’s what the whole early part of this book is?”

Harry: “Yeah, but I refer to it as post-traumatic stress injury because I’m not a person with a disorder. I know I’m not.”

Bradby: “But you bottle it up for years, don’t you? I mean, you don’t talk about it like sometimes you say your brother, you, you know, really wanted to talk about it, but you couldn’t.”

A person at home watches Prince Harry being interviewed by ITV's Tom Bradby. PA

Harry's therapy treatment

The duke has spoken before about his mental health struggles. In the interview he speaks about the therapy he has received.

He says that without it, he would have fought back when Prince William challenged him to hit him during an altercation in the kitchen of his home at Kensington Palace.

“I talk about the red mist that I had for so many years, and I saw this red mist in him,” Prince Harry says.

“I can pretty much guarantee today that if I wasn’t doing therapy sessions like I was and being able to process that anger and frustration that I would’ve fought back, 100 per cent.”

The duke uses many phrases from his time in therapy, such as being “in a good head space”, repeating several times that he has “made peace” with his problems.

Harry had to ask the queen's permission to keep his beard when he married Meghan

One of the more obscure subjects covered in the interview was Prince Harry's argument with his brother over his beard and whether he should keep it for his wedding.

He had to request permission from his grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, as part of royal protocol.

He said the beard was a “shield” to his anxiety, he feared his bride might not recognise him without it, and that his brother felt it was unfair that he had been previously made to shave off a beard.

Bradby says: “The queen was amenable, William was not.”

Prince Harry had to seek permission from the queen to keep his beard when he was married. Getty

Prince William and Kate 'didn’t get on with Meghan from the start'

“Who knew they were Suits fans?” the duke says, referring to his brother and sister-in-law, who it turns out were well aware of Meghan Markle even before she joined the royal family.

Stereotyping caused a “bit of a barrier” to the Prince and Princess of Wales welcoming Meghan, despite Prince Harry having high hopes that the four of them would get along, he says.

Bradby said the impression was that Prince William and sister-in-law Kate did not get on “almost from the get-go” with Meghan, to which Prince Harry replied: “Yeah, fair.”

He said he had put a lot of hope into the idea the four of them would get along but stereotyping caused a “bit of a barrier”.

Speaking on 60 minutes with Anderson Cooper, he spoke about the royal family’s mistrust of his wife, saying they saw her as “American, an actress, divorced, black”, before joking: “She must be a witch”.

Royal family are not racist

Prince Harry denied accusing members of the royal family of racism in the Sussexes' interview with US talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

He said their claims that a family member made “troubling” comments about the skin colour of his son, Archie, related to “unconscious bias”, not racism.

The recent incident involving Ngozi Fulani and Lady Susan Hussey “is a very good example of the environment within the institution”, said Prince Harry.

Prince William and Prince Harry through the years — in pictures

Ms Fulani, the British leader of the charity Sistah Space, was asked where she “really came from” by the late Queen Elizabeth's senior lady-in-waiting at a Buckingham Palace reception.

Bradby said Meghan claimed there had been troubling comments made about Archie. Prince Harry said: “There was — there was concern about his skin colour.”

Asked if he would call that racist, he said: “I wouldn’t, not having lived within that family.”

Knives out for Camilla

The duke described Queen Consort Camilla as “the villain” in his US interview.

He said Camilla’s willingness to forge relationships with the British press made her “dangerous” and there would be “bodies left in the street because of that”.

Harry likens his family to 'abusers'

Referring to his family's refusal to “reconcile” with the duke, he refused to accept that giving his account of events was damaging.

“I’m not sure how honesty is burning bridges,” he says. “You know, silence only allows the abuser to abuse, right? So I don’t know how staying silent is ever going to make things better. That’s genuinely what I believe.”

Harry's court cases against British media

Bradby listed three continuing legal cases the duke has brought against the British media, including for phone hacking and “off the scale” allegations that private investigators were hired “to break into people’s houses to plant a listening device”.

“Specifically with phone hacking. That, I put in my claims over three years ago and I’m still waiting.

“So one might assume that a lot of this, from their [press] perspective, is retaliation, and trying to intimidate me to settle, rather than take it to court and potentially may have to shut down.”

Hatred of the media and its relations with the royal family

Running throughout the programme was the duke's anger with the media and its relationship with the royal family. Not only the part he believes photographers played in his mother's death, but attacks on his wife and invasions of his privacy.

Prince Harry accused his family of “getting into bed with the devil” to rehabilitate their image, and King Charles of sacrificing his son's interests in favour of his own.

He criticised the British press throughout the interview, and accused the royals of being “complicit” in the conflict the media created.

“The saddest part of that is certain members of my family and the people that work for them are complicit in that conflict,” he said.

“The truth is something that I need to rely on, and after many, many years of lies being told about me and my family, there comes a point where, you know, again, going back to the relationship between certain members of the family and the tabloid press, those certain members have decided to get in the bed with the devil, right, to rehabilitate their image.”

As Bradby outlined Harry’s criticisms of his father including that the duke’s interests are “sacrificed to his interests, certainly when it comes to the press”, the duke said he understood the need to have that relationship with the tabloid press but did not agree with it.

He said there had been “incredibly hurtful” decisions … “and it continues. It hasn’t stopped. It’s continuing the whole, the whole way through.”

“As much as William and Kate suffered from my father and stepmother, or their office, because the moment William married Kate they went through a large portion of the same things that Meg and I went through.

“But then I always believed that — well, I’m the spare, I’m no competition to my father, no competition to my brother, I think this will be absolutely fine.

“How wrong I was. The very thing that William and Kate had experienced from Pa and Camilla happened to us, and happened from William and Kate’s office as well.

“But somehow in that, apparently the same experience that they had had, William and Kate, wasn’t happening to us.”

Charles told Harry “I should have got you the help you needed years ago”

In an extract of his memoir which was read by Harry during the interview, the duke said his father blamed himself for his son’s struggles, telling him: “I should have got you the help you needed years ago.”

He says his “Pa” was “never made” for single parenthood but had tried, and told Bradby he will “always love” his father.

King Charles III speaks to well-wishers as he arrives to attend a morning church service at Castle Rising Church in Norfolk hours before his son's TVC interview

Harry accuses royal family of “horrible reaction on day Queen died

Speaking about the day of Queen Elizabeth’s death, the duke told Bradby: “The day that she died was just a really, really horrible reaction from my family members.”

He spoke of how his family was “on the back foot” when the late monarch died in September, and told the presenter he witnessed “leaking and planting”.

Harry cannot accept his position as 'Spare'

The duke speaks of the competition he felt with Prince William, from their early years, to their time at Eton and then “competing for front pages” as married men.

Reading an excerpt he says: “My God. Sibling rivalry. Had we not got past this yet? The whole heir versus spare thing?”

He appears unwilling to accept that his family puts the continuation of the monarchy above personal fairness.

He clearly believes that he has been wronged and the family should admit it.

“It’s no longer a case of me asking for accountability, but at this point the world is asking for accountability,” Prince Harry says.

“And the world is asking for some form of comment from the monarchy. But the silence is ― is — is deafening. To put it mildly.

“So, I think we’ve gone from this being like, you know, just my personal whatever you want to call it to way, way, way bigger than us.”

He complains repeatedly that his family planted stories in the press, and that the family motto “never complain, never explain” was a fallacy.

The duke said his family’s planting and leaking has caused “millions of words” to be written “trying to trash my wife”.

He told Bradby he wrote his tell-all book Spare because of “38 years … of spin and distortion”.

No way back

Speaking about his relationship with his family, the duke said he is currently “not texting” William, and that he has not spoken to his father for “quite a while”.

“Do you speak to William now, do you text?” Cooper asked him.

“Currently, no, but I look forward to us being able to find peace,” Harry replied.

Asked how long it had been since he had spoken to King Charles, he said: “We haven’t spoken for quite a while, no, not recently.”

When asked by Cooper if he could see himself returning as a full-time member of the royal family, the duke replied: “I can’t see that happening.”

Two more interviews are set to be broadcast, with Michael Strahan of Good Morning America on Monday and Stephen Colbert on the Late Show on CBS on Wednesday.

Updated: January 10, 2023, 4:32 PM