What has Prince Harry said in his book? 27 new claims made in Spare

In 407 pages, memoir lays out in intimate detail Duke of Sussex's grievances with his family and the media

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Prince Harry's memoir, Spare, was released on Tuesday, allowing the world to see in full detail his decades of anger at his position in the royal family and how he feels he has been treated by them.

Bereaved boy, troubled teenager, wartime soldier, unhappy royal — many facets of Prince Harry are revealed in his hard-hitting memoir, often in eyebrow-raising detail.

The Associated Press describes his memoir as “The Americanisation of Prince Harry”. Others have called it a "pathetic attempt" to vilify his stepmother, Queen Consort Camilla, and a "sad book" that cannot fail to leave the reader more sympathetic to the prince.

It details his trauma sparked by the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, his life in uniform as he embarked on a tour in Afghanistan and his life after meeting Meghan Markle.

Before publication, many of the more lurid claims were pored over after the book was accidentally put on sale early in Spain.

They include:

· Prince Harry was injured after he was physically attacked by Prince William during a row. The Duke of Cambridge had called his brother's wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, "rude, difficult and abrasive"

· His demand that his father should not marry Camilla Parker Bowles and how she waged a PR campaign to "gain the crown"

· His anger that the royal family would plant stories in the press to benefit themselves to the detriment of himself and his wife

· Prince Harry details his dabbling with drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and magic mushrooms

· He reveals he killed 25 Taliban while serving in Afghanistan

· The Fab Four — the brothers and their wives — was an illusion as the Duchess of Cambridge did not hit it off with Meghan from the outset

· His father — now King Charles III — broke the news of his mother’s death in a car crash, but didn’t give his son a hug

Here are some of the new revelations, allegations, titbits and anecdotes he relates throughout the book:

Why Prince Harry wrote Spare

The prince begins the book with a scene shortly after his announcement he was leaving royal life, in which he met his father, then Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William, in Frogmore Gardens in the grounds of the royal estate at Windsor. He tried to set out his feelings and both replied that they did not understand his reasons for turning his back on life as a working royal and leaving his country behind. The book is his explanation.

Meeting Dodi Fayed and his father Mohamed Al Fayed

Prince Harry writes about what it was like to meet Dodi Fayed, the boyfriend who died alongside her in the Paris tunnel in August 1997. He says Dodi had always been described as "Mummy's friend".

"Nice enough bloke, I thought." The brothers were present when Princess Diana first met Dodi in St Tropez and had enjoyed playing on jet-skis. Dodi gave their mother a diamond bracelet "which she wore a lot". "Then he faded from my consciousness," he writes.

Dodi Fayed, Prince Harry and Princess Diana in St Tropez in 1997.  Wireimage

He met Dodi's father, Mohamed Al Fayed around the same time. While detailing how he circled London one night in a helicopter, "someone on the ground hit us with a laser pen. I was disoriented. And furious ... I was also perversely grateful for the stray memory it knocked loose. Mohamed Al Fayed, giving Willy and me laser pens from Harrods, which he owned. He was the father of Mummy's boyfriend. so maybe he was trying to win us over. If so, job done. We thought those lasers were genius."

King Charles's health regime

The prince reveals the dangers of entering his father's quarters at Balmoral without knocking. He is likely to be being dressed by his valet or worse still "you might blunder in as he was doing his headstands ... in just a pair of boxers" — exercises prescribed by a physio as a remedy for neck and back pain caused by polo injuries.

Prince Charles made him visit a rabbi after wearing Nazi costume

Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, laughed when Prince Harry suggested he would wear a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party. When the pictures leaked into the press, causing a scandal, he phoned his father, whom he calls Pa. The prince writes: "He didn't gloss over the facts. 'Darling boy, how could you be so foolish'." He says his father described it as "the foolishness of youth" but sent him to visit the Chief rabbi of Britain as atonement. The prince writes that the rabbi "didn't mince words" as he condemned his actions and put his "stupidity" in historical context. "I'd arrived at his house feeling shame. I now felt something else, a bottomless self-loathing."

British military subjected Prince Harry to Muslim taunts to prepare him for possible capture in Afghanistan

He writes about an army exercise in Cornwall, one of “the last hurdles for flight crews and pilots before deployment” in Afghanistan, which simulated a helicopter crash-landing behind enemy lines.

He and his comrades were ambushed by a group of men in “camo jackets and black balaclavas”, who wrapped blacked-out ski goggles over their eyes and zip-tied their hands before interrogating them.

Prince Harry patrols the town of Garmisir in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, in 2008. Reuters

Role-playing captors were used in the exercise with a woman in a scarf, seeking to exploit the duke's mother’s friendship with Dodi Fayed in the weeks before her death in a Paris car accident in 1997. “She was wearing a shemagh over her face,” he writes. “She went on and on about something I didn’t understand. I couldn’t keep up.

“Then I realised. Mummy. She was talking about my mother. Your mother was pregnant when she died, eh? With your sibling? A Muslim baby!”

He said nothing, but “screamed with his eyes”, before she stormed out and one of the captors spat in his face. Senior officers later defended the exercise, saying “we felt you needed to be tested”, Prince Harry claims. “I didn’t answer,” he says. “But that took it a bit too far.”

Harry 'called in an air strike' on his father's car

During his training to be a Forward Air Controller in Afghanistan, the prince spent time on the Sandringham estate, where one of the royal family's palaces is set. Despite this, his father had never visited. "Giving me space, I guess."

"Then one day he looked up in the sky and saw a Typhoon aircraft doing low passes and he figured it must be me. So he got into his Audi and hurried over."

He writes how his father caught up with him and they had a "quick chat" before he left.

"He drove off. As he went down the track I told the Typhoon: New target. Grey Audi ... The Typhoon tracked Pa, did a low pass straight over him, almost shattering the windows of his Audi. But ultimately spared him. On my orders. It went on to blow a silver barn to smithereens."

Bullet magnet in Iraq

The prince was on the verge of quitting the British Army after the most senior general scrapped his deployment to Iraq following threats from insurgents.

After a happy cadetship and graduation from the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy, he was told he would be part of the UK deployment to Iraq in late 2006.

Prince Harry smiling as his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II inspects him and other officers during The Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. PA

“Specifically southern Iraq. My unit would be relieving another unit, which had spent months doing advanced reconnaissance,” he writes. “Dangerous work, constantly dodging roadside IEDs and snipers.

“In that same month 10 British soldiers had been killed. In the previous six months, 40.”

He says two months after the announcement the plan was called off. He had become "the mother of all targets" or Iraqi snipers. "I'd become ... a bullet magnet."

Harry used laughing gas to 'enhance his calm' during son Archie's birth

The prince says he used laughing gas and ate Nando’s to “enhance his calm” during the birth of his son, Archie.

Writing about the scene at the private Portland Hospital in London in 2019, he says his wife Meghan was “so calm”.

He was calm too, he says. But he saw two ways of “enhancing” the state.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son Archie at Windsor Castle in 2019. Getty Images

“One: Nando’s chicken. (Brought by our bodyguards),” he writes. “Two: A canister of laughing gas beside Meg’s bed.

“I took several slow, penetrating hits. Meg, bouncing on a giant purple ball, a proven way of giving nature a push, laughed and rolled her eyes.

“I took several more hits and now I was bouncing too.”

Queen phoned Meghan to order her to resolve troubles with her father

The queen once called Meghan to talk about her father, Thomas Markle, according to Prince Harry’s new book.

“She was responding to a letter Meg had written her, asking for advice and help,” he writes. Meghan told her she did not know how to make the press stop interviewing him, “enticing him to say horrid things”.

“Granny now suggested that Meg forget the press, go and see her father, try to talk some sense into him,” he writes.

Queen Elizabeth sits with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in 2018. Getty Images

However, Meghan explained that he lived in a Mexican border town and she did not know how she would get through the airport without being seen by the press.

“Granny acknowledged the many problems with this plan.

“In that case, perhaps write him a letter? Pa agreed. Splendid idea.”

That letter was later published by The Mail on Sunday and led to a series of legal cases.

Harry shops at TK Maxx

He would shop for “everyday casual clothes” from TK Maxx.

Prince Harry said he received an official clothing allowance from “Pa” each year, but it was strictly for formal wear, such as suits, ties and ceremonial outfits.

For more casual clothes he would shop at the “discount store”, where he could snap up just-out-of-season clothes for bargain prices. He said he was “particularly fond” of its annual sale, when the shop would be flush with items that were just off-season or slightly damaged, from Gap or J.Crew.

The late queen used a lift at Balmoral

He describes spending time at Balmoral Castle, where the late Queen Elizabeth II would spend her summers. Describing the castle, he says: "In the heart of this main chamber was the grand staircase. Sweeping, dramatic, seldom used. Whenever Granny headed up to her bedroom on the second floor, corgis at her heel, she preferred the lift. The corgis preferred it too."

Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands. Getty Images

He also describes how he and his brother would bow as they passed a statue of Queen Victoria which was placed at the top of one set of stairs.

Prince Harry was given Diana's hair as proof she was dead

He explains in great detail how the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, has haunted and traumatised him. He refused to believe she was dead for years, and even demanded his driver take him through the tunnel in Paris where she was killed so he could relive it.

He also says that in the immediate aftermath of her death, he had a "pivotal encounter" with his aunt Sarah. She had two tiny blue boxes for the boys containing their mother's hair.

"Aunt Sarah explained that, while in Paris, she'd clipped two locks from Mummy's head. So there it was. Proof. She's really gone."

Told to write a 'final letter' to his mother

He sets out his often unhappy times at school, where he did not excel, and stood out because of his royal status.

"I've been told the matrons asked me to write a 'final' letter to Mummy. I have a vague memory of wanting to protest that she was still alive, and yet not doing so, for fear they would think I was mad".

Queen never hugged her grandchildren

Prince Harry leaves readers in no doubt that his grandmother, the queen, was always on duty. Emotion and physical contact were never an option. To the extent that after a six-month tour away from the UK she gave her then six-year-old son Charles a stiff handshake on her return. Prince Harry reveals that he was never able to give her a hug. Indeed, while she was enjoying the celebrations for her golden jubilee, including Brian May playing God Save the Queen from the roof of Buckingham Palace, she appeared to relish the occasion and the music. “Sitting directly behind her, I couldn’t help thinking the same thing. To see her tapping her foot, and swaying in time, I wanted to hug her, though of course I didn’t. Out of the question. I never had done and couldn’t imagine any circumstance under which such an act might be sanctioned."

Harry's troubles with being 'a ginger'

At Eton he once let a friend shave off his hair. "When the cutter was done I looked down, saw a dozen pyramids of ginger on the floor, like red volcanoes from a plane and knew I'd made a legendary mistake."

Firework fights

He sets out how he, his brother and friends would have pretend battles which turned into play fights before escalating. "Over time the scraps became more pitched. Small-arms fire was introduced. We'd hurl roman candles at each other, make rocket launchers from golf-ball tubes, stage night battles. I can still smell the smoke and hear the hiss as a projectile rocketed towards a victim."

Wished he'd asked the Queen Mother more questions

He describes an evening at Balmoral when as a teenager he sipped a gin and tonic with his "Gan-gan", as he called the Queen Mother. "I wish I could recall specifically what we talked about. I wish I'd asked more questions. She'd been the War Queen ... famous for saying that, no matter how bad things got, she'd never, ever leave England, and people loved her for it. I loved her for it. I loved my country and the idea of declaring you'd never leave struck me as wonderful."

His dislike of Diana's butler Paul Burrell

He describes how he would receive office paperwork from his father stamped "ATT HRH PRINCE HENRY OF WALES", his official name.

Paul Burrell launches his book A Royal Duty in 2003. Getty Images

"One day the package contained a series of memos from the Palace comms team about a delicate matter. Mummy's former butler had penned a tell-all, which actually told nothing. It was merely one man's self-justifying, self-centring version of events. My mother once called this butler a dear friend, trusted him implicitly. We did too. Now this. He was milking her disappearance for money. It made my blood boil."

Outranking the heir

After "passing out", or graduating from army training at Sandhurst, he became Second Lieutenant Wales of the Blues and Royals, part of the Household Cavalry, bodyguards to the monarch. His grandmother.

He describes how the queen attended the parade for the first time in decades, so her appearance "was a dazzling honour".

"And Willy saluted. He was at Sandhurst too now. A fellow cadet. He couldn't resort to his typical attitude when sharing an institution, couldn't pretend not to know me — or he'd be insubordinate. For one brief moment, Spare outranked Heir. Granny inspected the troops. When she came to me, she said: 'Oh ... hello'."

Scary Princess Margaret

Prince Harry writes how his great aunt, Margaret, once gave him a “cold-blooded” present for Christmas, a biro pen.

“Standing before my pile I chose to open the smallest present first, from Aunt Margo. 'I do hope you like it, Harry.' I tore off the paper. It was …a biro? 'I said Oh. A biro. Wow.' She said: 'Yes. A biro.' I said: 'Thank you so much.' But it wasn’t just any biro, she pointed out. It had a tiny rubber fish wrapped around it. I said: 'Oh. A fish biro!' OK. I told myself: 'That is cold-blooded.'"

Princess Diana holding a young Prince Harry next to Princess Margaret on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Getty Images

He should have been friends with her. “We had so much in common. Two spares. Her relationship with Granny wasn’t an exact analogue of mine with Willy, but pretty close." His early memories of her were that he felt “nothing” for her, “except a bit of pity and a lot of jumpiness”. “She could kill a houseplant with one scowl,” he writes.

Mesmerised by the Koh-i-Noor diamond

At the funeral of the Queen Mother, which was a difficult reminder of his mother's funeral, he said his eyes kept going to the top of "Gan-Gan's coffin, where they'd set the crown. Its three diamonds and jewelled cross winked in the spring sunlight. At the centre of the cross was a diamond the size of a cricket ball. Not just a diamond, the Great Diamond of the World, a 105-carat monster called the Koh-i-Noor. Largest diamond ever seen by human eyes. 'Acquired' by the British empire at its zenith. Stolen, some thought. I'd heard it was mesmerising, and I'd heard it was cursed. Men fought for it, died for it, and thus the curse was said to be masculine. Only women were permitted to wear it."

Harry the hero friend

The prince writes how he was at Clarence House on the phone to a friend called Thomas recalling old times, when his friend began screaming. "Angry voices, a scuffle, a struggle. I put the phone on speaker, shot down the corridor, burst into the police room. I shouted that my mate was in trouble ... It was obvious Thomas was being mugged." He then goes on to describe how he and several bodyguards raced to his location in Chelsea. "Beaten. shaken. We took him to the nearest police station, where he signed a statement. Then we drove him home. Along the way he kept thanking me for coming to his rescue. I hugged him tightly. What are friends for."

His romance with Chelsy Davy hits the buffers

Prince Harry talks about his various relationships, but particularly his fondness for Chelsy Davy, his first public girlfriend. He was concerned that she would not be able to cope with royal life if their courtship went further. "She phoned me and said people were tailing her everywhere and it was driving her crazy. She couldn't imagine how they always knew where she was and where she'd be. She was freaking out." He discovered that a tracking device had been placed under her car. "Chels said again that she just wasn't sure if she was up for this. A lifetime of being stalked? What could I say? I'd miss her, so much. But I completely understood her desire for freedom. If I had a choice, I wouldn't want this life either."

Prince Harry's post-traumatic stress issues

He reveals how he suffered panic attacks in 2013, toggled with bouts of debilitating lethargy. Hours before a speech he would begin to sweat then his mind would buzz "with ear and fantasies of running away". He feared the day would come when he would run offstage or burst out of a room. Getting dressed in a suit was enough to trigger an attack.

He searched online for an answer and realised his problems stemmed from his mother's death.

"I kept trying to self-diagnose, to put a name to what was wrong with me ... when the answer was right under my nose. I'd met so many soldiers, so many young men and women suffering from post-traumatic stress, and I'd heard them describe how hard it was to leave the house.

"Despite all my work with wounded soldiers, all my efforts on their behalf, all my struggles ... it never dawned on me that I was a wounded soldier. And my war didn't begin in Afghanistan. It began in August 1997."

Meghan ordered him to address his problems

Early in their relationship, Meghan made it clear to him he needed therapy. After drinking too much wine "the conversation took an unexpected turn, I became touchy. Then angry. Disproportionately, sloppily angry. Meg said something I took the wrong way ... I snapped at her, spoke to her harshly — cruelly. As the words left my mouth I could feel everything in the room come to a stop ... Meg walked out of the room, disappearing for a full fifteen minutes. I went and found her upstairs. She was calm, but said in a quiet level tone that she would never stand for being spoken to like that."

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, through the years - in pictures

She asked him where it had come from, if he'd ever heard adults speak that way while he was growing up.

"I cleared my throat, looked away. Yes.

"She wasn't going to tolerate that kind of partner. That kind of life. She laid it all out, super-clear. We both knew my anger hadn't been caused by anything to do with our conversation ...

"I've tried therapy, I told her. Willy told me to go. Never found the right person. Didn't work.

"No, she said softly. Try again."

Royals compete to appear the busiest

Prince Harry says certain members of the royal family were “obsessed” with the annual record of official engagements called the Court Circular. He says they "feverishly" strived to notch up the most public duties, which would be tallied up each year and compared in the press. He says the daily list of royal engagements is a joke because it was self-reported and "rigged".

He did not name anyone but said that although the Court Circular was not discussed directly by the Windsors it caused tension under the surface as the end of the year approached.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, on the long Walk at Windsor Castle in September. Getty Images

“The Court Circular was an ancient document, but it had lately morphed into a circular firing squad,” Harry writes of his experience at Christmas 2013. “It didn’t create the feelings of competitiveness that ran in my family, but it amplified them, weaponised them.

"Certain members had become obsessed, feverishly striving to have the highest number of official engagements in the Circular each year, no matter what, and they’d succeeded largely by including things that weren’t, strictly speaking, engagements, recording public interactions that were mere blips, the kinds of things Willy and I wouldn’t dream of including.

“Which was essentially why the Court Circular was a joke.” He said it was "grossly unfair" to be "publicly flogged for how much Pa" permitted us to do.

The Princess Royal is often labelled the hardest-working royal after regularly having the most official duties in the Court Circular each year, followed by King Charles.

William competed for publicity

After leaving the army, Prince Harry set about establishing the International Warrior Games. He believed that as his brother was essentially on paternity leave, it wouldn't clash with any of his work.

"I reached out to Willy, expecting him to be thrilled. He was sorely irritated. He wished I'd run all this by him first. He complained that I'd be using up all the funds in the Royal Foundation. 'That's absurd,' I spluttered...

"What was going on here? I wondered.

"Then I realised: My God, sibling rivalry. I put a hand over my eyes. Had we not got past this yet? The whole Heir versus Spare thing."

Prince William and Prince Harry through the years - in pictures

Updated: January 10, 2023, 8:13 PM
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