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Prince Harry’s memoir “Spare” evokes conversation surrounding monarchy, privacy

Photo used with permission from Rex/Shutterstock
Prince Harry’s memoir “Spare” is sold for half price at the W.H. Smith store. The book was marked down in price on the day of its release after it was leaked in Spain before the official date, according to Hello Magazine.

Lucy Ilyas (’26) said she ran out of class and dashed to the store to purchase the highly anticipated memoir “Spare,” by Duke of Sussex Prince Harry Jan. 12. Ilyas said she wanted to see if the many critiques were true. 

“I honestly just couldn’t wait, it looked so good, and then I read it,” Ilyas said. “It was a disappointment.”

Prince Harry’s ghost-written memoir “Spare” was officially released Jan. 10 and has sold more than one million copies, making it the U.K.’s fastest-selling nonfiction book in history, according to  The Guardian. Although Prince Harry is the named author, his ideas were written by J.R Moehringer, his ghost-writer, according to The Economist. Prince Harry covers a range of topics in the memoir, spanning his childhood to his time in the army and his decision to renounce his title within the royal family.

World Languages and Cultures Teacher Victoria Hamadache grew up in the U.K. and has taught at the school for 28 years. Hamadache said has not read “Spare,” and “wouldn’t really give it the time of day.”

Hamadache said both her parents and grandparents have interacted with members of the royal family, influencing her positive regard for the institution. However, this does not extend to her interest in reading the novel. 

“His account will be picked over like bones by a vulture, and I think that’s really sad, I think it’s tragic,” Hamadache said. 

His account will be picked over like bones by a vulture, and I think that’s really sad, I think it’s tragic.

— World Languages and Cultures Teacher Victoria Hamadache

Harry and Meghan earned $100 million from their Netflix show “Harry & Meghan,” which premiered Dec. 8, shortly before the book. It is now estimated that Prince Harry’s book will achieve sales of around £33 million, according to The Independent

Lower School K2 Teacher O’Toole said a big complaint he has observed from the public is about how much money is being earned from the book and Netflix show.

“I do think it is confusing because I think that they act like this is defending women, defending against racism, but the complaints are mostly about money,” O’Toole said.

O’Toole said he is a long-time admirer of Queen Elizabeth and dislikes how Harry and Megan have discussed their family after leaving the institution. He said he initially had no issue with Prince Harry and Markle when they decided to leave the Royal family, but has since developed more negative feelings. 

Ilyas said she has grown up in a family that supports the monarchy and understands how the opinions of her family members have been shaped by living in England for their entire lives. However, Ilyas said she has reflected on her past admiration for the Royal family and their recent treatment of Prince Harry and Markle, particularly after reading about the impact of the British tabloids on their sense of security. 

“The whole Meghan and Harry thing was a big opinion changer for a lot of people, and I saw how the media treated her and how the royal family treated her,” Ilyas said.

In addition, Hamadache said Markle may have impacted Harry’s decision to publish the book. Because of Markle’s career as an actress, Hamadache said she likely has less fear in discussing her personal life. 

“She probably encouraged him in some fashion, maybe verbally or just by her own actions, to really dig back deep into the family and then dig up some pretty horrible old skeletons,” Hamadache said.

While Ilyas said the book is not impressive in its literary value, she said she appreciates that Prince Harry is able to share his true feelings beyond the grip of the tabloids. 

“He’s just saying his side now because they’ve painted this narrative that is not really correct about him,” Ilyas said.

It’s a personal way for him to say, ‘I’m this person and not what the media has made me out to be.’

— Lucy Ilyas (’26)

Ilyas also said the public views the couple’s actions as a “money-making scheme” because they are no longer benefiting the Royal Family. 

“It’s a personal way for him to say, ‘I’m this person and not what the media has made me out to be,’” Ilyas said.

Although he has not read the book, O’Toole said he continuously hears about its content and feels particularly upset about Harry’s coverage of his family’s fights.

“I’m one of nine myself and as my sister said to me, ‘Can you imagine if we wrote all of the trouble we got into as children?’” O’Toole said. “To me, it seems like a particularly nasty thing to do, to a family whose life is in public and they can’t respond back.”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Hsu, Media Team
Sophia Hsu ('26) is a member of the Media Team for The Standard in Advanced Journalism.

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