Prince Harry is starting the year with another volley in his battle with the royal family, as palace watchers get their first glimpse of his new autobiography, Spare — and an insight into how bad things have got between the two brothers.
In addition to previews of two interviews with Prince Harry to run within days, we’ve now seen a report from The Guardian saying it has managed to obtain an early copy of the autobiography, despite the stringent security around the book ahead of its January 11 launch.
The report — which hasn’t been confirmed nor denied by Team Harry — contains bombshell allegations about the disintegrating relationship between the King’s two sons.
What we’ve heard so far
Bearing in mind that this hasn’t been confirmed by either brother, the article raised this allegation, particularly about one scene from 2019.
The physical altercation: The Guardian says Harry writes about a 2019 physical altercation with Prince William at Nottingham Cottage, Harry’s London home at the time. After the argument got heated, Harry says he moved into the kitchen and gave his brother a glass of water:
“He set down the water, called me another name, then came at me. It all happened so fast. So very fast. He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor. I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out.”
The aftermath: The report says Harry called his therapist after the fight, but didn’t immediately tell his wife. Later, she noticed “scrapes and bruises” on his back and then he told her about the altercation. Harry says she “wasn’t that surprised, and wasn’t all that angry. She was terribly sad.”
Insulting Meghan: Harry says William called Meghan “difficult”, “rude” and “abrasive”. Harry told him he was “parroting” the press narrative and that he expected better.
Willy and Harold: During that retelling of the 2019 altercation, “Willy” apparently called his brother “Harold”, when his given name is actually Henry. It’s unclear why he used that name from the reporting so far.
Charles’s reaction to their fighting: This was at the time of an argument at their grandfather Prince Phillip’s funeral in September 2021. Harry says the then-Prince Charles stood between his fighting sons. Charles, he says, “looking up at our flushed faces”. “Please, boys,” Harry quotes his father as saying, “don’t make my final years a misery.”
What we know about next week’s interviews
Ahead of the book’s launch next week, the UK’s ITV and the US version of 60 Minutes have recorded interviews with Prince Harry that will go to air on Monday morning, Australian time.
In a 20-second teaser for the 90-minute Harry: The Interview, British broadcaster ITV edits together lines from what they say was a “long” interview with the prince:
“It never needed to be this way … The leaking and the planting … I want a family, not an institution … They feel as though it’s better to keep us, somehow, as the villains … They’ve shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile … I would like to get my father back. I would like to have my brother back.”
US 60 Minutes released a minute-long preview of Prince Harry’s interview with reporter Anderson Cooper, to be broadcast the same day.
The snippet also covers Harry’s allegations about his family leaking and planting stories about the couple, including how it is done.
“There comes a point where silence is betrayal,” Harry says.
Monday’s interviews follow the launch of Netflix’s Harry & Meghan, their six-part special, in December, which broke the streaming service’s record for most-viewed documentary in its first week of release.
Over the course of the series, the couple drew back the curtain on their early relationship and revealed what life was like for them within the royal family, including death threats, media intrusion and a growing sense that the royal family would not protect them when they needed it most.
“They were happy to lie to protect my brother,” Harry said in the series. “But they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.”
And Meghan said: “I wasn’t being thrown to the wolves, I was being fed to the wolves.”
The Palace has yet to officially respond to the criticisms levelled at the royal family in the documentary.
What happens next?
The full interviews will be broadcast in the UK and the US on Monday, with ITV’s airing at 8am AEDT and 60 Minutes at 11am AEDT.
Neither interview will be immediately available to view in Australia.
Spare will be in bookshops on Wednesday, January 11, in Australia.
It is already No.2 on the Amazon bestseller list based on pre-sales.
After that, the royal family is braced for the fallout.